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€2.6 million grant awarded to CIBIF research center

09 June 2016

Together with a group of researchers from universities in the UK, Canada, US and Ghana and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Professor Robert Lensink, Professor Niels Hermes and Professor Shubhashis Gangopadhyay of the Center for International Banking, Insurance and Finance (CIBIF) at the Faculty of Economics and Business have been awarded a grant worth €2.61 million from the British DFID-ESRC Growth Research programme (DEGRP).

The grant will be used to do research on developing policies to help make the financial sector an effective instrument in promoting financial inclusion and sustained growth in low-income countries. The research project will be carried out over a four-year period.

It is well known that financial institutions and markets can help disseminate 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 urgent need for research on inclusive finance and its potential contribution to lifting low income countries to the level of their medium income peers.

Led by Professor Victor Murinde at the University of Birmingham, a consortium of partners will collaborate on a €2.61 million research project, on inclusive finance, funded under the DFID- ESRC Growth Research programme (DEGRP) Call 3 (2015/2016). The international dimension of the consortium includes:

  • the UK (University of Birmingham; SOAS University of London; Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex; Loughborough University; the Overseas Development Institute; and the University of Nottingham);
  • the Netherlands (CIBIF, Faculty of Economics and Business, the University of Groningen);
  • North America (Université Laval in Québec, Canada and Columbia in the US) and, crucially,
  • Africa (the University of Ghana, Legon; and the African Economic Research Consortium [AERC], Pan African headquartered in Nairobi).

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

Professor Christine Oughton, Head of the Department of Financial and Management Studies at SOAS University of London said, “this project will explore the role of financial inclusion in shaping innovation and economic development in low income countries. It will shed much- needed light on the question of how inclusive finance can facilitate technological innovation and economic growth”.

“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.”,  says Professor Lemma W. Senbet, AERC Executive Director.

To be delivered over a four year period (2016-2020), the research addresses 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 research project was launched on Monday 30th May 2016 at the AERC Biannual Meeting in Nairobi.

For further information about the project please follow the updates online

Last modified:10 January 2017 2.42 p.m.

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