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Contesting digital finance for the poor

Peterson K Ozili

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: This article critically examines digital finance as a pro-poor private sector intervention for international development. It examines the turn from ‘microfinance for the poor’ to ‘digital finance for the poor’. It then considers three key issues, and contest the argument that digital finance is pro-poor. Notably, proponents argue that digital finance can improve development outcomes, but this is based on weak economic logic; secondly, proponents argue that digital finance for the poor is good business - this claim is very weak because evidence suggest that digital finance is good business only with government support. The article further argues that digital finance for the poor will expose the poorest to multiple risks in the financial sector. Therefore, digital finance for the poor should be a contested enterprise.

Keywords: digital finance; microfinance; financial inclusion; financial development; financial innovation; poor people; financial technology; blockchain; fintech; regtech; sandbox; access to finance; financial services (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O1 O12 O3 R2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fdg, nep-fle, nep-mfd and nep-pay
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