What role can microfinance play in Europe in the era of austerity?
Université de Bordeaux, 35 place Pey Berland 33 000 Bordeaux
28th and 29th October, 2015
The Comptrasec (CNRS - Université de Bordeaux) in conjunction with the UCD Geary Institute (Dublin) and the financial support of the Aquitaine Region aims to examine the potential of microfinance in Europe to counter the dual challenges of austerity and financial crisis.
Recent reports by the OECD, the European Commission, various think tanks and research centres concluded that low-income households have been the worst affected by the global financial crisis and the implementation of fiscal consolidation policies by governments across Europe. Notwithstanding the differences between countries, on average, levels of inequality and poverty are increasing and European low-income households are under serious financial stress.
As a result of severe cuts in public services provision and less generous and less accessible welfare regimes, households are often left with little solution to their financial problems. Some will have no other choice than to go into arrears with utility providers or their landlord, while others will borrow from high-cost lenders, legal or illegal. Trapped between inappropriate market solutions and the lack of a public response, these households might benefit from an alternative source of credit that would meet their needs.
Given this context, the ability of microfinance to provide such an alternative should be examined in detail.
Microfinance is currently under intense scrutiny in developing countries with its potential to tackle poverty being questioned. However, the roles and practice of microfinance in developing countries and in developed countries have little in common. The key elements are radically different, especially with regard to the profile and number of potential borrowers; the ability to develop a profitable business model and the institutional settings.
We would like this conference to be open to all stakeholders working within the microfinance sector: microfinance providers, policy makers and researchers. Our objectives through this conference are to develop our understanding and to support the emergence of new ideasand practical responses to how microfinance can contribute to easing the financial burdens on low-income households.
Admission is free but places are limited so early registration (compulsory) is recommended