Global Platform of International Public Policies

Global mobility of microfinance policies

Throughout the 1970s in South Asia and Latin America, there was a surge of experiences of offering small loans through innovative practices. Following these successes, the dissemination of microfinance institutions is seen all over the globe. Brazil stands out for being a pioneer in this field, having developed a microcredit program even before Grameen Bank, from Bangladesh, the main institution responsible for the spread of microfinance worldwide. This paper aims to understand the social practices, power relations and institutional infrastructure surrounding microfinance, taking the Global South as a starting point and focusing on Brazil. In so doing, it looks at the policy mobility of microfinance, shining light on how policy diffusion and transfer are entangled in the practices and processes of different institutions, actors and networks. It identifies two approaches within the formulation and practice of microfinance historically. Four illustrative cases are discussed in order to present the mobility of microfinance policies in Brazil drawing from the international scenario. The paper’s point of departure for the analysis of the mobility of microfinance is that policy trajectories are fraught with ambivalence and contradiction. They are part of a complex universe permeated by hybridism over time and space.


Prof. Osmany Porto

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