Food security
July 10, 2020

By Charles Amoatey, Elliott Collins, and Madeleen Husselman

In March, Ghana, like much of the world, adopted social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Measures included the closings of schools and universities, suspension of gatherings of over 25 people, and partial lockdowns in major urban areas. 

So far, like most West African countries, Ghana has avoided the worst of the virus’s health toll. However, in low- and middle-income countries like Ghana, the pandemic’s socio-economic consequences may exceed the immediate health ones and even cost more lives....

Media Coverage
June 29, 2020

In Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, IPA's Director of Financial Inclusion Rebecca Rouse and researcher Farah Said discuss the threat that COVID-19 poses to Pakistan's microfinance sector. The op-ed draws on findings from an IPA-funded study in which Said and her co-researchers surveyed microenterprise owners soon after the pandemic's onset. More information about the study, including the full working paper, is available here.

A busy street in Dhaka
May 22, 2020

 

Editor’s Note: this is the first in a series of posts about adapting an ongoing policy project about digital payments with Bangladesh’s government to the current COVID-19 crisis.

On one of many trips to Bangladesh, I met Rohima, whose story stuck with me. At the age of 22, Rohima moved from a rural village, leaving behind her two young children under the care of their grandparents, so she could work in one of the many Dhaka garment factories. The list of challenges she had to immediately figure out (and with no formal education) was staggering—how to get around, her new...

Workers resting on boats in Bangladesh
April 23, 2020

 

Across IPA’s 22 country offices, we partner with several dozen government ministries. In recent weeks, a new policy priority has arrived on most every policymaker’s agenda: responding to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis.

Many of the countries where we work are still bracing for the worst of the pandemic’s impacts, and early action is critical for saving lives and livelihoods. Our partnerships with policymakers have allowed us to see how the impacts of the pandemic will be interpreted and addressed by decision-makers globally—from strains on health systems to...

Media Coverage
March 17, 2020

Kenya's The Standard reports on a new IPA-funded study with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD-Kenya) to address common digital credit market and consumer protection issues.

IPA International Women's Day Authors
March 05, 2020

Sunday, March 8 is International Women’s Day. To mark the occasion, staff members from IPA’s Financial Inclusion and Small & Medium Enterprise programs are highlighting some readings they find insightful, especially as they pertain to new thinking about women’s entrepreneurship and access to finance in low- and middle-income countries.

Elizabeth Koshy, Program Manager, Small & Medium Enterprises

 

I really like the Household Matters paper by Arielle Bernhardt, Erica Field, Rohini Pande, and Natalia Rigol. Previous studies from Ghana and Sri Lanka had shown that...

Media Coverage
February 25, 2020

IPA's Director of Consumer Protection, Rafe Mazer speaks in African Business Magazine on the importance of ensuring that Kenya's fast-growing financial technology sector provides inclusive products and services. Mazer also explains on IPA's blog how the new $5.4 Million initiative he directs aims to help protect consumers in four countries from poor or predatory digital financial services.

SMS Fraud Message
February 07, 2020

The text messages start before my plane even lands in Nairobi.

“MPESA soft loan now Available at 5% interest,@Ksh50,000. Call/sms on XXXXXXXXXX ​​​​​.”

 

My Kenyan SIM is back online, and so are the fake SMS loan offers.

I know not to reply to these messages because they don’t come from a phone number branded with a provider name, let alone the various typos I spot in most of these messages.

But many consumers don’t know the tell-tale signs of a fake loan, or maybe need a loan so bad they want to believe the offer is true. According to the 2019 FinAccess...

Media Coverage
January 24, 2020

IndiaSpend reports on a study providing women in Madhya Pradesh with personal bank accounts to determine the impact of women's increased financial control on labor market participation and earnings.

Media Coverage
November 22, 2019

MIT Technology Review writes in the wake of Goldman Sach's AppleCard scandal, in which the company's algorithm for lending was criticized for being significantly biased against women, about the potential benefits of gender-differentiated lending practices. The article points to research in the Dominican Republic evaluating a program with women-specific credit scoring found that credit scores improved for 93% of women had higher credit scores using the separate models for men and women than when they were grouped together.

Media Coverage
July 25, 2019

The Dhaka Tribune recaps a roundtable in which IPA Bangladesh Country Director, Dr. Mohammad Ashraful Haque, presented baseline findings of a survey on adolescent well-being, assessing mental, physical, and sexual/reproductive health as well as educational and economic development. The survey also noted the role of violence in the everyday lives of Dhaka adolescents, finding: 68% of married adolescents experience intimate partner violence, 82% of adolescents report experiencing corporal punishment at school, and 62% of female caregivers use physical punishment to discipline underage family...

Media Coverage
May 01, 2019

IPA Founder Dean Karlan spoke with one of Peru's largest newspapers, El Comercio, about how to increase contributions to retirement savings in Peru. They discussed how nudges can play an important role in creating saving habits but also noted that reminders for automated payroll individual can be counterproductive and that they might even be best off forgetting they have an account.


 

Media Coverage
March 25, 2019

Paraguay's ABC Color reports on a study in progress with the country's Ministry of Finance, testing whether a pension program for senior citizens improves the economic wellbeing and quality of life of its participants.

TLF Blog graphic.png
Brian Jacob, Damon Jones, Benjamin Keys
February 25, 2019

If you’re a teacher in the United States with a student loan, you can get $5,000 to $17,500 of your student loans forgiven by the federal government after five consecutive years of teaching in low-income schools. To do this, you’d have to first match the eligibility requirements to your position and your loans: If you took maternity leave does that year count? Does your loan count if you took a deferment while you got your Masters? This is detailed in an 8-page, 4,370 word application, linked towards the bottom of an FAQ page on the federal loan. Then you would have to figure out if your...

Media Coverage
February 22, 2019

The Dhaka Tribune recaps the 2019 Financial Inclusion Summit held in Dhaka, where IPA's Financial Inclusion Program Director, Rebecca Rouse, delivered a keynote speech. Rouse discussed how digital cash transfers can be more time and cost effective while ensuring greater accessibility and transparency. She cites IPA evidence on mobile money in Kenya and digital payments in Mexico.

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