Microfinance: high hopes and grim realities

Thirty years after its emergence, microfinance still lays claim to being one of the most important poverty reduction and sustainable ‘bottom-up’ local economic development policies of all. Milford Bateman explodes this myth. He shows that to the contrary, microfinance has largely undermined sustainable local economic and social development, and has essentially been valued and promoted because of its supreme ideological and political usefulness in the era of neoliberalism. Until joining the Overseas Development Institute as a senior research fellow in the summer of 2010, Milford was for many years a freelance consultant on local economic development. His book ‘Why doesn’t Microfinance work? The destructive rise of local Neoliberalism’ was published this year by Zed Books.