Is Fin-Tech the New Panacea for Poverty Alleviation and Local Development? Contesting Suri and Jack’s M-Pesa Findings Published in Science

Forthcoming, Review of African Political Economy, DOI/10.1080/03056244.2019.1614552

Posted: 24 Oct 2019

See all articles by Milford Bateman

Milford Bateman

Juraj Dobrila University of Pula (UNIPU); St Marys University, Halifax

Maren Duvendack

University of East Anglia (UEA)

nicholas loubere

Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University

Date Written: June 4, 2019

Abstract

Financial technology, or simply ‘fin-tech’, is increasingly seen as one of the key tools to facilitate poverty reduction and local economic development. One article in particular by Tavneet Suri and William Jack published in the leading publication Science has played a hugely influential role in promoting the fin-tech model in the global South using the example of Kenya’s iconic M-Pesa money transfer platform. The authors’ central claim is that M-Pesa has been instrumental in facilitating a major episode of poverty reduction. Our analysis shows that their analysis and claims are extremely problematic.

Keywords: microcredit, fintech, poverty, social enterprise, Tavneet Suri, William Jack

JEL Classification: G23, O16, O35, O55

Suggested Citation

Bateman, Milford and Duvendack, Maren and loubere, nicholas, Is Fin-Tech the New Panacea for Poverty Alleviation and Local Development? Contesting Suri and Jack’s M-Pesa Findings Published in Science (June 4, 2019). Forthcoming, Review of African Political Economy, DOI/10.1080/03056244.2019.1614552. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466656

Milford Bateman (Contact Author)

Juraj Dobrila University of Pula (UNIPU) ( email )

Zagrebačka 30
Pula, 52100
Croatia

St Marys University, Halifax ( email )

Halifax, nova scotia
Canada

Maren Duvendack

University of East Anglia (UEA) ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

Nicholas Loubere

Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University ( email )

Sweden
+46-46-222 00 00 (Phone)

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