School of Finance and Management & Centre for Global Finance

The Inclusive Finance project


This research is vital for embedding financial inclusion in African economies and aims ultimately to have a significant impact on livelihoods.

– Professor Victor Murinde, Principal Investigator

It is well known that financial institutions and markets foster the flow of information about resource availability, especially the required financial resources for supporting economic growth. Previous research also shows that financial deepening, demonstrated by increased availability of a wide range of financial choices, is a core element of financial development. However, financial development alone cannot ensure financial inclusion – some households and enterprises are unable to fully participate in the financial sector; globally, some countries may not access international capital markets.

Moreover, the channels for financial development to promote inclusive finance are not clear and are not well studied. While new technology, such as mobile money transfer systems, has strengthened financial inclusion, gaps in access to finance as well as gaps in the development of financial systems seem to be getting wider following the 2007–2009 global financial crisis. Overall, the current consensus is that there is urgent need for research on inclusive finance and its potential contribution to lifting low-income countries to the level of their medium income peers.

The aim of this research is to identify workable policies to help make the financial sector an effective instrument in promoting financial inclusion and sustained growth in low-income countries, and consequently create an enabling environment for transitioning these countries to middle income status.

The research component of the project addressed three core questions:

  1. How can institutional frameworks support inclusive financial development?
  2. What role do private and public capital inflows play in domestic financial inclusion in Africa?
  3. How can private and public institutions in Africa be a catalyst and channel for technological diffusion and financial inclusion?

The project’s other important dimensions pertain to (a) capacity building of early career researchers in low-income countries, with a focus on Africa, to conduct policy-oriented research of global standards, (b) to influence policy dialogue and formulation among senior policy decision makers as well as non-state actors, such as the private sector.

Research consortium

Led by Professor Victor Murinde, a consortium of partners is collaborating on this research project on inclusive finance, funded under the ESRC-FCDO Growth Research programme (DEGRP) Call 3 (ES/N013344/2).

The consortium is international, with a focus on the North-South partnership, and it includes the UK (SOAS University of London; University of Birmingham, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex; Loughborough University; the Overseas Development Institute; and the University of Nottingham), the Netherlands (CIBIF, Faculty of Economics and Business, the University of Groningen), North America (Université Laval in Québec, Canada and Columbia in the US) and, crucially, Africa (the University of Ghana-Legon; and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC; Pan African, headquartered in Nairobi).

The consortium has been joined subsequently by researchers from Princeton University, New York University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Carleton University, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester, Aston University, Central Bank of Kenya, Bank of Zambia, Reserve Bank of Malawi, Bank of Uganda and COMESA Monetary Institute.

Project partners are as follows.

Principal Investigator



  • Professor Victor Murinde – Mega-trends in global finance, inclusive finance, financial institutions, markets and instruments, financial modelling and forecasting
  • Professor Reinhard Bachmann – Strategic management, organisational analysis and comparative management
  • Emeritus Professor Laurence Harris – Corporate finance, ethics and finance, central banking and macroeconomics
  • Professor Christine Oughton – Industrial organisation and policy, innovation, sustainable development and corporate governance, including the governance and regulation of sport
  • Dr Ayse Demir – Financial economics. development economics. institutional economics
  • Dr Efthymios Rizopoulos – Financial technology, crypto currencies, banking, green finance, behavioural finance, algorithmic and high frequencies trading, capital and financial markets and FOREX.