Christabel Jemutai Sitienei

Christabel Jemutai Sitienei
MIT EECS | Hudson River Trading Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisors: Armando Solar-Lezama
Ama Edoh
Department: EECS
Years: 2018-2019
Research Project Title:

Driving Financial Inclusion in East Africa Through AI

abstract:Africa has been in the limelight because of mobile-money development, which has fueled economic growth and increased the “banked” population of Africa. Kenya tops the list of countries with a staggering 75 percent of adults formally owning a bank account owing to the development of the mobile-money industry. Despite these benefits, the majority of Africans, specifically Kenyan people, have little access to financial services such as credit, primarily because they lack a banking history. Is it possible to use cell phone data or metrics from cell-phone usage and artificial intelligence to predict a person’s creditworthiness? More important, can this be done while keeping in mind the socio-economic and cultural context? Can creditworthiness be defined in a Kenyan and largely African perspective?

“Access to finance remains a huge problem for East Africa, mostly because a majority of the population is unbanked. Having been born and raised in Kenya and knowing what artificial intelligence can do, I believe that I'm in a unique, privileged position that will allow me to fully research and understand this problem and possible solutions.”