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A Critical History of Poverty Finance: Seminar for Staff, Students and Alumni

Finance, mobile and digital technologies - or 'fintech' - are being heralded in the world of development by the likes of the IMF and World Bank as a silver bullet in the fight against poverty. But should we believe the hype?

In this seminar, Dr Nick Bernards (Global Sustainable Development, School for Cross-Faculty Studies)Link opens in a new window will introduce his new book, A Critical History of Poverty Finance. The book demonstrates how newfangled 'digital financial inclusion' efforts suffer from the same essential flaws as earlier iterations of neoliberal 'financial inclusion'. Relying on artificially created markets that simply aren't there among the world's most disadvantaged economic actors, they also reinforce existing patterns of inequality and uneven development, many of which date back to the colonial era.

Bernards offers an astute analysis of the current fintech fad, contextualised through a detailed colonial history of development finance, that ultimately reveals the neoliberal vision of poverty alleviation for the pipe dream it is.

Find out more about the seminar and REGISTER here: SCFS Research Seminar: A critical history of poverty finance (

The event takes place on Wednesday 11 January 2023 starting at 12 noon in R1.15 and online via Microsoft TEAMS.