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ISSER and ReFinD host IPA senior research fellow and expert panel for webinar addressing DFS barriers

The Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and the ReFinD research initiative, in collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), hosted a seminar to address the barriers hindering digital financial services (DFS) adoption in low- and middle-income countries. Titled Evidence from IPA’s Transaction Cost Index: Measuring the “True” Cost of Digital Financial Services, the seminar served as a vital platform for exchanging research findings and expert perspectives on the complexities of DFS pricing across diverse regions, while also exploring strategies to enhance DFS uptake.

IPA senior researcher William Blackmon presented insights from the Transaction Cost Index (TCI) research, highlighting disparities in DFS pricing across 16 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Additionally, he shared findings on hidden costs associated with DFS transactions, drawn from extensive fieldwork in Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Distinguished panelists, including Prof. Peter Quartey, Director of ISSER and Executive Director of ReFinD, joined the discussion to dissect the implications of the TCI's findings. Prof. Quartey underscored the event's significance, stating, "This forum reflects ISSER and ReFinD's commitment to fostering financial inclusion through collaborative efforts. It underscores our dedication to leveraging research and fostering strategic alliances to address complex challenges and promote inclusive economic growth and competition within the sector."

Other panelists included Edwin E. Salema from the Bank of Tanzania and Alex Wekoye from MTN Uganda, with moderation by Adadzewa Otoo, Project Director of ReFinD.

During the panel discussion, Prof. Peter Quartey emphasized the importance of research, strong regulatory frameworks and enforcement in fostering an environment conducive to DFS uptake. Edwin E. Salema provided insights from the banking sector, while Alex Wekoye offered valuable industry perspectives on the challenges and opportunities encountered by mobile network operators in promoting DFS.

The online seminar attracted participants from diverse countries and regions, serving as a vital platform for stakeholders to exchange ideas and foster collaboration. The seminar, held on 27th February, is available for viewing through this link.