A critical evaluation of international development and poverty: the case of microfinance and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in Zambia

Siwale, Juliana (2013) A critical evaluation of international development and poverty: the case of microfinance and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in Zambia. In: The 8th International Conference in Critical Management Studies, 10-12 July 2013, Manchester University,UK.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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Abstract

International development aid has been under increasing pressure and scrutiny for various reasons. Many scholars and policy makers have called into question its effectiveness to increase economic growth, alleviate poverty, or indeed promote social development in recipient countries (Crewe and Harrison, 1998; Easterly, 2002; Tsikata, 2008; Tuozzo (2009; Vetterlein, 2012; World Bank, 1998; Yusuf, 2008). Within an array of development aid, microfinance has risen to become one of the ‘most important policy and programme interventions in the international development community’ (Bateman, 2010: 1). The case in many parts of the developing world is that of microfinance being hyped and regarded as a best development strategy not only to help reduce poverty but also to empower women (Dichter, 2007; Geleta, 2013; Ito, 2003; Mayoux, 2001; Sharma and Nagarajan, 2011). Although microfinance is talked about so much, it hardly has one agreed meaning. However, it is believed in development literature that, it is aimed at helping the ‘active poor’ bring about own economic and social development-i.e ‘bottom-up’ and locally owned. It is promoted as a market based approach of giving the poor a ‘hand up’ and not a ‘hand-out’. It is also thought to make a significant contribution towards poverty reduction by enabling women become economically active through their participation in managing borrower groups and through exchange of information with each other (Dowla, 2006; Siwale and Ritchie, 2012). That microfinance gets around many of the political barriers that plagued government subsidised credit scheme and other forms of neo-liberal interventions into poverty reduction warrants critical attention. This paper examines the dominant economic discourse at different stages of global capitalism regarding poverty and ‘helping the poor help themselves’ and the narratives behind ‘making markets work for the poor’ as articulated by the World Bank and other international institutions like the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Department for International development (DFID). It uses microfinance, viewed as an effective bottom-up development strategy to highlight the language of intervention and argue that much of international development has failed the poor, especially in Africa .

Additional Information:The 8th International Conference in Critical Management Studies. Extending the limits of neo-liberal capitalism
Keywords:International development, Poverty, Microfinance, Sub-saharan Africa, Neo-liberal paradigm
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
L Social studies > L171 Capitalism
N Business and Administrative studies > N390 Finance not elsewhere classified
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:11937
Deposited On:19 Sep 2013 08:18

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