Exploring accountability and enterprises at the Bottom of the pyramid: Case study for mobile microfinance in Egypt

M Mohamad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Bottom of the Pyramid Enterprises (BoPEs) now rank high on the participatory development agenda. In this type of social enterprise, inherent and ongoing conflicts between the demands of economic and social profit objectives are facts of life. Without good corporate governance these organizations may fail to achieve the desired development outcomes. This agenda particularly makes the BoPEs accountability and enterprise an issue, due to a single problematization. This problematization assumes judicious accountability to be the core of good governance, with accounting at its hub. It also assumes that BoPEs are the very seedbed of any developing economy, irrespective of what form they take, or what enterprise they display. By combining these assumptions, the relationship between accountability and enterprise is deproblematized, so that de-regulation and decoupled accountability will further liberate BoP enterprise. A better grasp of the greater flexibility and heterogeneity of BoPEs would make the boundaries of their accountability and enterprise clearer, and leave their respective margins more suitably exposed. As an essential instrument, accounting and reporting systems might then better inform the debate by specifically rendering these boundaries more visible, while also identifying the precise scope for manoeuvre at/across their margins.Microfinance is a dominant application of BoPE in which the participation of different business partners (e.g. MNCs) and social (e.g. NGOs, state, and community) necessitates them becoming more transparently accountable. This implies that more accountability is better, and will lead to required social and financial goals being legitimately pursued through policies whose performance has been independently measured. Research concerning mobile phones and microfinance services in developing countries has undergone rapid growth in recent years. In mobile microfinance programs (M-MIF), the traditional accounting and reporting systems have been replaced with CAM applications, SIM toolkit (STK)-based, and loan tracking mobilizer mobile reporting systems. While some studies seek ways for banks to translate the potential of mobile phones into greater financial access for poor people, this study analyses how the performance of BoP microfinance enterprises can be assessed using mobile accountability and reporting systems, and how mobile networks could be used by loan officers to reconcile varying types of accountability in BoP.This paper uses a social business model and grassroots accountability frameworks to construct and interpret the case of managerially accounting for a BoP mobile microfinance working across margins, from the perspective of a reflective practitioner‘ acting as a field researcher. By using a qualitative case study, this research will conduct semi-structured interviews and focus groups with key microfinance and telecoms specialists, managers and accountants, clients, and current loan officers. NVIVO will be the data analysis technique used. Expected contributions of the study will be an assessment model for the BoPEs that can be used to compare and contrast case studies. This model may include a framework for accountability in social e-enterprises in general, and in microfinance in particular. Finally, a corporate governance framework for BoP mobile microfinance projects is also expected to be a part of the study results.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhost publication
Place of PublicationWaterford, Ireland, UK
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Event2nd International Conference on Entrepreneurial Networking and Learning within Regional Economies -
Duration: 1 Jan 1824 → …


Conference2nd International Conference on Entrepreneurial Networking and Learning within Regional Economies
Period1/01/24 → …


  • Bottom of the Pyramid, mobile, microfinance, social business enterprise and accountability


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