Rural and Agricultural Finance in a Digital Era


The Boulder Rural and Agricultural Finance Program (RAFP) is a highly specialized training program developed by the Boulder Institute of Microfinance, it offers an immersive overview of cutting-edge concepts, methodologies and tools for rural and agricultural finance targeting rural finance practitioners, policymakers, support institutions, NGOs and development agencies.

The program will expose participants to recent innovations in product design and features, new business models and partnerships that can be useful in agricultural value chain finance; implementing solutions that are customer-centric through strategies with strong buy-in from multiple key stakeholders (smallholders, other value chain actors, agribusiness and financial sectors, government, donors, etc.).  It will look at how digital innovations can be applied to develop more inclusive rural financial ecosystems with the emergence of agritech and digital financial services. And finally, participants will develop a more holistic understanding of how public-private collaboration and policies are critical enablers to take innovations to scale.

The program consists of a total of 10 Modules, all of which include Live Sessions with renowned faculty & guests, as well as self-guided work, which includes readings, assignments, group sessions, quizzes, forums, and more. These self-guided activities take place on our E-Campus, which is based on Moodle platform. 





Module 1: The potential and challenges for digitizing rural financial markets

Wednesday, October 5

Module 1 discusses global trends in digital rural finance, various business models led by MNOs, banks and e-commerce, key benefits and enablers and persistent barriers for scale.  We will seek to understand the evidence on the potential digital brings to reduce costs and increase value propositions for rural customers.

Module 2: Customer centricity to improve the value of financial services for rural customers

Wednesday, October 12

Module 2 covers the business case for client centricity, the customer journey and experience. We will examine the good practices required to build organizations that are customer centric, an approach that maximizes the impact of our services while generating a sustainable financial base for our organizations.

Module 3: Market segmentation for rural and agricultural clients

Wednesday, October 19

Module 3 explores the concept of market segmentation, with special emphasis on developing ‘personas’ and on women in rural and agricultural livelihoods (WIRAL).  We will understand fitting product design and features, new business models and partnerships to the key financial needs among smallholders and other value chain actors.

Module 4: Financing the smallest farming families 

Wednesday, October 26

Module 4 presents tools that are especially relevant to microlenders who extend their reach into farming communities. We will develop a deeper understanding of how organizations that provide general finance can adapt to the specific cash flow cycles of certain farm activities, manage risk, and develop appropriate lending models, with a special emphasis on female headed farming households.

Module 5: Innovations in digitalizing agricultural value chains

Wednesday, November 2

Module 5 covers recent innovations in the digitalization of value chain finance, including for product design and features, new business models and partnerships with agritech firms.

Module 6: Innovations in digitalizing smallholder finance

Wednesday, November 9

Module 6 covers recent innovations in the digitalization of supply chains and how these can help to reduce the costs of lending and result in new business models and improved services to farmers. The module will look at contextual factors that determine the success of data driven technologies and at the diversity of models resulting from it.

Module 7: Agricultural insurance: operational principles and digital innovations

Wednesday, November 16

Module 7 provides an introduction to the principles of agricultural insurance and reviews recent trends in insurance programs for smallholder agriculture and how they leverage digital technology. It reviews successes, persistent challenges, and opportunities to provide insurance at scale for protecting smallholders from production risks, including weather related perils. 

Module 8: AgriTech and E-Commerce Platforms

Wednesday, November 23

Module 8 provides a landscape very fast evolving field the different types of e-commerce firms and agritechs globally that are building rural service ecosystems that include finance, in partnership with financial institutions. AgTech platforms create an ecosystem that brings together and leverages data from e-commerce, payment systems, financial transactions, agroclimatic information/data, agronomic advisory, insurance, input provisions, etc.

Module 9: Green finance and climate change

Wednesday, November 30

Module 9 features a panel of key presenters who will speak to different dimensions of the challenge of Green Finance with the latest examples of products and processes that contribute to a more sustainable future. 

Module 10: Public policies that enable the digitization of rural finance

Wednesday, December 7

Module 10 examines policy practices that have been shown to enable digital rural finance, including G2P programs, agricultural subsidy policies, public-private collaboration for financial innovation.  We will seek to understand how various public programs like G2P, agricultural subsidies, tax incentives, and public infrastructure can be leverages to accelerate the development of more inclusive digital finance ecosystems. 


Boulder Institute programs bring together faculty that include some of the most noted leaders in the field of microfinance to engage microfinance professionals in learning about innovative issues, core principles, and the latest techniques for providing access to financial services for the world’s poor.

Program Director

This Program will be led by Robert Christen with invited senior faculty who will drive the content and activities of each Module.





The program will last 12 weeks with a total of 65 hours of participant engagement. Inaugural discounted tuition is US $1,950.

The program consists of a total of 10 Modules, all of which include Live Sessions with renowned faculty & guests, as well as self-guided work, which includes readings, assignments, group sessions, quizzes, forums, and more. These self-guided activities take place on our E-Campus, which is based on Moodle platform. 

Program participants meet online for a 2-hour Live Session every Wednesday, from 1PM to 3PM GMT. Senior faculty will be available on Chat or live on some weekdays at designated hours they will set individually.

Registration is open until the official registration deadline on October 4th. The Welcoming Session will be on October 5th, and the official Graduation Ceremony will be on December 21st


Language: English
Format: 12 weeks
Start Date: October 5, 2022
End Date: December 21, 2022
Engagement hours: 65
Cost: US $1,950

Who should attend
Why attend



Registration Deadline October 4 Must have submitted the registration form and paid the tuition.
Introductory Session October 5 Introductory Live Session from 1pm to 3pm GMT to familiarize participants with the ONLINE Campus
Self – Guided Work October 5 – December 14 Work on the materials on the student portal (Boulder Online Campus) for an estimated 3 – 5 hours per week
Live Sessions October 12 – December 14 Meet every Wednesday online from 1pm to 3pm GMT
Graduation Ceremony December 21 Special live session for the online ceremony on Wednesday, December 21 from 1pm to 2 pm GMT