Micro-credit as a community development strategy: a South African case study

13 January 2014

This article critically examines the development strategy utilized in a men’s micro-credit programme that aims to tackle the vicious cycle of poverty and its impacts. The findings highlight the significance of social capital in the mobilization of skills, knowledge, and resources in one local community in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Evidence from the study suggests that micro-credit for microenterprise development contributes to social cohesion and greater co-operation in the community. However, the results also point to the gendered nature of the project as a paradox that requires critical analysis. It is concluded that while the micro-credit programme has succeeded in social development, achievements remain modest in terms of economic and women empowerment. Ultimately, the microcredit project presents a dilemma that development practitioners would constantly need to engage with.