The Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana is set to undertake a research project on policies and incentives to deepen Digital Finance Retail Distribution Networks (DFRDN) in Low-and-Middle-Income countries (LMICs).
The initiative will focus on deepening digital financial inclusion and how to improve women’s access to financial services in LMICs.
It will be launched in the first half of 2022 with an event to kick-start the project and the issuance of the first Requests for Proposals for pilot studies and experimental research.
The project is led by Professor Peter Quartey, Director of ISSER with Professor Francis Annan of the Georgia State University, Dr David Ameyaw, Visiting Scholar, ISSER and Director of International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED), and Dr Simon Bawakyillenuo of the ISSER, as Co-Principal Investigators.
The DFRDN Project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 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 the Global South, with the goal of expanding the representation of researchers from the Global South in development studies, fostering future partnerships and capacity building.
Prof.Peter Quartey in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, 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.
He said the DFRDN project was timely and opportune for the ISSER to contribute and “deepen digital financial inclusion with data and illuminating findings”.
The Director of ISSER said despite the strong evidence demonstrating the essential role of agent networks in driving financial inclusion for underbanked populations, data from LMICs suggested that agent networks remained quite sparse, particularly in poorer peri-urban and rural locations.
The DFRDN project, therefore, aims to demonstrate how to effectively expand the reach of agent networks through public policy and commercial solutions that can plausibly be scaled. It will also advance public knowledge about the structural constraints limiting agent networks globally. –GNA