Competing visions of financial inclusion in Kenya:The rift revealed by mobile money transfer

Susan Johnson

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

Financial inclusion policy has been ignited globally by the rise of money transfer services overmobile telecommunications platforms. Explanations for the success of the leading example inKenya have focussed on conditions of supply side development and the demand for domesticurban to rural remittances. This paper investigates this phenomenon by examining the financialpractices of low income people and in particular the social relational dimensions of debt thatunderlie these mobile money transactions. By contrasting the social relations involved in mobilemoney to those of informal groups and banks which are the next most used services, thisevidence highlights a ‘fiduciary culture’ in which relationships of equality and ‘negotiability’dominate and which are seamlessly facilitated by mobile money in contrast to relations withbanks which tend towards relations of hierarchy. I argue that this reveals a competing emicvision that questions policy makers expectations that mobile money transfer will itselfseamlessly facilitate engagement with the formal sector for savings and credit.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCentre for Development Studies, University of Bath
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Publication series

NameBath Papers in International Development and Wellbeing
No.30
ISSN (Electronic)2040-3151

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