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Research Meets Africa

The Research Meets Africa conference aims to promote research and innovation in the field of inclusive finance in Africa by connecting researchers from African and international universities with practitioners in the sector. It will take place within the framework of the SAM in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and will take place on Monday, October 21st, 2019 at the University Ouaga 1 Professeur Joseph Ki-Zerbo.

Photo RMA 2019 resized

The theme of African Microfinance Week 2019 (SAM) is the impact and contribution of inclusive finance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As a research event, Research Meets Africa 2019 (RMA 2019) can contribute to the reflection on different aspects of the theme, in particular on three main axes:

  • What methods should be used to assess the impact and contribution of inclusive finance to the SDGs?
  • What impacts and contributions to the SDGs has inclusive finance demonstrated in Africa?
  • How to maximize the impact of inclusive finance in Africa?

Thus, on each of the main axes identified, the research presented and discussed may focus in particular on the following topics:

What methods should be used to assess the impact and contribution of inclusive finance to the SDGs?

  • What existing tools are available for practitioners to assess impact and contribution to the SDGs?
  • Quantitative methods vs. qualitative methods
  • Innovative methods to measure impact and contribution to the SDGs
  • Balance between rigour and operationality

What impacts and contributions to the SDGs has inclusive finance demonstrated in Africa?

  • What impacts (positive and negative) does inclusive finance have on the community (beyond clients)?
  • What are the impacts (positive and negative) of digital finance?
  • What are the impacts of green microfinance on climate change resilience and the environment?
  • What are the impacts of microinsurance?
  • What are the impacts of alternative modes of SME financing (crowdfunding, equity, quasi-equity, etc.)?

How to maximize the impact of inclusive finance in Africa?

  • In which circumstances/context does inclusive finance have the most positive impact?
    • Does regulation have a role to play in maximizing impact?
    • Does the presence of professional associations or networks promote a positive impact?
    • Does a financial education strategy maximize impact?
    • Are there any particular products/services/modalities that have a greater positive impact than others?
  • Do non-financial services complementary to financial services maximize impact?

These research questions are not exhaustive and other working papers presented on the theme of the impact and contribution of inclusive finance to the SDGs will be considered.

- Launch of the call for papers: 15 April (please send your application to )
- Receipt of extended abstracts: 15 April - 15 June
- Review by the Scientific Committee of the extended abstracts: 15 June - 19 July 2019​
- Announcement of selected articles: July 25, 2019
- Submission of full articles: 15 September 2019.

This event is open to participants of the SAM 2019 and to students, professors and researchers interested in the topics of microfinance, financial inclusion and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Meeting with...

Lucia SpaggiariLucia Spaggiari, Business Development Manager at MicroFinanza Rating, was a panelist at the last edition of Research Meets Africa in Ethiopia in October 2017. She shares with us her feelings about the program.

What do you think about the concept/format of Research Meets Africa?
Research Meets Africa is a unique opportunity for researchers and practitioners in inclusive finance to speak together. Both sides pursue valuable goals, but their language, priorities and needs do not necessarily match. Deliberate efforts are needed to make the match happen, and Research meets Africa is one effective way of encouraging this.

Why did you choose to participate in this event?
I chose to participate in this event because I share the vision that research and practice can enormously learn from each other. The financial inclusion sector can greatly benefit from qualified research to reinforce the feedback loop between the double bottom line expectations and results. Similarly, the value and impact of research on prosperity, people and planet can be further enhanced through a better match with practitioners concerns and opportunities.

How did participating in this event benefit you?
I learnt a lot from the event. The contributions offered interesting updates and debates on both the research conducted and the priorities of financial service providers, investors, regulators, practitioners and other stakeholders. The debate on interest rate caps from a regulatory and practitioner perspective was very informative.  

Did you make interesting contacts during or thanks to this event?
I was indeed able to make interesting contacts (e.g. Mrs Alexis Beggs Olsen, author of Uniting Tech and Touch, ACCION, 2017) that allowed very fruitful conversations after the event.

Partner of the conference

Innovations for Poverty Action

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit organization that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. Since our founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 600 leading academics to conduct over 830 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide.



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