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Assessing Microfinance: The Bosnia and Herzegovina Case

Keywords: micro finance , post-conflict , poverty alleviation , economic development , Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Abstract:

Microfinance is often hailed both as a tool for fighting poverty and as atool for post-conflict reconciliation. This paper explores the use of microfinancein post-civil war Bosnia and Herzegovina, assessing its resultsin terms of both goals. As it combined high unemployment witha highly educated population in an institutionally open context, Bosniaand Herzegovina provides a crucial test of the effect of microfinance. Ifunambiguous signs of success cannot be found in a case with such favorableconditions, this would raise serious questions about the potentialbenefits of microfinance. The paper draws together evidence froma series of independent reviews of microfinance in Bosnia and Herzegovina,to assess its impact in terms of economic performance, theeconomic system, social welfare and post-conflict integration. Basedon this case study, microfinance appears a better tool for dealing withpoverty than with social integration or institution building.

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