Rural Entrepreneurship Fund, Human Settlements, and Other Reports
Every week, RuralReporters.com collate reports on development issues in rural Africa and its environs.
This report includes some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, blogs, and in-depth articles, carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues.
Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:
Expansion of human settlement in rural areas could threaten agricultural potential, according to a recent report released by Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz.
Based on data from Statistics South Africa, Sihlobo said that the agriculture sector had the potential to create employment in rural areas if the horticulture and field crop subsectors, which currently employed two-thirds of the primary agriculture labour force of 842 000, were expanded.
“Focus areas for potential expansion are KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, which still have roughly 1,6 million to 1,8 million hectares of underutilised land, according to a 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute.”
The Founder of Econet Global, Strive Masiyiwa, along with his wife Tsitsi Masiyiwa have pledged $100 million to a fund rural entrepreneurs. The money will support projects from rural entrepreneurs or those entrepreneurs willing to focus on rural areas.
Details of how the fund will work were posted on his Facebook page and we know the following:
- 25% must be set aside for an area of Zimbabwe called Matabeleland;
- Women must get minimum 50%;
- Young people must be the focus;
- Traditional businesses like stores and grinding mills will be excluded. We want to see a new generation of businesses, to fulfil my dream of #ReImagineRural.
- Min: $1000, Max $10,000.
- No collateral;
- Maximum interest 5%;
- Repayments will go into revolving fund;
- All entrepreneurs must undergo training before loans;
- No political lobbying for support
In China, rural mobility has been a critical factor in raising incomes and enabling access to bigger markets. The utility of small electric bicycles and tricycles has transformed the way people live and work. Across the country, small-scale farmers and businesspeople are using electric cycles to better reach consumers and needed services. They are reducing the time and cost of moving goods and people. Tricycles are helping women gain independence and reduce workloads. They are easy to use and carry children. And they are cleaner for the environment than petrol-powered options.
Yet in many parts of Africa, mobility remains an enormous barrier to development and economic opportunities. Long distances to health facilities increase women’s and children’s mortality. Long walks to school force children to drop out. Harvested crops rot before they reach a market. Hours are wasted collecting water, and new economic opportunities are missed. In sum, a lack of affordable transport limits access to social services, it stunts economic growth and reinforces social isolation and gender inequality.
Over 50,000 vulnerable rural households in Togo will benefit from a US$35 million project that aims to spur inclusive rural economic growth and create employment opportunities in rural areas through a value chains approach, according to the details of a financing agreement signed today by government of Togo and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The financing agreement for the Shared-risk Agricultural Financing Incentive Mechanism Support project (ProMIFA) was signed in Lomé by Lisandro Martin, Regional Director for West and Central Africa Division of IFAD and, Sani Yaya, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Togo.
The Board Chairman of Amenfiman Rural Bank, Dr Toni Aubynn, has suggested that the strong rural banks, should capitalise on the opportunities that have been created following the reforms in the banking sector.
Dr Aubynn observed, for instance, that the Amenfiman Rural Bank continued in that regard to explore the chances that had been created, complemented by its innovation in the rural banking sector and continued with human resource development.
Pregnant women, particularly those who live in rural areas, face a number of challenges throughout their pregnancy, according to Revocat Mulekatete, a community health worker in Huye District.
She says poverty is one of the major obstacles, explaining that some women find it hard to afford certain needs.
“Women find it hard to afford a balanced diet, some of them lack information on how to maintain healthy pregnancies, but as community health workers, we do our best to provide them with the much needed information,” she says.