On the 16th March 2021, Vincent Guermond (Royal Holloway) presented to the FinGeo Virtual Seminar Series. His talk was entitled : “Remittances and Financial Inclusion: Contested Geographies of Marketisation in Senegal and Ghana”. The session was chaired by David Bassens (VUB).
Vincent Guermond is a Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is involved in a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) study in Cambodia and India (Tamil Nadu) which is taking a gendered lens to explore the relationship between climate resilience, credit-taking, and nutrition. Prior to joining Royal Holloway, Vincent completed his PhD at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). His PhD thesis explores a global migration-development agenda that aims to leverage remittances for development by incorporating remittance flows and households into global financial circuits. Based upon ten months of fieldwork in Senegal and Ghana, his research foregrounds a ‘hybrid’ understanding of uneven and contested geographies of financial incorporation in the global South that requires an integrative approach across economic, financial and development geography.
Title: Remittances and financial inclusion: contested geographies of Marketisation in Senegal and Ghana
Abstract: Arising from the consensus that remittances are now one of the most important sources to finance development, the last fifteen years have witnessed the emergence of a Global Remittance Agenda (GRA) that encourages the incorporation of remittances as well as their senders and recipients into global finance. Critical analyses of the GRA have emerged over the past few years calling into question the market-based approach to the project and its prioritising of the political and financial concerns of a broad coalition of global and national actors over the needs of migrant men and women and the people they send remittances to. While being sympathetic to these political economy takes on the ‘financialisation of remittances’, I question the extent to which remittances, as well as remittance senders and recipients, can be qualified as financialised yet. More specifically, I argue that little is said in the existing literature about the intricate and grounded operations that are required for such projects to materialise, leaving finance and the concrete formation of (remittance) markets black-boxed. Drawing upon research with institutional and private sector actors involved in the remittance, finance and FinTech industry as well as with remittance recipients in Senegal and Ghana, I make two key arguments. First, I put a light on the technical, legal, financial and behavioural engineering that is necessary for remittance markets to realise and show that these market-making processes are contingent, fragile, contested and always in the making. Second, I show how attempts at marketising remittances lead to processes of domestication, subversion and dissent from a various set of actors, including remittance recipients.
For more in the Fin Geo Virtual Semainr Series please go to: http://www.fingeo.net/coming-up-in-2021-fingeo-virtual-seminar-series/