Concepts, Research, Policy
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Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 89: Gender and Poverty in Egypt: Do Credit Projects Empower the Marginalised and the Destitute?
Iman Bibars Introduction Unlike the 1980s when poverty considerations were neglected in favour of structural adjustment priorities, the reduction of poverty has reappeared as an overriding development goal. The World Bank and International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as bilateral donors, have recurrently confirmed their commitment to poverty alleviation. There has also been an international movement in place since the microcredit summit of 1997 to encourage governments, donors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide 100 million poor people with credit. Since this date the government, the private sector and banks in Egypt decided that this is also a very viable programme. Such global and local commitment and enthusiasm to credit as the new and most appropriate mechanism for poverty reduction has also been influenced by the international success of credit programmes such as the cases of the Grameen Bank and Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) (see also Roy, Chapter 84, this volume). It is argued that expanding credit programmes to the poor will improve their economic situation and prospects (Greeley, 1996: 90). Credit to marginalised groups and especially women is promoted as the most appropriate strategy to improve their bargaining powers within their households and communities. In brief, microcredit for women and the destitute is promoted not only as a poverty alleviation strategy but also as a strategy for community and especially women’s empowerment (RESULTS, 1996). However research carried out in different parts of the world and especially in developing countries has recognised that not all the poor are reached...
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