Olga Morawczynski is interested in “following the money”. She has spent ample time looking at how cash circulates within families, and between villages. She also pays attention to where it ends up when it is not moving—from being stuffed in holes and shoved under mattresses to being hidden in belts. Olga first came across mobile money (MM) when she started her PhD at the University of Edinburgh. She became enchanted with M-PESA after studying the impact of usage on the daily lives of poor Kenyans and has since travelled the world looking at other branchless banking solutions.
Olga has published widely in the MM space and her work has received recognition. It has been cited by various news sources, from the Economist to CNN. One of her papers was also noted as being in the top 20 of the field by the GSMA. Heading the AppLab Money project, Olga will work with a team of experienced researchers and technology developers to turn her insights of how the poor manage their money into financial products. If all goes well, Olga and her team will have at least one product that they scale in Uganda. They will also push financial institutions to make a serious effort to go down-market by developing more suitable products. Olga and her team realize that such scaling is very likely to be preceded by several “failures” that will provide valuable lessons to the AppLab team and industry at large.
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