Supported with a grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Development Research Lab (DRL) will focus on the use of technology to improve governance and the implementation, measurement, and evaluation of public policies and development processes. The DRL will connect computer scientists with governance experts in order to imagine and implement technology-driven improvement of service delivery, particularly in rural areas. A central aspect of the DRL is the collaboration with EtriLabs and KhulaTech, which focus on electronic governance (E-gov) and financial technology (Fintech) initiatives. In conjunction with its partners, the DRL will also offer trainings (e.g. in Finance and Management) and certificates in software and computer programming.
The DRL also houses the Transportation Research Institute (TRI). The TRI is being created in the aim of fostering development in Benin and West Africa. TRI research will focus on the effects of transportation infrastructure development on poverty alleviation and agricultural export. TRI research aims to help African policymakers design stronger or more adequate transportation networks, manage the financing and maintenance of road systems, and maximize the impact of these roads via complementary policies, especially in the agricultural sector.