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Digital Products and Economic Lives in Africa

January 31, 2018

Washington, DC

  • Tavneet Suri
    Tavneet Suri is an Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Her expertise is as a development economist, specialized in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tavneet’s work cuts across multiple sectors related to international development, such as digital financial services for the poor, agriculture, and governance. Over the last decade she has spent a significant amount of time in the field across Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Tavneet is Scientific Director for Africa for J-PAL; a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research; an affiliate of BREAD and CEPR; and Lead Academic of the Kenya Program at the International Growth Center. She holds a BA in economics from Cambridge University, UK, and PhD in economics from Yale University.  

  • Mobile phones have changed every aspect of life in parts of Africa. This lecture will discuss how the advent of mobile money has moved over 190,000 households out of extreme poverty in Kenya. In addition, digital credit products built over mobile money have dramatically broadened financial access while providing some stability during unforeseen events to users. Other digital products such as asset collateralized loans may add value to microenterprises. The lecture will end with a discussion of ongoing research on digital bonds and the benefits of mobile based internet.

  • The Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) launched its lecture series in April 2005 to bring distinguished academics to the Bank to present and discuss new knowledge on development. The purpose of the Lecture Series is to introduce ideas on cutting edge research, challenge and contribute to the Bank's intellectual climate, and reexamine current development theories and practices. The Lectures revisit issues of long-standing concern and explore emerging issues that promise to be central to future development discourse. The Lecture Series reflects DEC’s commitment to intellectual leadership and openness in embracing future challenges to reduce poverty.

    The DEC Lecture Series is chaired is chaired by Shanta Devarajan, Senior Director, Development Economics, and includes a presentation and floor discussion.

    • TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6: Pascaline Dupas, Stanford University
    • TUESDAY, MARCH 13: Pinelopi Goldberg, Princeton University
    • TUESDAY, APRIL 24: Rohini Pande, Harvard University
    • MONDAY, MAY 21: Oriana Bandiera, LSE
    • MONDAY, JUNE 18: Rema Hanna, Harvard University
    • MONDAY, JULY 16: Dina Pomeranz, University of Zurich
    • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: Gita Gopinath, Harvard University


Lecture Details

  • Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
  • Time: 12:30 – 2:00 PM
  • Venue: MC 13-121
Watch Lecture