SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Borrowing across Borders: Migration, Credit and Migra-loans in Rural Cambodia

Maryann Bylander (SOAS)

Date: 23 January 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 23 January 2013Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Seminar


One of the most longstanding characteristics of international migration is its association with debt. Migrants often borrow to finance their migrations, and there is strong evidence suggesting that debt can be a primary cause of international movements. More recently there has been a growing body of evidence highlighting these patterns among borrowers of microcredit; presenting a new twist on an old theme. Where this is indeed occurring, it raises critical questions for scholars in the fields of migration, microfinance, and rural development. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Northwest Cambodia, this study explores how newly available microcredit is used in tandem with international migration as a household livelihood strategy. Using microcredit to complement migration allows households to immediately meet consumption goals, utilize the newly available credit being actively promoted by microfinance institutions, and retreat from insecure and less profitable local livelihood strategies. These strategies problematize well-accepted theories of the fundamental causes of migration and expectations about the developmental potential of microfinance, and highlight the importance of local context in framing rural livelihoodchoices.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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