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The Imposition of a Global Development Architecture: The Example of Microcredit

Heloise Weber

CSGR Working Paper No. 77/01

July 2001




Poverty reduction is now a prime concern of global policy makers. Renewed global efforts for poverty reduction are presented as the Post-Washington Consensus. In this context, I identify an emerging Global Development Architecture that entails new patterns of inter-linkages between the WTO, IMF, World Bank, Regional Development Banks and Bilateral and Multilateral Development Agencies. Using the example of microcredit and poverty reduction I address the political economic implications of the emerging Global Development Architecture. I argue that microcredit (i) facilitates financial sector liberalisation and the global trade in financial services; (ii) functions as a political safety-net, containing or dampening resistance at the community level to liberalisation policies and economic austerity measures. Through a critical review of the Global Development Architecture the article reveals how global and local political economies are being linked via the poverty reduction agenda. Normative discourses underpinning the Post-Washington Consensus are argued to be instrumental to efforts to consolidate constitutionally what continues to be the Washington Consensus.

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