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Innovations for Poverty Action’s Peace & Recovery (P&R) competitive research fund supports randomized evaluations and related research on reducing violence and fragility, promoting peace, and preventing, managing, and recovering from crises. The program supports policy-relevant studies that develop, illustrate, or test fundamental theories of peace, violence, and recovery, especially those that challenge common beliefs, pioneer innovative interventions, and produce evidence where little currently exists. To date, we have funded over 80 projects in approximately 30 countries.

 

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Brief
Date:
June 23, 2022
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Formal financial inclusion remains low in Nigeria: just about three percent of adult Nigerians have borrowed from formal sources, and less than half (forty-five percent) have a formal account at either a bank or microfinance institution (EFInA Access to Finance Survey 2020). The most common reasons for not having a formal account are negative perception of formal institutions, little access to banks, or not having enough income to save. This suggests that the broader ecosystem of formal financial services is not conducive toward inclusion—either through low demand or poor provision of the right financial products. While both men and women lack access to formal financial services, especially credit, a “one-sized” approach is not appropriate to onboard all Nigerians.

This report finds that different segments of the population have their own financial preferences and behaviors. Younger women are more sophisticated with their credit than older women, and will therefore benefit from more complex, high-yield products. For older women, more effort is required to instill trust in financial institutions, as such they will benefit from approaches that they are familiar with face-to-face interactions, and services integrated within existing social networks.

There are currently over 100 million adult Nigerians that are potential clients for financial services, and this report provides valuable insights on their behaviors and financial preferences.

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Report
Date:
May 19, 2022
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While digital financial services have evolved rapidly in Nigeria over the last decade, this growth is largely driven by the already banked population. A joint study by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Inclusion for All investigated three key barriers preventing many from joining the formal financial system: the reliability of financial services, the cost of using these services, and the limited transparency of cost information. The study found that: financial transactions conducted by phone fail often, service providers make it difficult and costly to find accurate pricing information (only 1 in 5 providers offer a toll-free customer care line), and the prices consumers pay can exceed caps set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The findings suggest providers can build trust and usage of these services by strengthening their infrastructure, improving access to accurate pricing information, and increasing compliance with existing price caps.

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Report
Date:
February 16, 2022
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Over the past decade, predatory and fraudulent practices in digital finance and financial technology have increased globally. The use of mobile applications for such purposes is a concern given the increased ubiquity of mobile devices, ongoing concerns about low financial and digital literacy in many population groups, and anecdotal evidence on a proliferation of methods and tools some finance app providers use to exploit vulnerable households and businesses. In addition to the direct harm caused to consumers, this can lead to mistrust of digital finance, which can delay financial inclusion efforts and undermine the benefits of financial technologies.

The objective of this project is to explore whether high-frequency app data and applied machine learning techniques can be leveraged to create a system for flagging and reporting highly suspect apps. As a “proof of concept,” the researchers draw on historical app meta and review data for 63 countries covering from January 2020 to April 2021 to document the prevalence of such problematic apps and test the efficiency and accuracy of such methods. To keep the project tractable, the researchers focus on a targeted subset of personal loan apps. The pilot informs future experimentation with the approach and suggests possible real-world applications, which could help provide targeted shortlists of highly suspect individual apps, country- or global-level monitoring to understand prevalence of problematic apps at a given point in time, or be fed into buyer-beware labelling on the app stores.

Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
February 10, 2022
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While digital financial services have evolved rapidly in Nigeria over the last decade, this growth is largely driven by the already banked population. A joint study by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Inclusion for All investigated three key barriers preventing many from joining the formal financial system: the reliability of financial services, the cost of using these services, and the limited transparency of cost information. The study found that: financial transactions conducted by phone fail often, service providers make it difficult and costly to find accurate pricing information (only 1 in 5 providers offer a toll-free customer care line), and the prices consumers pay can exceed caps set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The findings suggest providers can build trust and usage of these services by strengthening their infrastructure, improving access to accurate pricing information, and increasing compliance with existing price caps.

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Type:
Brief
Date:
February 08, 2022
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The reintegration of former members of violent extremist groups is a pressing policy challenge. Governments and policymakers often have to change minds among reticent populations and shift perceived community norms in order to pave the way for peaceful reintegration. How can they do so on a mass scale? Previous research shows that messages from trusted authorities can be effective in creating attitude change and shifting perceptions of social norms. In this study, we test whether messages from religious leaders—trusted authorities in many communities worldwide—can change minds and shift norms around an issue related to conflict resolution: the reintegration of former members of violent extremist groups. Our study takes place in Maiduguri, Nigeria, the birthplace of the violent extremist group Boko Haram. Participants were randomly assigned to listen to either a placebo radio message or to a treatment message from a religious leader emphasizing the importance of forgiveness, announcing the leader’s forgiveness of repentant fighters, and calling on followers to forgive. Participants were then asked about their attitudes, intended behaviors, and perceptions of social norms surrounding the reintegration of an ex–Boko Haram fighter. The religious leader message significantly increased support for reintegration and willingness to interact with the ex-fighter in social, political, and economic life (8 to 10 percentage points). It also shifted people’s beliefs that others in their community were more supportive of reintegration (6 to 10 percentage points). Our findings suggest that trusted authorities such as religious leaders can be effective messengers for promoting peace.

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Published Paper
Date:
September 09, 2021

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