Agora Global contributed to a panel on 'Rural Employment after COVID-19' as part of the 5th annual AGRIFIN learning event. Unfortunately we continue to experience and observe the impacts of the pandemic in a wide range of areas and this topic remains relevant.
AGRIFIN is an Agricultural Financing programme (hence the title!) run by Mercy Corps. It leverages digital technology and innovation to develop inclusive digital products and services smallholder farmers need to increase their productivity, incomes and resilience. The primary target group of AGRIFIN is un-banked smallholder farmers living on less than $2 per day.
In this session we shared reflections on how COVID-19 has led to certain constraints on the supply chains and constraints in movement of people. The effects of these constraints on physical means and spaces of exchange necessitated the generation and uptake of new digital approaches, some of which have been beneficial for poor people.
With an eye on the post-pandemic future Agora also highlighted the need to work back to increased movement of people in a safe, sustainable way, whilst learning from and capitalizing on what the pandemic has demonstrated about the viability of digital as an alternative in the physical exchange of goods, services and information.
You can view our contribution to the discussion from 2:15 in this video
Alternately you can watch a full recording of the entire session, including presentations from colleagues in partner organisations here:
We welcome ongoing research and reflection around the systemic implications of shocks such as COVID and the role of Market Systems Development approaches on improving outcomes for poor people, even in extraordinary new circumstances.