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Press release

New research will inform the future of financial inclusion in Africa

Published on 25 May 2016

The Institute for Development Studies (IDS) is part of a consortium that has won a £2.017 million grant for much needed research on inclusive finance and the contribution it can make to sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa. The project is funded under the DFID-ESRC Growth Research programme (DEGRP) and the lead IDS researchers are Professor Stephany Griffith-Jones and Dr Stephen Spratt.

The programme will bring together a global consortium of expert partners with a focus on North-South partnership. 

The consortium includes:

  • in the UK: the University of Birmingham, SOAS at the University of London, IDS, Loughborough University, the Overseas Development Institute and the University of Nottingham
  • in the Netherlands: CIBIF, Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Groningen
  • in North America: Université Laval in Québec, Canada, and Columbia University in the USA
  • and, crucially, in Africa: the University of Ghana-Legon and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

The research project will focus on delivering inclusive financial development in low-income countries in Africa. 

Professor Victor Murinde, the Principal Investigator at the University of Birmingham, said:

”The project will: deliver rigorous, high quality research to support financial inclusion policies; develop innovative financial products in collaboration with households, banks, and the private sector; involve collaborative research to enhance methodologies and data for the promotion of inclusive finance; and engage with policy-makers to provide research-based advice on financial inclusion in Africa”.

”This research is vital for embedding financial inclusion in African economies, and aims ultimately to have a significant impact on livelihoods”.

Professor Lemma W. Senbet, AERC Executive Director and the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, University of Maryland said:

“The conversation in Africa has now shifted, beyond the growth renaissance the region has witnessed over the years, to that of inclusive growth that is sustainable.  Inclusive finance is at the center of this transformation, and hence the project is very timely.  AERC is privileged to be a partner, since the project pervades its entire capacity building framework inclusive of research, collaborative graduate training, policy outreach, and vast network.”

To be delivered over a four year period (2016-2020), the research component of the project will address three core questions:

  1. How can institutional frameworks support inclusive financial development?
  2. What role do private and public capital inflows play in domestic financial inclusion in Africa?
  3. How can private and public institutions in Africa be a catalyst and channel for technological diffusion and financial inclusion?

The project’s other important dimensions pertain to (a) capacity building of early career researchers in low income countries, with a focus on Africa, to conduct policy-oriented research of global standards, (b) to influence policy dialogue and formulation among senior policy decision makers as well as non-state actors, such as the private sector.

The research project will be launched in conjunction with the AERC Biannual Research Workshop in Nairobi on Monday, 30th May, 2016, effectively providing the initial opportunity for dialogue and input from stakeholders, including senior policy officials, private sector actors, and civil society.

For more information or to arrange interviews with the programme lead Professor Victor Murinde please contact Emma Ward.

-ENDS-

Notes for Editors

  1. IDS is a leading global institution for research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex.
  2. For further information about the project please follow the updates online www.birmingham.ac.uk/business

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