Lack of information on the financial services available is a key constraint to increasing and deepening financial inclusion and significantly impacts consumer understanding of the benefits of financial services and how they can improve their lives and ultimately their financial wellbeing. FSDZ seeks to reduce information asymmetries from both demand and supply perspectives, by conceptualizing, generating, analysing and widely disseminating relevant and credible data and analysis on financial inclusion issues.
All of FSDZ’s work is shaped by a common, central role: knowledge generation. This refers to activities that develop new knowledge and insights into different aspects of the market system, which feed into the overall development of the market and which guide FSDZ’s range of work. Knowledge generation has a pivotal, defining role at FSDZ.
Financial services in Zambia is an information-poor environment. The depth and pervasiveness of this affects every aspect and player in the market. There is very limited qualitative understanding of the demand-side—that is of poor people’s use of money and the service and policy implications that flow from this. Consumers, for their part, have scant awareness of the benefits and features of different supply-side offerings. The potential impact of different regulatory and policy courses is not clear. Addressing these fundamental information constraints is at the heart of the market development challenge and FSDZ’s mission. The importance of knowledge generation and the limited options for partners to work with logically means that FSDZ has to step up to play this role.
FSDZ focuses in particular on generating research that is cross-cutting in nature and offers the potential to influence and impact many sectors, stakeholders and target groups. Ultimately, the success of our research and knowledge management is measured in terms of its ability to ensure that more and better information is available and used by stakeholders. However, although success is measured in terms of information being applied to affect change, FSDZ does not have control over stakeholders taking action. Knowledge rather than information facilitates action. Information has to be validated within a specific context to become knowledge.
Our key area of focus for research include: FinScope 2015, Financial diaries, Geospatial mapping and rural finance study.