Lending to cash-in cash-out (CICO) agents in developing countries remains a vastly underserved market despite its investment potential. Agents borrow for startup costs, working capital needs, and investments to grow their adjacent businesses, which forms the Start-Work-Grow lifecycle. Investments in lending to agents offer investors a compelling opportunity to gain exposure to rapid digitization and the growth of small businesses in emerging markets.

Agent businesses serve as compelling entry points into small business lending. Their ties to larger financial service and telecom providers and dependence on them impart greater security and reduced risk than other small business segments. Investing in agent lending will also enable the economic development critical to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

This report focuses on the agent lending landscape in nine diverse low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries that represent mature and evolving markets to provide insights into the larger global opportunity. These nine markets alone present a chance to lend between USD 500 million and USD 1 billion, which can grow to between USD 1.2 and USD 2.3 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of approximately 19%.

Read our report to learn how existing lending models are yet to support the Start-Work-Grow financing lifecycle of agents and dive deep into select new business models that drive innovation in the space. Also, read our highlighter note here.

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