The University of Ghana is part of a consortium that has won a £2,017,452 (approx. $2.93 million) research grant in inclusive finance.
The project is funded under the DFID-ESRC (Department for International Development and Education Systems Research Programme) Growth Research programme.
The project is led by Professor Victor Murinde at the University of Birmingham and the other collaborating institutions include SOAS University of London, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Loughborough University, the Overseas Development Institute, the University of Nottingham, the University of Groningen, Netherlands, Université Laval in Québec, Canada and Columbia in the US, and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).
The research will be facilitated in Ghana by the dean of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Professor Joshua Yindenaba Abor and Dr Mohammed Amidu of the Business School.
It is well known that financial institutions and markets foster the flow of information about resource availability, especially the required financial resources for supporting economic growth.
However, it is much less clear how financial development can be inclusive – some households and enterprises are unable to fully participate in the financial sector; globally, some countries may not access international capital markets.
While new technology, such as mobile money transfer systems, has strengthened financial inclusion, gaps in access to finance as well as gaps in the development of financial systems seem to be getting wider following the 2007-09 global financial crisis.
Overall, the current consensus is that there is an urgent need for research on inclusive finance and its potential contribution to lifting low-income countries to the level of their medium income peers.
The research project focuses on delivering inclusive financial development, with a focus on low-income countries in Africa.
Professor Victor Murinde, the Principal Investigator, 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”.
He also mentioned, “this research is vital for embedding financial inclusion in African economies, and aims to have a significant impact on society as a whole”.
The research, to be delivered over a four-year period (2016-2020), addresses three core questions:
(i) How can institutional frameworks support inclusive financial development?
(ii) What role do private and public capital inflows play in domestic financial inclusion in Africa?
(iii) How can private and public institutions in Africa be a catalyst and channel for technological diffusion and financial inclusion?
The research project will be launched in conjunction with the AERC Biannual Research Workshop, for dialogue and input from stakeholders, including senior policy officials, private sector actors, and civil society,in Nairobi on Monday, May 30, 2016.