Can E-transfers Promote Financial Inclusion in Emergencies: A Case Study from Ethiopia

Case study
Date Published: 
Nov 2016
Murray, S.

Looking at the use of mobile money among cash transfer recipients

This case study explores an emergency assistance project implemented by Mercy Corps in Ethiopia’s Somali and Afar Regions from April through September, 2016. In-country research for this study relied on household surveys, key informant interviews, and gender-segregated focus group discussions. 237 individuals (86% female) participated in the household surveys and 30 individuals (54% female) took part in focus group discussions. In addition, researchers analyzed HelloCash transaction records from the same 237 household survey participants, which provided detailed records of participant’s mobile money account usage. The research took place between the second and third cash transfers (August and September, 2016).

This case study took a rigorous approach to data collection and analysis, relying on an exploratory, cross-sectional analysis. However, the research was conducted on an active project in the midst of program activities and, as such, is unable to measure sustained use of mobile money products. Transaction data does offer a snapshot of usage patterns during and shortly after the project, providing valuable insights about mobile money acceptance among cash transfer recipients newly introduced to the service.

The research focused on three key questions:

  1. To what extent do e-transfer programs influence the use of e-transfers among cash transfer recipients?
  2. What are the key barriers and enabling factors that influence recipients’ uptake and use of e-transfer services?
  3. What measures can and should be implemented in humanitarian e-transfer programs to overcome the barriers to uptake and use?
Case study