May 29, 2018 - May 30, 2018
Washington, D.C., United States

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), Mercy Corps, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) joined forces to bring together researchers, donors, and practitioners in a 1.5-day roundtable to advance a research agenda on financial inclusion and resilience to climate variability. Through the event, key stakeholders took stock of existing evidence, identified important gaps in the evidence, and prioritized open research questions. Insights from the event will be incorporated into an evidence brief on the key findings and open research questions on financial inclusion and resilience to be published in mid-2018.


Measuring Resilience
This presentation sought to establish a common understanding of what resilience is and the challenges in measuring it, setting the stage to identify gaps in the available evidence.
Presenter: Chris Barrett, Deputy Dean and Dean of Academic Affairs, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (slides)

Risk Management and Investment Decisions
Risk reduces incentives to invest, perpetuating poverty for those who are most vulnerable. Policies that encourage adoption of formal insurance can lead to more productive agricultural investments, and there is emerging evidence on the effect of other financial services on risk-taking behavior.
Presenter: Shawn Cole, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration, Harvard University (slides)
Discussant: Josh Ling, Director of Financial Inclusion, Mercy Corps

Remittance and cash transfer payment systems
Digital payments enhance the impacts of risk-sharing by lowering transaction costs and expanding the social network able to contribute, including across borders. Digitizing cash transfer payments is cheaper, reduces leakage, and saves time for recipients.
Presenter: William Jack, Vice Provost for Research and Director, gui2de, Georgetown University (slides)
Discussant: Leesa Shrader, AgriFin Accelerate Program Director, Mercy Corps (slides)

Savings to smooth consumption
Formal and informal savings products designed to reduce transaction costs, increase liquidity, improve mental accounting, and leverage peer support networks encourage emergency savings in poor households and, in turn, have positive effects on consumption smoothing and welfare.
Presenters: Megan Gash, Independent Consultant (slides) and Silvia Prina, Associate Professor, Northeastern University (slides)

Women’s financial inclusion and resilience
A panel of researchers, practitioners, and donors discussed the opportunities and barriers for financial inclusion to be a tool to promote resilience among women.
Moderator: Nellie Moore, Financial Inclusion Program Manager, IPA
Panelists: Kelly Jones, Research Fellow, IFPRI; Clara Delavallade, Economist – Africa Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank; Mayada El-Zoghbi, Strategy, Research, & Development Lead, CGAP

Financial inclusion, resilience, and migration
A panel of researchers, practitioners, and donors discussed the opportunities and barriers for financial inclusion to be a tool to promote resilience among migrants and through migration.
Moderator: Sara Murray, Electronic Cash Transfer Program Manager, Mercy Corps
Panelists: Kate Ambler, Research Fellow, IFPRI; Austin Davis, Assistant Professor, American University; Michelle Hassan, Associate, Bankable Frontier Associates; and Barri Shorey, Deputy Director of Livelihoods, International Rescue Committee

Building a shared research agenda
This panel reflected on the key insights from the event and discussed the direction for a financial inclusion and resilience research agenda that can inform investments in this field.
Moderator: Rebecca Rouse, Financial Inclusion Program Director, IPA
Panelists: Tiffany Griffin, Adviser, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Strategic Analysis, USAID Center for Resilience; Sara Netzer, Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods Senior Director, Save the Children; Beth Rhyne, Managing Director, Center for Financial Inclusion (slides)