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Focus Asia 2017

26 october

Financial Inclusion in Asia: Discourse and Discontent


Since its initiation in the 1970s, the modern microfinance movement quickly became the most popular and best-funded development intervention worldwide, promising to reduce poverty and underdevelopment on a scale unprecedented in human history. However, since the mid-2000s, microfinance’s lustre has been tarnished due to a number of high-profile crises, and mounting evidence that it does not actually reduce poverty, facilitate development or promote empowerment. In this context, proponents of microfinance have sought to downplay the initial claims of miraculous poverty reduction, and redirect the movement towards the goal of promoting ‘financial inclusion’ as a beneficial end in and of itself. This symposium seeks to critically interrogate the concept of ‘financial inclusion’ as a new metric of success for the global microfinance movement, with a particular focus on what this inclusion means for people, economies and processes of (under)development at the local level.


Please register here for participation



10:00 Registration

10:15 Introduction (Nicholas Loubere)

10:30 Panel 1: Emerging Forms of Digital Inclusion
(Chair: Montserrat Lopez Jerez)

  • Elisa Oreglia - Intermediation, Cash Economies, and Technological Change in Myanmar and India
  • Nicholas Loubere - China's Internet Finance Boom and Tyrannies of Inclusion

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Panel 2: Experimenting with Inclusion
(Chair: Montserrat Lopez Jerez)

  • Milford Bateman - Cambodia's Ill-Fated Experiment with Microcredit: Destroying an Economy and Society from the Bottom Up
  • Philip Mader - Financial Inclusion and the State in India: From Colonial Credit to Digital Demonetisation

14:30 Final remarks and closing


Illustration by Krish Raghav
Illustration by Krish Raghav
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When and Where

When: 26 October, 10:00 - 15:00

Where: Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Room 005, Sölvegatan 18B, Lund

Please register here for participation

download programme (pdf)

image of FA 2017 poster

Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies
Lund University
Sölvegatan 18 B, 223 62 Lund

Phone: +46 46 222 38 61
E-mail: info [at] ace [dot] lu [dot] se