The Land Investment for Transformation (LIFT) programme is a 6.5 years FCDO funded programme that aims to improve the incomes of the rural poor and to enhance economic growth. The programme works to achieve its objective through second level land certification (SLLC), improved rural land administration, and the development of the rural land market system through its economic empowerment unit (EEU). The SLLC aims to achieve 14 million parcels in 140 woredas for approximately 6.1 million households in Oromia, Amhara, SNNP and Tigray regions. The EEU, on the other hand, performs interventions aimed at accelerating the impact of SLLC on poor farmers by improving rural land market systems. The unit’s interventions focus on access to finance (A2F), rural land rental and conservation agriculture which are implemented using the market for the poor (M4P) approach. Within A2F, the EEU team is implementing a portfolio of interventions targeting different constraints affecting the poor. This includes working with several MFI partners to develop, pilot and roll out new products that improve access to credit and non-credit financial services for rural farmers, allowing them to make larger, more effective agricultural investments. LIFT has collaborated with several MFIs to pilot and roll out its services. In line with this, LIFT-EEU has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work in partnership with the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institution (AEMFI) in order to sustain the A2F interventions as the programme is in its final stages.
The recent COVID 19 pandemic is anticipated to have an impact on the activities of the association and member MFIs. The high levels of uncertainty have led people to hold investments and reduce financial transactions. An assessment by LIFT’s EEU reveals a significant decline in savings as clients opt for withdrawal of savings to cope with the shock the pandemic might bring. Relatedly, the study by AEMFI showed, an increased portfolio at risk (PAR) from 5.2 percent at end of March 31, 2020, to 7.8 percent on April 30, 2020. The response measures from the MFIs, however, were not well organized and structured. As the report from AEMFI’s study shows, several MFIs followed a wait and see approach due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic trajectory.
 “Effects of COVID-19 Induced Crisis on Ethiopian MFIs and their Clients” AEMFI, 2020
About the Organization
Nathan Associates is a leading international development consultancy firm headquartered in Washington DC. Founded in 1946, the company uses economic principles and data to guide policies and operations in a way that improves people's lives. Our employees are motivated by the belief that we can make a difference and over the years the company has expanded its services and geographical reach while remaining small enough to personally ensure the quality of its work. We currently have offices in the United States (Washington DC, California), United Kingdom (London) and India (Delhi, Chennai).
Nathan Associates provides services in five areas:
- Trade and logistics: Nathan advises public and private sector clients on trade negotiations, harmonising trade policies to promote economic integration, modernising customs procedures, reduction of tariff barriers and regulations that reduces the cost of trade, as well as help to improve trade facilitation and trade corridor efficiency.
- Private sector development: Nathan designs, implements and evaluates pro-poor, inclusive market systems strategies and programs, supports global value chains and links exporters to new markets. Through challenge funds and grants, we foster private sector innovation and catalyse private investment. Nathan also supports investment and export promotion agencies and designs initiatives to advance women’s economic empowerment.
- Financial sector development: Nathan uses a systemic approach to understand and work on financial systems to overcome the challenges the poor face in achieving financial literacy and inclusion and businesses, particularly SMEs, face in accessing finance.
- Economic policy and governance: Nathan’s services in economic policy and governance include macroeconomic analysis; budget preparation, execution and evaluation; legal/regulatory reform and anticorruption.
- Infrastructure planning and finance: Nathan provides services in economic analysis and environmental impact assessments, competitive and regulatory environment analysis, developing master plans and feasibility studies and financial analysis including structuring PPP transactions.
The London office
Our London-based office is internationally recognised for developing innovative ways of engaging the private sector in the development agenda and achieving pro-poor outcomes. We specialise in the design, implementation and monitoring of projects and policies all around the world in private sector development (PSD)-related areas: promoting entrepreneurship, developing business linkages, strengthening agricultural value chains, attracting investment, supporting investment climate reforms, deepening trade, and encouraging financial inclusion. Besides PSD, the office also leads a financial sector development practice, and is developing its capabilities in the trade & logistics and economic policy & governance practices.