Project Year



West Africa


Nigeria, Ghana

Project Description


The objective of this research was to examine ways in which mobile money could improve the experiences of individuals crossing the borders between Nigeria, Benin,Togo and Ghana. Rather than examine all four countries, we chose as our study area the large urban area known as GILA (the Greater Ibadan-Lagos-Accra corridor). GILA includes the largest cities in each country and overall powers the regional economy. Given the common goal of the national governments to reduce dependence on cash and increase the use of digital money, it makes sense to go where the money is. In this part of west Africa the money is in GILA.

Despite the short distances (about 500 kilometers end-to-end), three international boundaries divide four distinct nations with differences in regulation, culture, wealth and established telecoms and banks. Mobile money is unevenly available. The research took an inventory of money handling practices for different categories of international travelers at the three border crossings (Ghana-Togo, Togo-Benin and Benin-Nigeria). We interviewed industry and government stakeholders and offer high-level concepts for services that might encourage use of mobile money to replace physical cash within the GILA corridor. Internet and telephone research began in May, 2012 and continued throughout the year. A research trip and in-person interviews took place in September and October 2012.


Joel Patenaude

About the Researcher(s)

Joel Patenaude is a Managing Partner of J2 Partners, Inc., a consulting firm based in Montclair, New Jersey. Patenaude holds a Masters of Regional Planning degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His present clients include an e-payments company in Nigeria. Regional experience includes multiple trips to Ghana. Patenaude served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya.

Research Results


Link to final research report: The GILA Mobile Money Project: Present-Day Money Handling and Mobile Money Opportunities in Greater Ibadan-Lagos-Accra, aka GILA, West Africa by Joel Patenaude

Link to research blogpost: Mobile Money Potential in the GILA Region


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