The Development Research Lab
Supported with a grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Development Research Lab (DRL) focuses on the use of technology to improve governance and the implementation, measurement, and evaluation of public policies and development processes. The DRL connects computer scientists with governance experts in order to imagine and implement technology-driven improvement of service delivery, particularly in rural areas. A central aspect of the DRL is the focus on electronic governance (E-gov) and financial technology (Fintech) initiatives. In conjunction with its partners, the DRL will offer trainings and certificates in software and computer programming.
The DRL will also house a Transportation Research Institute (TRI). The TRI is being created to foster development in Benin and West Africa. TRI research will focus on the effects of transportation infrastructure development on poverty alleviation and agricultural export. TRI research aims to help African policymakers design stronger or more adequate transportation networks, manage the financing and maintenance of road systems, and maximize the impact of these roads via complementary policies, especially in the agricultural sector. Ongoing DRL research is highlighted below.
Development of the “Gestion des Finances” Application
The DRL developed the “Gestion des Dépenses” (Expense Management) application in 2018. The second version of the application launched on the Play Store in 2019 under a new name, “Gestion des Finances Personnelles” (GFP) (“Personal Finance Management” in English). The app allows users to create budgets, and to track income, expenditures, credit history, savings, and information on available financial services. New features include daily alerts and added security features. Follow-up on the application is in progress, with a database of about 66 users.
The effectiveness of this application for promoting financial inclusion is currently being evaluated by ASE’s Institute for Finance and Management.
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