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Aceli’s 2023 Financial Benchmarking Report covers data gathered for an additional 13.2k loans totaling $749M issued by 31 lenders to agri-SMEs in East Africa during the period 2019-21.
- Aceli’s partner lenders increased their lending (largely independent of our incentives, which took effect towards the end of this period) despite the challenging macro environment.
- Nevertheless, recent growth in agri-SME lending is from a low base and still represents <5% of the overall portfolios for commercial banks in the region.
- Lending data and interview responses underscore the need to address the top two barriers identified by lenders: i) high risk and ii) high transaction costs of agri-SME lending.
- Aceli’s incentives reduce the return gap of agri-SME lending relative to other sectors and are beginning to shift lender practices in promising directions: smaller ticket sizes, new value chains (see impact profile of loans to cassava SMEs in Tanzania), more remote geographies, and businesses that meet Aceli’s impact criteria, particularly for women and the environment.