Access to Finance and Agricultural Incomes (and lessons learnt)

I am very excited to share with you my new publication: Increasing Agricultural Income and Access to Financial Services through Mobile Technology in Africa: Evidence from Malawi. As you know, I have an interest in inclusive finance and find it very relevant for countries such as Malawi. My paper is a chapter in the The Palgrave Handbook of Agricultural and Rural Development in Africa book, which examines agricultural and rural development in Africa from theoretical, empirical and policy stand points. The book is edited by Evans Osabuohien,a professor I very much respect and who has steered the ship of this publication and coordinating so many authors from across Africa and beyond for the last 2 or 3 years? I am not even sure anymore.

This has been a looong time coming having started this in what must have been 2016! This whole process taught me the application of a very important virtue in the profession world: PATIENCE. There were times I even forgot I had this in the pipeline, then I had to make several edits and retrieve the data and the code after several months. This also taught me to ensure good organization of all my projects, keeping track and well you know, patiently waiting!

I also learnt that working with others is not always easy, nor always convenient and that being professional is always important. Mutual respect, being upfront and lessening the burden on others, its the whole essence of team work: communicate! Admittedly, at some point I went past the required dates to submit the revisions and overlooked to double check whether I has communicated with the editorial team. I was moving from one country to the next and starting a new job, I even wondered if I would be able to complete this. Now, I am happy I soldiered on, so I learnt not to give up when life gets tough or busy, because life always gets tough and busy.

Gratefully, Prof. Evans showed incredible understanding, and that also taught me good leadership.

Its also my first publication in my married name so yay to that!

The study finds that that the higher the number of mobile phones per household, the more likely they are to have a loan and those those without a mobile phone are nearly three times more likely to have an informal loan than a formal one. Also, female-headed households have a higher likelihood of having no agricultural income and no mobile phone. So do check it out if you have an interest. Shout out to Dumisani Moyo for his help with the data in the initial stages of this research.

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