Published September 20, 2021
Kudos to Associate Professor Nadine Shaanta Murshid and colleagues on the publication of their article, "A network understanding of FinTech (in)capabilities in the global South" in Applied Geography.
Boamah, E. F., Murshid, N. S., & Mozumder, M. G. N. (2021). A network understanding of FinTech (in)capabilities in the global South. Applied Geography, 135.
This article probes how uneven access to digital financial technologies maps onto and reinforces existing inequalities in the global South. Grounded in Sen's capability approach, it deploys a network science approach to examine emergent factors reinforcing techno-financial inequality or the uneven access to FinTech instruments, such as mobile money (MM) or m-banking services. Focusing on a case study in Dhaka, Bangladesh, our findings suggest that unequal access to MM services is driven by a lack of capability inputs (e.g., low income and savings) needed to access certain goods (e.g., mobile phones). This lack affects and is affected by personal conversion factors (e.g., functional and financial illiteracies), environmental conversion factors within the MM ecosystem (e.g., unreliable MM operators), and socio-cultural practices (e.g., gender norms) within which MM services are embedded. We argue that these factors must be understood and analyzed as a network of converging forces that constrain digital financial capabilities and wellbeing within the peripheries of the global South. This network understanding highlights the need to avoid one-size-fits-all policy interventions, including moving beyond techno-centric paradigms that privilege the proffering of technological fixes: dumping more FinTech instruments into global South markets. Rather, FinTech policy models must recognize and carefully address the intersection of micro and macro factors inhibiting FinTech access in the global South.