The objective of this study is to determine what happens to social-driven structures like cooperatives when they interface with mobile money technologies. Although mobile money holds a number of promises for financial inclusion and rural development, its adoption in rural areas could upset existing habits, group dynamics and non-cash/traditional modes of storing, saving, and transferring value in informal markets. In the cooperative context, mobile money adoption could alter the trust and group bonding process upon which group lending schemes are built. It could change meeting procedures, methods of receiving and recording, as well as the framework for monitoring members’ financial habits, rendering joint liability schemes in cooperatives ineffective. The researchers intend to study a number of women's thrift and credit cooperatives (loan groups) in rural villages of Southeastern Nigeria whose members have commenced using mobile money services in order to understand the changes in the financial behavior of these members and in their cooperatives. There are over 700,000 rural women in the area of study who live on less than $2 per day. They are subsistence farmers, hawkers, and mobile workers who go around the village looking for works to do each day. They do not have accounts in any bank except in a cooperative. The majority store and transfer value by keeping ruminants, apprenticeship, and membership of groups, especially cooperatives. 32 women's thrift and credit cooperatives will be selected for the study. A judgmental sampling technique will be applied in order to get respondents with rich cases. Questionnaires and focus group discussions will be used to generate responses. This study is significant because it will ensure that mobile money does not work against other financial inclusion schemes and also that policymakers and industry developers can learn the nature of interventions needed when there is conflict between mobile money and joint liability schemes.
Onyima Jude Kenechi and Onugu Charles Uchenna
About the Researcher(s)
Onyima Jude Kenechi is a lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. He has served as a consultant to government and development agencies as well as to a number of entrepreneurship and rural development programmes in Nigeria. Jude holds a B.S. (First Class Honours) and a M.A. in Economics. He is a doctoral student in Cooperative Economics and Management at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Jude is a World Bank certified trainer of Microfinance Programme and posseses over 7 years of consulting experience both in the public and private sectors. Jude's research has been published in reputable journals within and outside Nigeria. His research interests include cooperative organizations, immigrant entrepreneurship, and microfinance.
Onugu Charles Uchenna is a Professor of Agricultural Extension at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Nigeria. Presently, he is the Head of Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension. Prior to joining academia, he served as a training manager in the defunct National Board of Community Banks in Nigeria. Charles is a certified Microfinance trainer by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the World Bank. With over 20 years of experience in microfinance, he is one of the pioneers of microfinance in Nigeria having been a Director and Chairman of two successful microfinance banks in Nigeria. He is currently a Microfinance Training Service Provider (MTSP) for the Central Bank of Nigeria. He is a member of several professional bodies notably, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Cooperative Professionals of Nigeria (COPRON), and Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria (AESON). He has published extensively on agricultural issues, rural finance, gender, poverty, and development. His current research interests span financial inclusion, youth empowerment, rural livelihood, and food security.
Click here for their final report: Mobile Money, Social Capital and Financial Behavior of Women's Cooperatives in Rural Nigeria