DIGITAL ACCESS TO AFRICAN WOMEN
SUPPORTING LIVERPOOL JOHN MOORES UNIVERSITY UK
Enhancing access to digital financial payment services for women and minority groups in rural areas in Nigeria. .
- To bring together academic and industry experts to co-design a programme focusing on how the regulation of digital technology can enhance access to financial services for women and minority groups in rural areas in Nigeria. This involves a balancing exercise between financial innovation, regulation and inclusion.
- To implement a strategic agenda; research objectives and methodology for stage 2 (follow on funding) of the application
- To forge academic and industrial collaborative partnerships between the consortia partners and train skilled researchers in digital financial technology in Nigeria
This grant will enable the applicants to organise a conference in Lagos, Nigeria, which will bring together all the consortia members to collaborate. The network is formed of a steering group and consortia partners. The PI and Co-Investigators form the steering group. Consortia partners attending the networking activities include eight Nigerian partners (three academic). Please see details in the next box.
The conference will held at the Centre of Unemployment and Skills Development, University of Lagos in Nigeria. We have chosen Nigeria since it has the most pronounced challenges in enhancing digital finance access to women and minority groups compared to Zambia and Kenya. The majority of our consortia partners are from Nigeria too. The first day of the conference involves each consortia partner giving a presentation of their organisation, their vision and strategy of the project; potential challenges of enhancing access to digital financial services for women and minority groups in Nigeria. The second and third days of the conference will consist of workshops on digital finance; regulatory and governance frameworks and research methodology in the morning. There will be time for scoping exercises to co-design the follow on funding. Effective partnerships are hard to achieve. As such, we plan to divide the consortia partners into three working groups. Each group will be led by the PI or Co-Investigators and will combine UK and African partners. The group will develop strategies to promote networking and collaboration among the partners.
The working groups are as follows:
1) Financial and legal infrastructure group. Evaluate regulatory, governance and financial challenges.
2) Financial consumer protection group. Consider the definition of rural areas in the three countries and methodology of conducting interviews of interviewees in rural areas; consider which minority group(s) to focus on.
3) Financial and digital skills group. Focus on the delivery of digital and financial skills to women and minority groups. These skills include mobile technical literacy; mobile internet literacy and advanced mobile internet literacy. Focus on skills and confidence building.
The conference will build the research capacity of individuals, including research methods and skills and co-production or co-designing of research and implementation with partners. The conference, especially the workgroups, will enhance engagement skills with academics and non-academics; build international networks beyond academia; enhance organisational capacity (such as engagement and impact, communications) and institutional capacity of member organisations (the regulatory and political context; incentive structures) through the investigation of balancing financial innovation; regulation and consumer protection of digital financial payments.
The three working groups will produce valuable frameworks for the follow on funding stage. As such, we will keep in touch with all the consortia members after the conference by monthly Skype meetings. We will use a framework to monitor evaluation, accountability and learning that enables monitoring and evaluation of impacts that can be directly attributed to the research conducted. To assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the project, we will conduct interviews with the conference participants via Skype to discuss the extent the project has achieved its planned objectives.
NGO Partners: Civil Society Coalition of Sustainable Development; Centre for Development Support Initiative
Industry Partners: Riby Finance Limited; Kaoshi (FinTech startup); Sochitel Limited
Government/Policy Partners: Ministry of Women Affairs Nigeria
With the NGO, industry and policy partners, they will bring a practical dimension to the issue of enhancing access to digital financial payment services for women and minority groups in rural areas of Nigeria. The partners strongly believe in delivering local, evidence based solutions which are tailored to Nigeria. Therefore, we adopt an equitable and locally responsive strategy to our project. We will involve all the partners equally and fairly, as well as tailoring our strategy to the cultural and socio-economic circumstances of Nigeria. All the partners have provided letters of support, which are available upon request. They are also consortia members of the existing UKRI GCRF grant application. They will also play a role in the evaluation and dissemination exercises after the conference. Engaging with these national and international organisations within the remit of this unique research venture will raise LJMU’s international reputation and build capacity between the UK and Nigeria.