Beginning in the 1970s as a small US government-led experiment in Latin America, by the 1990s the microfinance model was very widely seen as the most powerful way of addressing poverty, deprivation and inequality in the global south. The US trained Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus felt able to claim that microfinance would “eradicate poverty in a generation”.

31 January 2018 - 3:30pm
Speaker(s): Milford Bateman

Beginning in the 1970s as a small US government-led experiment in Latin America, by the 1990s the microfinance model was very widely seen as the most powerful way of addressing poverty, deprivation and inequality in the global south. The US trained Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus felt able to claim that microfinance would “eradicate poverty in a generation”. However, beginning in early 2007 the microfinance model began to very rapidly fall from grace and it only managed to evade a complete collapse by being given sanctuary within another much wider intervention - ‘financial inclusion’. This talk will analyse why, how and on whose behalf microfinance arose, what it has actually accomplished, how it has ultimately undermined and destroyed poor communities in the global south, why so many impact evaluations were (often deliberately) dead wrong about this, and why there is so much determination to keep the microfinance model alive.

Milford Bateman is a freelance consultant on local economic development, a Visiting Professor of Economics at Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, Croatia, and an Adjunct Professor of Development Studies at St Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. 

Location:
EFRY 1.01
University of East Anglia
NR4 7TJ Norwich
United Kingdom
Partner(s): University of East Anglia
Public - open to all

Key contact

Lecturer in Development Economics
+44 (0)1603 593685