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Aceli Africa Year 3 Learning Report

Aceli Africa’s Year 3 Learning Report shares data and case studies drawn from 1,567 agriculture loans totaling $152M, more than double the volume captured in our Y2 report. We present high-level metrics from Aceli’s financial incentives program, data trends in agri-SME lending across East Africa, and ingredients for sustained lender behavior change. We also explore emerging data on the additionality and impact of loans across different size segments.

The Year 3 Learning Report centers on three themes:

  1. Loan size: Our pre-launch projections anticipated that most of the addressable market would be in the $200k-$1M range, but our latest data is showing far greater unmet but still addressable demand down-market. Aceli has pivoted to meet the market where it is by lowering our loan size minimum to $15k for certain high-impact market segments, increasing access to finance for unserved SMEs, particularly those owned by women and youth.
  2. Lender behavior: Data from Aceli-supported loans and feedback from lenders indicate a material shift in lenders’ collective reach to new geographic areas, value chains, and enterprise profiles, particularly women- and youth-owned SMEs, since joining the incentives program.
  3. Evidence-based policies: At each decreasing loan size segment within Aceli’s range ($15k-$1.75M), there is a correspondingly higher volume of SMEs that are either completely unserved or significantly underserved by the financial markets. Our data points to an emerging case for African governments and international donors to boost inclusive economic growth by strengthening enabling environments for agri-SMEs, particularly those requiring finance under $200k.