|Who Needs Credit?
Poverty and Finance in Bangladesh
edited by Geoffrey D Wood and Iffath A Sharif
ISBN 984 05 1381 8 1997 396pp 215x136mm HB Tk.575.00 US$30.00
The book critically examines micro-credit provision in Bangladesh. It critiques the emergence of a panacea formula for credit provision to the poor through the Grameen Bank model, which offer a ‘cheaper’ attractive option for poverty alleviation avoiding the ‘overhead’ costs of a broader social development agenda-mobilisation, group formation, support for struggles and campaigns, accessing key resources and opportunities in the market, skills training, and so on. This concern is particularly timely with the prominence of the Grameen Bank model as an expansion of micro credit to the poor worldwide. The book therefore presents a critical analysis of opportunities and problems faced by various models of financing the poor through NGOs and grassroots experimentation. The major implementing organisations in Bangladesh have cooperated in this volume in offering an autocritique of present limitations and problems. Discussions in the book focus upon the problems of financing the poorest classes in the society, asking whether the poorest are actually reached by existing provisions of micro-credit, whether wider financial services are required by the poor; whether credit or financial services can alone address problems of poverty; or whether they always have to be accompanied by broader intervention programmes of social development and mobilisation. In this latter sense, the book focuses upon the issue of borrower sustainability, while pointing out the essential linkage between borrower and lender sustainability-hence the title Who Needs Credit?
Geoffrey D Wood is Reader in Development Studies and Director, Centre for Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Bath. He has worked in the Indian sub-continent for the last 25 years. In addition to primary research, he has advised many programmes for donors (especially SIDA, but more recently the UK-ODA) as well as the large NGOs and the Government of Bangladesh. He is currently working on urban poor livelihood strategies in Dhaka slums. He is also working on livelihoods and environmental issues in Bangladesh (flooding and water management); has published 6 books (some co-authored) and numerous articles on agrarian change and rural development in the Indian sub-continent.
Iffath A Sharif was a Research Associate, working in the Policy Research Department of the Institute for Development Policy Analysis and Advocacy, Proshika. She has also served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme in Dhaka, working primarily on the UNDP strategy in the area of micro credit. She is currently working on financial sector reform issues and their relevance to the sustainability of lending systems for the poor in a Masters programme at Princeton University, USA.