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Migration, Finance, and Development Research Group

Director: Dr. Darryl McLeod

Immigration and financial inclusion (remittances) are among the most powerful forces facilitating economic mobility and there by reducing poverty. Recent Hispanic immigrants to New York for example often skip ahead 400 years in a single journey from rural Mexico or Central America (or from a Caribbean Island).  Education is the key to economic mobility, for those left behind in the host country and for those who want their children to get ahead in the United States.  Because remittances finance education and Diaspora enterprises in both regions, immigration is a major force for mobility and financial inclusion as well.

 

Dr. Susan Kibe, Research Associate: [CV, PDF]

Dr. Kibe’s research areas include migration, financial inclusion and poverty reduction in Kenya and Africa generally and Asia.  She recently completed her dissertation under the direction of Professor Subha Mani on women’s intra-household bargaining power using a survey of over 30,000 eligible women in India. Key predicted variables include women’s self-reported responses on decisions concerning children, financial inclusion and health-mobility. Policies targeted at achieving more equitable bargaining and shared resources within households and between genders have been elusive largely because measuring bargaining power has not been easy.

 

Dr. Kibe won the Joe C. Distinguished Graduate Teaching award in 2015/16.  Previously she served as Santander graduate fellow, worked on a pre-project evaluation study of the status of women who chose to participate in a loan guarantee program administered by the Slum Dwellers Federation of Kenya and informal women savings groups registered as Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs). As illustrated by this Santander project blog entry, her work involved organizing and obtaining first-hand information from focus group discussions with women of the Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT) savings groups - a microfinance institution funded by IFAD, the Belgian Survival Fund, UNDP and the Ford Foundation. 

 

Interestingly this savings group used MPESA, the mobile money service a December 2016 Science article claims reduced poverty by a full two percentage points in Kenya since 2008, mainly among women. Interviews done with KWFT savers and other microfinance institution representatives confirmed the challenge faced by these institutions in translating low-cost finance into improved business opportunities for their participants. 


In 2011, with the support of the Philadelphia Serengeti Alliance NGO, Susan worked in a rural Tanzanian village on a variety of issues which involved collecting information on viable economically sustainable development projects from community residents, finance and training support options from local banks and government officials. In part because women and girls spend so much time securing water, the main recommendation of the study was that the Alliance focus its efforts on making it easier to secure clean water. The Philadelphian donors took up the recommendation and based the ongoing water development projects on findings of the report presented to them in September 2011.