Microfinance Services, Poverty and Artisanal Mineworkers in Africa: In Search of Measures for Empowering Vulnerable Groups

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Abstract

This article combines a review of the importance of artisanal mining to the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable rural populations in Africa with critical reflections on the scope for supporting such livelihoods through microfinance services. Drawing on interviews with mining communities, lending institutions and policymakers, the study examines constraints in accessing formal and informal financial services and argues for a more flexible, context-specific and goal-oriented institutional approach to supporting mineworkers. It gives particular attention to the potential roles of group lending and saving schemes adapted from the Grameen Bank model, public subsidies for credit and equipment hire purchase loans as components of an integrated programme of support and technical training. The cases examined illustrate why governments, international donors, private sector institutions and researchers should expand the discussion of microfinance objectives and services beyond conventional commercial approaches in order to explicitly address development concerns related to social marginalisation and capacity-strengthening among vulnerable groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-517
JournalJournal of International Development
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • microfinance
  • microcredit
  • artisanal and small scale mining
  • livelihoods
  • marginalization
  • pverty
  • Africa

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