From India E News, Arun Kumar gives us more details on the new fund.
In a time of tight credit, the Facility will support grants to bank and non-bank institutions for activities to increase access to financial services, such as savings, credit, payments and insurance, in rural areas in developing countries as profitable business lines, the bank announced Monday.
'In India, a country with relatively high rural banking outreach, 45 percent of smallholder farmers did not have a savings account, and 69 percent did not have a credit account with formal financial institutions,' it noted announcing the new venture in recognition of the financial crisis hitting the poorest the hardest.
'There is a great need among smallholder farmers, who make up the bulk of the world's poor, for ways to save and manage their money,' said Carlos Cuevas, Deputy Director of Financial Services for the Poor for the Bill and amp; Melinda Gates Foundation.
'Having access to safe and reliable financial services such as savings, credit and insurance, allows poor farmers to safeguard cash, which they often receive only once a year during harvest. In this way, they can better provide for their families, prepare for emergencies, and build long term financial security.'
'We need to ensure sustainable access to financial services as a fundamental way to reduce poverty,' said Renate Kloeppinger-Todd, Rural Finance Adviser at the World Bank.
'The Facility will enable financial institutions to provide new opportunities for smallholder farmers to make productivity enhancing investments and to use new technology and services.'