Street market in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

by Philip Mader



The vibrant markets of developing countries fascinate donors, and loans for microenterprises are often promoted as a success formula for development. Yet during my research a wave of suicides by over-indebted borrowers swept south India, triggering a microfinance crisis. The bustle of these street markets may be a colourful spectacle, but for the people involved it’s an everyday struggle to survive on low returns, with a high risk of failure. The Police (pictured) don’t always help.

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