About Pathways to Prosperity

Since the publication of Inflection Point in 2016, the landscape of rural agricultural finance has once again changed. With these changes comes an urgent need to develop improved frameworks for understanding the state of the sector. To that end, in this report, we update key sizing numbers from the latest global data—for the first time including agricultural small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We also introduce new models for understanding how rural clients, financial service providers, and the capital markets can effectively work together. Finally, we present targeted impact and investment theses and new ways of thinking about inclusive rural economic growth. In doing so, we hope to contribute to unlocking the benefits of financial inclusion for the 2.5 billion people who depend on smallholder farming for their livelihoods worldwide.

When citing this report in a publication, please use the following:

ISF Advisors and the Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab. 2019. “Pathways to Prosperity: Rural and Agricultural Finance State of the Sector Report.” Washington, D.C.


Clara Colina

Mastercard Foundation Rural & Agricultural Finance Learning Lab

Clara is the Learning Lab Manager, leading the Lab research pipeline and engaging with partners to provide direct support and share knowledge. Clara has extensive experience supporting foundations, civil society organizations and corporations on strategic planning and business development to address the challenges and opportunities related to financial inclusion, finance for development, agriculture and food security, and ICT for development. Prior to the Learning Lab Clara was a Project Manager at Dalberg Global Development Advisors where she supported key players in the agricultural and financial inclusion space, including Mastercard Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation. Clara started her career as a consultant at Bain & Company, and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School where she specialized in Social Entrepreneurship and International Development.

Matt Shakhovskoy

ISF Advisors

Matt Shakhovskoy is a Senior Advisor to ISF, a multi-donor effort designed to demonstrate how specific products and services can expand the reach of financing for smallholder farmers. Over the past ten years Matt has worked in the areas of private equity and development advisory for a number of leading organizations including Agis Investments, Dalberg, and Deloitte. Over this time Matt has been involved in over 60 projects in 25 countries working with partners such as the Gates Foundation, the World Bank, USAID, MTN, and the G8. Matt holds a MSc in Sustainable Development from the University of London and Bachelors of Business and Economics from the University of Queensland.

Mikael Clason Höök

Mastercard Foundation Rural & Agricultural Finance Learning Lab

Mikael is the Director of the Learning Lab, and is tasked with leading the Lab's overall strategy, engaging with partners, coordinating research, and managing the lab’s day-to-day workstream. Mikael is a development professional and entrepreneur with experience in agriculture, nutrition, private sector development, rural finance, renewable energy, technology for development, and fragile states. Prior to joining the Learning Lab, Mikael launched a successful business providing sustainable materials for the green building industry in New York, and a social enterprise providing solar solutions for humanitarian organizations in Africa. Previously, he led the design and implementation of an innovative World Bank survey to collect real time social and economic data in South Sudan. Mikael holds an MPA/ID from Harvard’s Kennedy School where he was awarded the Public Service Fellowship.

Funders & Contributors

Support Teams

Core Research

  • Ayush Bhargava, ISF Advisors
  • Martin Slawek, ISF Advisors
  • Sommers Kline, ISF Advisors
  • Will Saab, ISF Advisors
  • Camila Saad, Dalberg
  • Jean-Charles Guinchard, Dalberg
  • Jesse Baver, Dalberg
  • Olwen Wilson, Dalberg


  • CGAP
  • Nathan Associates

Key Input & Advisory

  • Anne Maftei, RAF Learning Lab
  • Dan Zook, ISF Advisors

Communications & Writing

  • Malia Bachesta Eley, Global Development Incubator
  • Meredith Husar, Global Development Incubator
  • Kristin Williams, Freelancer

Graphic Design

  • Vi-Be Digital

Site Development & Design

  • VibeThink

Advisory Committee Members

  • Samuel Ssenyimba, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Jamie Anderson, CGAP
  • Kusi Hornberger, Dalberg
  • Garron Hansen, Chemonics International
  • Patrick Starr, USAID Feed the Future
  • Mark Wensley, The Mastercard Foundation
  • Leesa Shrader and Christabell Makokha, Mercy Corps
  • Hedwig Siewertsen, AGRA
  • Stephanie Hanson, One Acre Fund
  • Tim Strong, Opportunity International
  • Brian Milder, Aceli Africa, CSAF
  • Bettina Prato, IFAD, SAFIN
  • Elizabeth Wilson, Small Foundation
  • Simon Winter, Syngenta Foundation
  • Iris van der Velden, IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative
  • Calvin Miller, Independent Consultant
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