Following the launch of M-Pesa in 2007, Kenya has emerged as a global leader in the development of mobile money and in increasing rates of financial inclusion. This paper shows how M-Pesa’s success has led to a series of endogenous innovations that have shaped Kenya’s digital space, placing it ahead of other developing economies in the region in the deployment and use of digital technology.
Short-Term Impacts of Improved Access to Mobile Savings, with and without Business Training: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania - Working Paper 478
This paper presents short-term results from an experiment randomizing the promotion and registration of a mobile savings account among women microentrepreneurs in Tanzania, with and without business training. Six months post-intervention, the results show that women save substantially more through the mobile account, and that the business training bolstered this effect.
What Can We Learn about Energy Access and Demand from Mobile-Phone Surveys? Nine Findings from Twelve African Countries
We conducted phone-based surveys on energy access and demand in twelve African countries. From these findings, we draw several potential policy implications. First, both grid electricity and off-grid solutions currently are inadequate to meet many African consumers’ modern energy demands. Second, grid and off-grid electricity are viewed by consumers as complementary, rather than competing, solutions to meet energy demand. Third, a market exists for off-grid solutions even among connected, urban Africans.
Practical Considerations with Using Mobile Phone Survey Incentives: Experiences in Ghana and Tanzania - Working Paper 431
As mobile phone surveys are gaining popularity among researchers and practitioners in international development, one primary challenge is improving survey response and completion rates. A common solution is to provide monetary compensation to respondents. This paper reports on our experience with using incentives with a mobile phone survey conducted in Ghana and Tanzania in June 2015.
Enabling Digital Financial Inclusion through Improvements in Competition and Interoperability: What Works and What Doesn't?
The development of mobile payment platforms in developing countries is revolutionizing access to finance for the poor. Mobile payment platforms allow their users to pay and transfer funds in mobile money but also offer access to other financial products, such as savings or insurance.
In rural areas of developing countries, education programs are often implemented through community teachers. While teachers are a crucial part of the education production function, observing their effort remains a challenge for the public sector. This paper tests whether a simple monitoring system, implemented via the mobile phone, can improve student learning as part of an adult education program.
In this project, we analyzed whether mobile phone-based surveys are a feasible and cost-effective approach for gathering statistically representative information in four low-income countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe).
Learning without Teachers? A Randomized Experiment of a Mobile Phone-Based Adult Education Program in Los Angeles - Working Paper 368
Over 755 million adults worldwide are unable to read and write in any language. Yet the widespread introduction of information and communication technology offers new opportunities to provide standardized distance education to underserved illiterate populations in both developed and developing countries.
Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers during an Election in Mozambique - Working Paper 328
Jenny Aker and co-authors present the results of a field experiment implemented in Mozambique based on three interventions providing information to voters and calling for their participation in the elections: an SMS civic education campaign centered on the elections, an SMS hotline to which citizens were able to report electoral misconduct, and the distribution of a free newspaper door-to-door focusing on voter education.
This paper reports on the first randomized evaluation of a cash transfer program delivered via mobile phone. The trial households in targeted villages monthly cash transfers and finds that the mobile phone–based program saves costs and has greater benefits for recipients.
Johnny West describes how an oil-dividend program could be structured by, for example, taking advantage of Iraq’s existing rationing system, ubiquitous mobile phone networks, and new biometric ID cards.
The results of a randomized evaluation of a mobile phone education program (Project ABC) in Niger suggest that simple and relatively cheap information and communication technology can serve as an effective and sustainable learning tool for rural populations.
Over 60 percent of Africans have access to a cell phone, a simple technology that many believe will fundamentally change the dynamics of agricultural markets, banking, and government service delivery. In a new paper, Jenny Aker and Isaac Mbiti separate the hype from the reality.