I must give a big thank you to the Landelijk Netwerk Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren (which for non-Dutch speakers is the National Network of Female Professors) for funding an upcoming trip to Egypt in 2015. Dank u wel!
I will be conducting a short 6 weeks preliminary fieldwork trip in Egypt on the integration of mobile payment systems into informal economies. Such technology changes the ability of both governments and corporations to ‘see’ previously unrecorded economic activities. I want to analyse how this added visibility changes livelihoods for the poor; whether or not it establishes a better social contract between state and society through taxation and policy dialogue, or whether it instead opens up these groups up to incorporation into the value chains of larger companies (or both).
I have recently gotten back from a similar preliminary research trip in South Africa and Kenya, and am so very excited to extend the project to Egypt. Interviews will include associations of informal workers, government officials within the tax departments and those currently deploying mobile payment systems particularly in transport and agriculture. This preliminary fieldwork will also help me identify relevant stakeholders and potential research partnerships. If you have an interest in these issues, please be in touch! I am very excited!