Home Institution

Loyola University Chicago

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies

Abstract

The meaning of poverty is more than just merely the shortage of money. It is the lack of access to the instruments and means through which the poor could improve their lives. Many people lack appropriate means to manage their finances, which limits their economic potential and renders them vulnerable to exogenous shocks. Increasing financial inclusion to those without access contributes to poverty reduction by providing people with means to manage their finances. This study was conducted through a month long internship at the Bank of Uganda following with a short trip to Gulu, northern Uganda. The objective of this study is to examine the opportunity mobile money presents as a platform for saving. To lay the foundation for this analysis, the transformative power of savings as well as the current shortcomings of formal savings mechanisms will be discussed.

The methodology of this study consisted of a compiling of expert (including Bank of Uganda official as well as private sector players) and informal interviews, participation in a senior-level expert workshop, focus group discussions with members of rural communities in Northern Uganda, and the distribution of a questionnaire to those communities. Each research method contributed to the information collected and provided room for analysis on each topic of the study. The methods were chosen for specific reasons, and although there were obstacles along the way, the varieties of methods used were able to fill in the gaps or misunderstandings throughout the others. The data was analyzed through a serious of narrative, documentary, and participatory analysis.

The findings of this study prove that mobile money serves as a potential platform for a savings product. In order to appeal to the rural community, the greater regulation must be implemented in addition to the removal of withdrawal fees, greater transparency, and wider access to mobile money agents.

Disciplines

Community-Based Research | Finance and Financial Management | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | Work, Economy and Organizations