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Rural financial intermediation faces several challenges, including, shortcomings and systematic weaknesses of rural financial markets, urban biased policies and poorly designed interventions not based on the realities of rural markets. Against this background the purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of some concepts of financial theory, the history of conventional approaches in rural financial markets, informal finance, the role of savings mobilization and a discussion on the new approach to rural financial markets. The aim is to present the building blocks essential to the understanding of rural financial markets. The roles of information, transaction costs and measurement of success are emphasized.


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