The Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana is set to undertake a US$4.92million research project, Policies and Incentives to Deepen Digital Finance Retail Distribution Networks in LMICs (DFRDN), focused on deepening digital financial inclusion and how to improve women’s access to financial services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The project is led by Prof. Peter Quartey, Director of ISSER with Prof. Francis Annan (Georgia State University), Dr. David Ameyaw (Visiting Scholar, ISSER and Director, ICED) and Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo (ISSER) as Co-Principal Investigators.
Prof. Peter Quartey said: “A meaningful response to the growing interest and pressure to deepen digital finance requires strong data and evidence-led insights to guide the framing of policies. The DFRDN project is a timely opportunity for ISSER to contribute in deepening digital financial inclusion with data and illuminating findings”.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the DFRDN project will be led by ISSER and implemented through any qualified field partner – including but not limited to the Institute’s own internal research project teams. It will seek to engage researchers from the Global North and Global South, with the goal of expanding representation of researchers from the Global South in development studies and fostering future partnerships and capacity building.
Despite strong evidence demonstrating the essential role of agent networks in driving financial inclusion for underbanked populations, data from LMICs suggest agent networks remain quite sparse – particularly in poorer peri-urban and rural locations.
The DFRDN project aims to demonstrate both a) how to effectively expand the reach of agent networks through public policy and commercial solutions that can plausibly be scaled; and b) how to advance public knowledge about the structural constraints limiting agent networks globally.
It will be launched in the first half of 2022 with a kick-off event and issue of the first requests for proposals (RFP) for pilot studies and experimental research.