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Q&A with Eria Hisali, case author of MAP International (Uganda)

Eria Hisali is a lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Management at Makerere University, in Uganda where he has worked since 2000. He holds a PhD in the field of Economics from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. He has previously done various consultancies for UNDP and the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda; the Tanzania Economic Development Trust; for the World Bank/FAO; and done research for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Dr. Hisali is a Peer Reviewer for the Africa Development Journal and the African Journal of Business Management.

MAP International provides central bank approved biometric identification and a mass-market virtual financial service that links consumers, merchants, banks, and service providers. This has enabled them to build a leapfrog solution that has the potential to be scaled quickly in order to expand access to financial services.

To download the MAP International case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is the state of financial inclusion in Uganda today?

Financial inclusion remains a major challenge in Uganda in spite of all the efforts by government to promote it. Many people still use informal channels of access to credit and more than 90% of Uganda’s approximately 5 million households do not have access to a bank and only 17% of rural households live within 10 km of a commercial bank branch. These are the kind of problems MAP International is trying to solve by providing technology which enables one to operate an account from any location.

What is MAP International’s basic value proposition and what makes its financial model sustainable?

To enhance financial inclusion by providing technology that facilitates a range of services including banking services, electronic bill payments, local money transfer and mobile airtime top up.  All this is done without participating banks and financial institutions having to incur the costs of opening additional branches.

What have been the biggest challenges hindering MAP International’s development and growth?

The major challenges include failure to appreciate the kind of technology MAP International is providing and the cash nature of the transactions in the economy.

What are the promises in terms of human development of the use of technology as presented in this case?

There is a lot of potential and scope for MAP International to contribute to poverty reduction by facilitating expansion to financial services which has been identified variously as central to welfare enhancement.

What has been your personal experience going through the GIM training and case research process?

The GIM training and case research process has been a very rewarding experience. I have had the opportunity to produce a fairly different type of research output than the usual academic type that I usually participate in.