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Mobile Cash Transfers for Urban Refugees in Niamey, Niger

February 2014 — By Pantaleo Creti

This study compared the effectiveness of cash transfers delivered through mobile phone and microfinance institutions to urban refugees in Niamey.

The study found that the mobile phone delivery mechanism could be more cost-efficient than the MFI mechanism, after initial set up costs associated to technology are amortised. The use of proximity cash-out points can reduce transport and opportunity costs for beneficiaries.

The highest levels of preference for the mobile phone mechanism were found among beneficiaries who either had previous familiarity and capacity to utilise the technology or had been effectively sensitized and supported by field operators.

The additional advantage of the mobile phone mechanism for a refugee population is the enhanced communication with their country of origin and relatives. The mobile phone mechanism, however, can present technical challenges that can affect its efficiency. Such challenges can be tackled with detailed preparedness planning, specific programmatic measures, thoughtful targeting and efficient support to beneficiaries.