HERVEST closes the gender financing gap in Africa


Photo by Hervest

HERVEST closes the gender financing gap in Africa

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the gender finance gap in Africa is estimated at USD 42 billion, including USD 15.6 billion in agricultural value chains (see here). HERVEST is closing this finance gap in Nigeria and Africa by increasing access to savings, investments and credit, particularly for women farmers and women-owned or led small businesses. 

In Nigeria, the relative gender gap related to financial inclusion is 20-30% according to the Central Bank of Nigeria. In the agricultural sector, it is estimated that women farmers produce 30% less per hectare than their male counterparts (see here). This can be explained by the fact that women have less access to land, seeds, fertilizers, and mechanization; although there are common trends between the challenges women and men farmers face across the agribusiness value chain. 

Founded in 2021 and based in Lagos, HERVEST is an inclusive fintech company that provides key financial services to marginalized smallholder women farmers in Nigeria and across Africa. HERVEST impact investments are focused on enabling agriculture financing, through a blended finance model, for inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, training, and access to premium markets for small-scale women farmers. HERVEST offers an all-inclusive financial solution through capital redistribution to the underserved in Africa; those that have no access to services from traditional financial service providers, especially women. The company leverages digital technology to drive financial inclusion and access to capital for women using a Peer-to-Peer model. HERVEST’s mobile application and internet banking platform is connecting women in Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, the Netherlands, Benin, Mauritius, France, Australia and Germany. 

Since its inception, the company has: 

  • Reached 30,000+ registered users for savings and investment plans representing over USD 1,000,000 in transactions. 
  • Trained 5,000 women farmers. 
  • Provided blended financing to over 10,000 smallholder women farmers amounting to USD 750,000. The waiting network has increased to over 100,000 farmers. 
  • Contributed to the creation of 1,000 jobs through women farming activities and micro-enterprises. 

The company provides competitive investment returns (up to 15%), compared to traditional banks - which usually offer less than 2% annually - and other financial platforms in Nigeria. Within the next 24 months, HERVEST aims to reach 1,000,000+ underserved women in both rural and urban areas in Nigeria and across Africa with transaction value of USD 40 million, and increase its physical presence in three more countries, leveraging its “first movers’ advantage”. HERVEST has a niche market: a platform created for women by women with a focus on impact investments and Gender Lens Investments (GLI) and is the first women-focused financial services platform offering credit financing for women in Nigeria. 

To date, the company raised USD 480,000 and is currently seeking to raise USD 1 million of seed funding. HERVEST is also looking for partners to provide technical support and expertise network to help scale its solution across and beyond Nigeria. 

HERVEST is a finalist of the EU-UNDP’s Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) in Nigeria, in the services sector. The GSIV takes the Nigeria SDG Investor Map one step further by identifying through a highly competitive process enterprises in Nigeria that have developed at-scale products and services that contribute to the SDGs while achieving commercial success and are committed to embed impact considerations into decision-making. By putting the spotlight on and supporting these ventures, UNDP aims to bring forward evidence of the existence of pipelines of investable ventures that can advance the transition to SDG-aligned investments in Nigeria and more broadly, in Africa. 

Learn more and get in touch with HERVEST: www.hervest.ng

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