The N-LAB’s ongoing research in using big data for development has now been recognised by the Gates Foundation in awarding the N-Lab a $100,000 grant for Financial Data Mapping in East Africa.

A new tool for understanding financial accessibility is being developed as part of this work. This will combine new data streams from transactional records and aerial imagery, developing new mathematical and machine learning techniques. Ultimately, this will serve to illuminate areas of financial deprivation, supporting policy makers and financial service providers to resolve the challenge of access to financial services. This is key to meeting the global agenda of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 1: Eliminate Poverty and Goal 8 Sustainable Economic Growth and Employment.In receiving the grant, the Director of the N-Lab Professor Andrew Smith said:

“This is a massive opportunity for the N-Lab to build on its prior research in Tanzania and demonstrate how commercial data streams can have a large impact in society. With this work, we’ll be working across disciplines, academia and business to develop new methods of improving financial accessibility in Tanzania and across East Africa”.

This is the first post in a series that will chart the progress, outputs and research conducted as part of the meeting this challenge. More information is available by emailing Dr James Goulding in the N-Lab, University of Nottingham at