Inclusive or Exclusive Global Development?

Scrutinizing Financial Inclusion

Nov 21, 2018 | 11:30 – 17:00 Download .ics

York, United Kingdom | University of York


Apply to participate. Deadline: October 1

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. 

Confirmed Speakers: Milford Bateman, Richard Kozul-Wright (UNCTAD), Stephanie Blankenburg (UNCTAD), Kate Pickett (University of York), Lena Rethel (University of Warwick)

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?

In the wake of the release of the book The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit: Development, Debt and Disillusion (edited by Milford Bateman, Richard Kozul-Wright, Stephanie Blankenburg), we will scrutinize these questions through both in depth parallel sessions and a roundtable with a variety of perspectives on the issue. The goal is to bring scholars together from different disciplines and career stages to inform each others thinking.

Breakout 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.

Roundtable: The Roundtable aims to bring people from different perspectives together. Guiding questions for the Roundtable will be: What is [truly] inclusive finance for development? How does fintech offer opportunities for development? How does financialization offer opportunities and challenges related to development? How can global development institutions foster inclusive finance for development? What is the appropriate role for academics in scrutinizing and promoting inclusive development finance? Kate Pickett (University of York) will chair the discussion.

For questions please e-mail [email protected].

Event location

Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre, University of York, United Kingdom