Monday, March 19, 2012

Institute for money, technology and financial inclusion: doing research on emerging markets in Los Angeles

This is what I like about this industry: finding new entities doing interesting things in the strangest places. Who would have thought that good research on financial inclusion is being conducted in the same city that gave us Hollywood? Enter Prof Bill Maurer and the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (Read here). The institute is housed in the University of California (Irvine) School for Social Sciences. Research conducted by the institute have looked at financial inclusion in countries as diverse as Nigeria, India, Haiti, Kenya, PNG and Afghanistan.

The great thing about the research is that it is done well (with proper surveys and measurements) and with no commercial drivers. (So many research in the industry are funded by companies with a vested interest and expect results to be in support of their commercial focus). It is really worthwhile to visit the site and browse through the wide collection of research. A recent survey on the status of Mobile Money in Nigeria for instance provides such good insight into this large and complex country. (Read here).

I am sure that, in addition to the great research, students and graduates from the institute will make an impact in the development of the industry, as they start to get assimilated into commercial companies. The work of academics like Prof Maurer should be applauded. 

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