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June 22, 2017

Editor's note: This blog is a cross-post from the NextBillion blog.

 

Imagine you had to attend a weekly meeting to make your credit card payments. In today’s fast-moving world where we expect instant gratification and convenience at all costs, this practice might seem unthinkable. However, informal microfinance groups which, among other things, involve regular group meetings are necessary financial tools in low-income communities across the globe, allowing those outside of the formal financial sector to access loans and to save. These groups are often built into an established...

Mobile Money Fee Structures
June 06, 2017

By Kyle Holloway, Rebecca Rouse, and William Cook

Editors note: This blog is a cross-post from the CGAP blog

As mobile money products continue to expand within emerging markets, effective, pro-poor pricing for transferring small amounts of money will be important to mobile money’s success in bringing new users into the formal financial system.

Effectively targeted and appropriate pricing is critical to sustaining profitable models to deliver financial services to the poor. For customers, high fees and unclear or confusing pricing information are often cited as barriers...

May 26, 2017

Editors note: This blog is a cross-post from the SEEP blog

In 2006, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded a Nobel Peace Prize to one of the original architects of modern-day microfinance, Professor Muhammad Yunus. Professor Yunus’s microfinance model, along with similar group-liability lending models targeting women throughout the world, was based on a simple premise. Women could increase their incomes – and thereby, their own lots and the future of their families – by owning and operating their own microenterprises. Yunus and others surmised that a lack of access to capital stood...

Media Coverage
May 10, 2017

Tina Rosenberg speaks to IPA board member Tavneet Suri, about her work with William Jack and IPA in Kenya on the long-term effects of mobile money in alleviating poverty.

Press Release
May 08, 2017

New Haven, CT May 8 - Savings groups popular in rural areas of developing countries – in which people pool money for saving and borrowing – empower women, increase business investment, and provide greater access to financial services, according to a new three-country study released in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, conducted in Ghana, Uganda, and Malawi, tracked households for two to three years, with 61 percent of participants completing a full 8-12 month savings cycle. The study found that access to village savings and loans associations (VSLAs)...

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April 13, 2017

There has been a recent trend of employers, financial service providers, and governments to move towards digital payments; after all, evidence suggests that digital payments are efficient, cheaper, and reduce corruption in the system. This coupled with the global influx of new digital financial products on the market, and the ubiquity of mobile phones in the developing world, has led to a lot of excitement about digital payments being a possible on-ramp to financial inclusion.  However, we still have limited evidence to suggest that this is the case. A recent study in Afghanistan showed...

Media Coverage
March 11, 2017

Among Southeast Asian Countries, Myanmar suffers particularly from flooding, cyclones, and landslides. For low-income populations, these natural disasters can be especially devastating, leading to child malnutrition and unsanitary conditions. Intellasia reports on how IPA Myanmar is partnering with Save the Children to generate evidence on the effectiveness of government-led cash transfer programs on child nutrition and hygiene.

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January 31, 2017

Editor’s note: This cross-post originally appeared on the CGAP blog

Imagine a young married woman living in a small village in rural India. If the opportunities to work in the village are limited, she may choose to supplement her household’s income by participating in India’s federal workfare program — the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) — which provides rural households up to 100 days of work at a fixed minimum wage. In this scenario, the wages she earns through this scheme are deposited into a single household account, which is held in her...

Media Coverage
January 13, 2017

The Wall Street Journal speaks with IPA affiliate and board member Taveneet Suri about her work with us studying the effects of M-PESA mobile money on Kenyan women's livelihoods.

Media Coverage
January 03, 2017

M-Pesa, the world’s largest mobile money network, could be the key to poverty eradication in the developing world based on its success in Kenya where almost 200,000 households headed by women are living above the poverty line as a result of the innovation.

“What we saw over six years was impressive. When M-PESA came to an area, women shifted their occupations and their savings went up,” Thomson Reuters Foundation quoted Tavneet Suri, associate professor of Applied Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who took part in the research.

Media Coverage
January 01, 2017

IPA Executive Director Annie Duflo and Senior Policy Communications Associate Jeff Mosenkis write about our work in The Washington Post. Arguing against prevailing views that the world is getting worse, they show that many measures of poverty have been improving, and cite four recent areas where we've learned what works. Read the full piece from the link below.

Media Coverage
December 22, 2016

The Washington Post cites IPA's work in Kenya in a piece on how mobile money is reducing poverty, speaking to IPA board member Tavneet Suri.

Media Coverage
December 13, 2016

Demonetisation and the subsequent push for the cashless economy have triggered a debate that was long overdue in the country. Leaving aside the political colours of the arguments, even those by some renowned economists, what is heartening is the fact that India is debating the impact of demonetisation and mobile-based transactions on the poor.

Media Coverage
December 10, 2016

In a study published Friday in the journal Science, economists at MIT and Georgetown have found that a service allowing users to send and receive money on their mobile phones has significantly reduced poverty in Kenya.

Media Coverage
December 10, 2016

Drive a few miles from the centre of Accra, the capital of Ghana, into the neat rows of houses that surround it and the paved roads disappear almost as quickly as the phone lines. Yet this has not dented the ambitions of Kwami Williams, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who is building a business processing moringa trees and exporting the resulting tea and cosmetic oils. Before mobile-phone usage exploded across Africa, starting a venture such as this on a shoestring would have been impossible—the costs of communicating with the thousands of smallholders who...

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