15 years after the publication of C. Monga's L'Argent des Autres, we revisit the evolving configuration of financial services in the subcontinent. The changes and expansion of the intervening period seems undeniable but events such as Nigeria's banking crisis in 2008 speak of important continuities
The collapse of Cameroon's banking sector in the late 1980s was far from an exception in the broader regional context. Drawing on first-hand experience of what were often extremely opaque developments, in L'Argent des Autres Celestin Monga analysed how this collapse came about and what its implications were for the country's enterprises. Fifteen years after the publication of Monga's landmark study, with exceptions such as Nigeria in 2008, most banking systems in the subcontinent seem to have navigated rather well the troubled waters of global recession The current crisis offers a good opportunity for an enquiry on what shape the reconstitution of sub-Saharan Africa's formal and informal financial networks has taken in the intervening period. What are the lines of continuity and what are the points of rupture? To what extent have banks tried to draw on long-established and context-specific repertoires of financial option? What place have different financial institutions carved out for themselves in an increasingly complex financial landscape? How have banks responded to the microfinance boom in Africa? What role is technology playing in the extension of financial services? What is the topography of these uneven processes of financialisation? To whom are banks and microfinance establishments accountable and what are the forms of such accountability? These are some of the questions we will be grappling with. Dr. Monga has kindly agreed to contribute the closing words to our discussion.