Scaling Up Access to Finance in Kigoma, Tanzania

  • October 20, 2022

  • Publications, guides and communication materials


Over 5 years of lessons learned in building financial and digital capability while introducing agricultural technology interventions to savings groups through the UN Kigoma Joint Programme

Under its global strategy of Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) promotes digital financial services (DFS) as foundational to inclusive social and economic development. DFS enable innovation in myriad sectors and create a marketplace for essential digital and non-digital products and services that help people climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives.

Building on more than a decade of experience connecting millions of individuals around the world to financial services (informal and formal; traditional and digital), UNCDF is working to not only expand digital financial inclusion, but to build inclusive digital economies in which individuals, households, and small businesses are connected to digital financial ecosystems that facilitate and promote participation in the local economy.

In Tanzania, UNCDF's work under the Kigoma Joint Programme (KJP), a multi-UN agency programme providing humanitarian and development support to the region, highlights the evolution from financial inclusion to inclusive digital economies. Under the KJP, foundational interventions provide access to informal financial services through the formation and strengthening of savings groups, along with financial and digital education to build savings group members' capacity to effectively use those services to increase income and financial health. Building on this, "next-level" interventions use mature savings groups as an entry point for expanding access to financial and non-financial (primarily agricultural) services, using digital technology as a distribution channel wherever possible.

This knowledge product describes UNCDF's contribution to the KJP in detail and presents over five years of lessons learned in building financial and capability and introducing agricultural technology interventions to savings groups. The insights in this publication will be useful to practitioners, donors, and stakeholders in the private sector implementing similar projects.

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