Exploring the Potential of Mobile Money Transactions to Inform Policy

Pulse Lab Kampala

Project Description

The rapid growth of mobile money in Uganda is benefiting both micro and macroeconomic segments of the economy by complementing and improving the outreach of financial institutions across rural and urban areas. M-money usage has been growing exponentially since the service was first introduced in 2009. People use the service for domestic money transfers, to buy airtime and to pay bills, among others.

Recent studies have shown that data from mobile phones can be parsed to understand socioeconomic conditions, especially in the absence of official statistics. Insights about population movements, density, location, social patterns or finances can be derived from data logged in mobile systems.

Despite the increasing adoption of mobile money in African countries, few efforts have been made to date to analyze the large amounts of raw data these services generate for insights on digital financial inclusion. Existing analysis of m-money usage is generally interview or survey-based, rather than derived from the transaction records.

This project is investigating the potential of data extracted from mobile money transactions to understand under what circumstances people use m-money systems in Uganda. The aim is to create statistical models and software applications that provide a near real-time overview of the factors behind the growth of m-money programmes.

The research is analyzing data provided by a mobile operator in Uganda to understand whether the subscription to mobile money services is influenced by location, time, type of subscriber and social networks.

The outputs could help policymakers understand the lead factors behind the growth of the service to help inform decision-making processes. Mobile operators would also benefit from understanding how their services are being used and how they can be improved or tailored to fit the needs of their clients.

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