The Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana is set to undertake a four-year multi-million-dollar research initiative. The Retail Finance Distribution (ReFinD) Research Initiative is focused on deepening digital financial inclusion and improving women’s access to financial services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The initiative was formally launched on Jun 7, 2022
The project is led by Prof. Peter Quartey, Director of ISSER with Prof. Francis Annan (Georgia State University), Dr. David Ameyaw (Visiting Scholar and Director, ICED) and Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo (ISSER). 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 Retail Finance Distribution (ReFinD) Research Initiative is a timely opportunity for ISSER to contribute to deepening digital financial inclusion with data and illuminating findings that aims to promote access to finance among marginalized groups like women and people experiencing poverty.”
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 initiative aims to demonstrate both:
- how to effectively expand the reach of agent networks through public policy and commercial solutions that can plausibly be scaled, and
- how to advance public knowledge about the structural constraints limiting agent networks globally.
To answer these questions, we seek to engage researchers from the Global North and the Global South, with the goal of expanding the representation of researchers from the Global South in development studies and fostering future partnerships and capacity building.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the initiative will fund research projects through multiple calls for pilot studies and experimental research. 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.