Microfinance and then financial inclusion have become buzzwords in international development. Such initiatives have mobilised and generated  large amounts of development funding, despite substantial amount of critique. Such critiques call for a more impartial assessment of the effectiveness of financial inclusion on the grounds that funds for microfinance, they argue, displaced development spendings on healthcare, education or infrastructure. In addition, the focus on expansion of financial markets to ‘bank’ and financially ‘include’ the poor may divert attention from more comprehensive and effective poverty reduction strategies. Critiques of this ‘way of doing development’ are often sidelined and labelled as ‘extreme’, ‘sloppy’ or ideology-driven rather than evidence-based. We believe that there is a need for contemporary development scholars from all disciplines to engage in those debates. This half-day workshop would bring in such scholars to discuss what we have learned from a decade of research on the microfinance, and how financial inclusion and the emergence of fintech may offer new opportunities - as well as risks - in for inclusive global development. 


12.00 – 14.00 Welcome Keynote: SLB/105

Piran White, Co-Director of IGDC

Sally Brooks, Department of Politics

14.00 – 15.30 Parallel Sessions

These 3 parallel sessions will be for early career researcher presentations. The parallel sessions will be chaired by Roundtable presenters, who will be tasked with bringing the discussion emerging from the breakout sessions into the Roundtable discussion. The themes of the parallel sessions are: 1) Unpacking financial inclusion as a development tool, 2) Political Economy and Macroeconomic Implications of Financial Inclusion, and 3) Alternatives to Financial Inclusion. See full CfP here.

  • Political Economy and Macroeconomic Implications of Financial Inclusion

Room: D/L/003

Sudeep Jain, University of the West of England

Florence Dafe, London School of Economics and Political Science

Olivier Damala, University of Yaounde II

Hanna K. Szymborska, Open University

  • Scrutinising financial inclusion

Room: D/L/006

Gianluca Iazzolino, London School of Economics and Political Science

Thereza Balliester Reis, University of Leeds

Syahirah Abdul Rahman, Alliance Manchester Business School

Navjot Snagwan (Erasmus University of Rotterdam)

  • Financialisation of development

Room: D/L/049

Anne Loscher, University of Seigen

Juvaria Jafri, City, University of London

Vincent Guermond, Queen Mary University of London

Zama Ndlovu, University of Cape Town.

16.00hs – 18.00hs Roundtable discussion

The discussions will be guided by the following questions:

  • The political economy of micro-finance. How was is sustained for so long, despite its failures?

  • What have we learned from failures of microfinance? How is financial inclusion different?

  • How can we build a sustainable global system for development finance?

  • What are the opportunities offered by fintech? What are the risks?

  • What is global about microfinance?

  • What are the alternatives to microfinance?

  • To what extent can financial inclusion serve inclusive development?

Room: D/N/056

Milford Bateman, Juraj Dobrila University of Pula

Lena Rethel, University of Warwick

Richard Kozul-Wright, UNCTAD

Daniel Munevar, UNCTAD

Chair: Karen Mumford, Department of Economics, University of York