Apply: Open Funding for Digital Financial Projects in Africa

Designing and distributing mobile payment systems is a collaborative effort, bringing together policy makers, market players and donors. And to contribute fully and with confidence, each party must know what is at stake. In other words, they need data.

To generate this data, we need new and better methods for collecting it. Current data collection techniques and methodologies are often paper- or interview-based, making them slow, expensive, low-resolution, and prone to error. Findings are often limited to “snapshot” observations that aren’t useful for fueling predictions or projections.

So the new challenge we pose to you is this: Develop an innovative technological solution to capture data relating to the delivery and use of digital financial services that is orders of magnitude faster, less costly, higher quality, more reliable, and more transparent/auditable.

Eligible proposals can take the form of devices, software/algorithms, or business models. Solutions may make use of satellite data, franchise modeling, crowd sourced data, or other approaches; proposals must be sustainable, describe how personal information would be protected, and outline stakeholders who would benefit from the data collected; and preference will be given to applications that leverage existing or open-source platforms (e.g., Open Street Maps, Open Data Kit) and target populations in South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa.

The approved grants will be awarded $100,000, and successful projects can potentially receive a follow-up grant worth $1 million. The application form is just two pages, but proposals will be assessed with rigor.

The utilization of mobile phones for financial inclusion is a simple answer to a complex problem, and bringing that answer to life presents many new complex questions. Finding the simple, affordable, safe and scalable answers to them will be no easy task. To apply, please click here .

Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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