ISSER awards 3 pilot grants for digital financial inclusion – Myjoyonline

The Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana has awarded three grants for pilot studies on digital financial inclusion.

This is part of a multimillion-dollar project to implement competitively selected projects on policies and incentives to deepen digital finance in Retail Finance Distribution Networks (ReFinD) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), aimed at deepening digital financial inclusion and how to improve women’s access to financial services in (LMICs).

The Project Lead and Director of ISSER, Prof Peter Quartey, explained to JoyNews that the three awards constitute the greatest landmark so far in the implementation of the project.

“The greatest landmark so far is that we awarded three pilot grants which are being implemented in Ghana, Indonesia and Bangladesh. We are undertaking these pilot studies on different aspects of digital financial inclusion and we are hopeful that these will bring in results early enough for possible scaling up…”

He then added that by doing this ISSER is positioning itself as a hub for research on digital financial inclusion in Africa.

“This is not just a five year project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant will also support scalability and at the end of the five years there will be additional resources continue. Therefore, we are really reaching out to the world and telling them ISSER is the place to choose if you want to do proper research on digital financial inclusion as well as any cutting-edge research on financial and socio-economic development.”

This initiative was launched in June 2022 year by Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, the Secretary-General for African Research Universities Alliance. He was ably assisted by Prof. Peter Quartey, Prof. Francis Annan, and Dr. David Ameyaw: members of the management team and the representative from the BMGF, Mr. Seth Garz, with the support of the Head of Research, Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Philip Otoo, who participated virtually representing the Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison. The launch also saw the announcement of the first request for proposals

The launch was followed by an outreach workshop in July 2022 to share with participants key project information, in particular information about the first call for proposals and how interested research teams and organisations can access funding.

 The project which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), basically enables potent research teams in Ghana and around the globe to conduct research and produce results that will promote financial inclusion among marginalized groups like women and people experiencing poverty.

Markets for digital financial services (DFS) – particularly mobile money and agent banking – are growing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries and being transformed by several digitization initiatives.

Retail finance distribution and vendor networks are necessary building blocks to a robust digital finance ecosystem, due to their ability to convert money between physical cash and digital currency, and to serve as onboarding channels for a broader set of digital financial tools and services. Yet, rigorous quantitative work and evidence about the functioning and organization of vendor networks, retail vendor incentives and behavior, and interventions to expand network reach and density is limited, with many open research questions remaining.

Source : From the Web

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