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Conference Scope

Microfinance and Transition: Exploring Pathways for Economic, Social, and Environmental Transformations

In recent years, the concept of microfinance has been evoked in relation to several challenges worldwide:

  • How to include the marginalized layers of the population and achieve a fearer and equitable society. Financial inclusion is considered one important step in implementing social inclusion.
  • How to address the actions of customers of financial institutions, namely the smaller ones, towards economic choices that are aligned with environmentally compliant targets. Targeted financing bound to the adoption of some specific green practices (not only in farming) are often taken as examples of a virtuous process towards a greener world.
  • How to make the society more technologically advanced with the aim of having more efficient and effective services, in the different fields, including the financial transactions. As a matter of fact, in several countries of the Global South, formal financial inclusion occurs almost exclusively through digital channels, while the physical network expansion that characterized the Old World in the 20th century has been skipped.
  • How to offer the institutional investors in the world an attractive and relatively safe way of investing their assets into socially-oriented asset classes. The development of Microfinance investment funds and vehicles, and of the related rating agencies, testifies this trend. More generally, banks and other investment companies often aim at microfinance as a suitable sector channel to achieve the ESG targets
  • Finally, the main target that has inspired a large portion of the microfinance supporters, i.e., how to reduce or even eliminate poverty in the world. Microfinance is considered one important element in this regard.

The idea that “microfinance fits all” seems to appear from this (incomplete) list. As a matter of fact, several virtuous examples of the way actions have been successfully addressed to achieve the targets mentioned above are undeniable. However, the lead research question of the conference will be: is microfinance able to satisfy all the expectations and roles attributed to it? What are the main challenges and the key factors of success?

The primary objective of this conference would then be to delve into the role of microfinance in driving comprehensive transitions across economic, social, and environmental dimensions. Through rigorous research presentations and insightful discussions, we aim to:

  1. Investigate the impact of microfinance on economic transformation, exploring its contribution to poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship, and inclusive growth.
  2. Examine the social implications of microfinance, including its role in promoting financial inclusion, social empowerment, and reducing inequality within communities.
  3. Explore the potential of microfinance in fostering environmental sustainability, analyzing its support for green initiatives, climate resilience, and sustainable livelihood practices.

By focusing on these objectives, we strive to deepen our understanding of microfinance’s potential to drive transformative change and create a platform for knowledge exchange among researchers, scholars, and experts. Together, let us uncover innovative strategies, evidence-based insights, and actionable recommendations to further advance the field of microfinance and transition.