Farah Qureshi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9964

Approve Date

October 29, 2019

Project Title

Qureshi, Farah (California, Irvine, U. of) "Financial Inclusion, Political Inclusion, and Social Belonging in Kenya"

FARAH QURESHI, then a graduate student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in October 2019 to aid research on ‘Financial Inclusion, Political Inclusion, and Social Belonging in Kenya,’ supervised by Dr. William Maurer. Digital financial systems are often positioned by their advocates as imperative to everyday life in Kenya, but inclusion practices embedded in national improvement programs seem to fracture local identities, intentionally and unintentionally creating or exacerbating exclusions even within racial and ethnic groups by defining the conditions of inclusion. This project examined the social consequences of techno-optimistic adoptions of financial inclusion and political inclusion of diverse peoples in Kenya including the country’s South Asian community. Financial and political inclusion aim to ‘improve’ the international image of the nation through widespread access to formal financial services as part of a National Development Plan. This ambition aims to unite people under financial inclusion and fintech developments. Findings, however, show that entrepreneurs and users of mobile finance solutions feel consistently unsure of the financial inclusion agenda’s expectations, consequently leading many to be financially excluded through various financial technology platforms. This study shows how underlying social segmentations’ which can be traced through political history and ethnic economic enclaves’are reproduced or exacerbated by the forced adoption of these systems.