Great claims are made about the potential of mobile phones to deliver formal financial services to farming households. The range of services, including credit, savings, insurance, transfers and cashless payments, is assumed to invite investments in new agricultural technologies, increase agricultural income, improve food security, and give women especially more control over household finance and access to credit.
However there is little evidence of how extensive these impacts are, who benefits the most, and who misses out. Moreover, evidence shows that poorly designed and regulated mobile financial services can exacerbate social issues such as indebtedness, fraud and gambling addiction. Focusing on current evidence internationally, before zooming in on Cambodia and Laos closely in partnership with the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia and the National University of Laos, this project aims to:
- Build and analyse an evidence base for the social and economic impact of mobile financial services on women and men in farming and rural households.
- Identify gaps in evidence and the methodological treatment of the evidence base; carry out mixed-methods research to fill these gaps, and extrapolate lessons to South East Asia and, where relevant, other country contexts.
- Produce knowledge products that help stakeholders better understand the impacts of financial services on women and men in farming and rural households.
- Present evidence in such a way that stakeholders can use it to a) make better decisions about how they engage with women and men in farming and rural households; b) design and deliver more effective policies, programs, and products, and c) conduct more robust and context-relevant evaluations of the impact of financial services.
Researcher(s): Professor Heather Horst, Professor Katherine Gibson, Dr Erin Taylor, Dr Alexandra Peralta (opens in a new window), Dr Isaac Lyne
Funding: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Period: 2021 – 2026
Contact: Professor Heather Horst