REPORT: Youth-Inclusive Value Chain Finance in Tunisia - Learning Report 4, Oct 2016
With funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and in partnership with Silatech, Making Cents International implemented the IFAD Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Program (RYEEP), a three-year grant seeking to increase employment and self-employment of young people aged 15-35 in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) countries of Egypt, Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia. The program provided capacity-building and technical assistance to local institutions to pilot models delivering youth-inclusive financial service (YFS) and non-financial service to rural youth and to the enterprises that employ them. By the program's end, RYEEP pilot projects delivered savings or credit services to 20,543 rural youth and non-financial services to 14,252 rural youth.
As important as these quantitative outputs was the knowledge generated by the five pilots. Thus, a major focus of the program was to capture and disseminate this learning to help IFAD and financial services practitioners develop more effective and scalable programs for rural youth. The program, which built upon proven and successful methods, advanced learning around five research topics:
• Adapting and Developing Effective Financial Products for Rural Youth
• Determining the Appropriate Level and Delivery System for Supportive Non-Financial Services
• Using Technology to Lower Costs and Provide Youth with Alternative Forms of Finance
• Linking Products or Institutions to Facilitate Movement from Informal to Formal Financial Services
• Designing Innovative Approaches for Scaling Products in Rural Environments
In Tunisia, RYEEP partner Pro-Invest piloted a value-chain approach to improve outcomes in the rural retail sector, a market segment that employs a large number of youth. The program leveraged Pro-Invest's highly successful Najjahni mobile services platform to develop a supply chain solution (MobiPOS) addressing inventory management, transactions, and payment bottlenecks experienced by rural shop owners and food suppliers/distributors. In addition, by using a basic mobile phone to automate and record what users are already doing through other means (ordering, payment), the system created a transaction history that could be used to develop a trade finance product for retailers.