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Canadian engineers help FarmDrive expand smallholder farmer lending in Africa

ImpactAlpha, February 4 – The Toronto-based arm of Engineers Without Borders has invested an undisclosed amount in Kenyan startup FarmDrive, which offers digital loans to smallholder farmers. 

FarmDrive launched in 2014 to support Africa’s 43 million smallholder farmers—60% of whom are women—without access to financial services. FarmDrive’s digital lending platform issues small loans in the range of $5 to $500 for the purchase of farming equipment and inputs, enabling farmers to expand production and increase their incomes. It also helps farmers build financial profiles so they can access financial services and purchase insurance from other providers.

FarmDrive has granted loans to 53,000 farmers since launching. The new funding will support the company’s goal of reaching three million farmers in the next five years.

EWB Canada investment is its second commitment to FarmDrive, following a $50,000 injection several years ago. AK Impact Investors, 1 to 4 Foundation, ADAP Capital and The Lakes Charitable Foundation also backed the latest round.

FarmDrive has previously raised debt capital from Kenyan mobile provider Safaricom.

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