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Dr Deogratius J Mhella

BA (Hons), MA, MBA, MA, PhD

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Research interests

Ph.D. Research Title: From Financial Exclusion to Financial Inclusion: The Neoliberal Rolling Back - Rolling Out Paradox and the Growth of Mobile Money in Tanzania


This thesis aims to show the neglected inclusive face of neoliberalism through transformation from higher levels of financial exclusion to increased levels of financial inclusion in Tanzania facilitated by mobile money (MM) growth. I illustrate that, in the case of Tanzania, the rollback and the roll-out of neoliberal policies aided the advent of MM. I argue that classical and neoclassical perspectives, as perceived in the political-economic sense, informed the neoliberal roll-back and roll-out policies, which promoted the growth of MM and its role in moderating the factors of financial exclusion. Thus, I deploy and develop a conceptual framework that includes both classical and neoclassical perspectives to explain the roll-out and roll-back neoliberal policies and how they facilitated financial inclusion through MM. Most scholars neglect the inclusive role of neoliberalism. They also underestimate the role of classical perspectives by putting more emphasis on neoclassical views. Moreover, they do not explain the role of MM in facilitating financial inclusion through the neoliberal lens. This thesis addresses these gaps. I ask three questions to address the above issues. First, how did neoliberalism facilitate the growth of MM in Tanzania? Second, how did MM moderate the factors of financial exclusion in Tanzania? Third, what was the response of the banking sector to increasing levels of financial inclusion caused by MM in Tanzania? Therefore, the significance of this study is that it informs our empirical and theoretical understanding of inclusive neoliberalism and MM by introducing a focus on the transition from financial exclusion to financial inclusion through classical and neoclassical lenses hitherto lacking. Literature suggests the need for qualitative research in this field. Thus, the in-depth unstructured interviews/focus groups and content analysis of key documents/literature inform our empirical understanding of roll-back and roll-out neoliberal policies and their role in facilitating MM growth and financial inclusion.

 Other Research Experiences

I have extensive knowledge of economic and political processes of development involving some parts of Western Europe, USA and Africa, having worked or researched in these regions. I enjoy researching or working on economic and political issues. I have work experience that includes several national and international organizations. I am teaching 'Comparative Government Politics' in 2018/2019 academic year.  I also teach Master's Students 'Digital Business and E-Commerce' (EFM EFIMM0050) at the School of Management in 2020. I also taught in 2019/20 - Issues in World Politics - POLI10001.  

My research experience includes: In 2000 in Munich (Germany) I researched the factors that drove or influenced the German tourists from Bayern and Baden-Wuerttemberg to visit the Italian Cities of Arts through the Italian State Tourist Office (ENIT), while working as an Intern. In 2001 in Rome (Italy) I researched the issues hampering the implementation of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPSS) through the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) - Department of Extension and Sustainable Development (SDRE). From 2004-2006, I was a United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) staff member with the title of Associate Expert seconded to the United Nations System Staff College in Turin. There, I oversaw the process of writing the UNSSC's annual reports. This involved research and data management activities. In 2018 in Tanzania, I researched the issues of financial exclusion and inclusion and how mobile money moderated them. I also researched the response of the banking sector to the increasing levels of financial inclusion caused by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). Furthermore, in 2019 two research articles were accepted, and will be published in peer reviewed journals. Details will follow shortly.


New Publications


Mhella, D. J. (2019).’The Development of Mobile Money and the Politics of Financial Inclusion in Tanzania’, The International Social Sciences Review, 1: 25-42.

Mhella, D. J. (2020). ‘The Role of Mobile Money in Moderating Financial Exclusion: A Tanzanian Experience. The International Social Sciences Review, 2: 1 - 24.


Recent Conferences Where I presented Research Papers



January 2019: Academic Paper: "The Development of Mobile Money and the Politics of Financial Inclusion in Tanzania". 8th International Conference on Technology, Science and Society at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. See: or 

June 2019:  Academic Paper: "The Role of Mobile Money in Moderating Financial Exclusion: A Tanzanian Experience". 7th International Congress on Social Sciences, at the University of Paris Diderot, Paris, France. Also see: 

October 2019:Academic Paper: "Banking Sector’s Response to the High Levels of Financial Inclusion Caused by Mobile Money Innovations in Tanzania". 9th Conference on Technology, Science and Society, at the Spanish National Research Centre, Madrid, Spain. Also see: 


My research interests are in the following areas:

• International Development;

• International Finance;

• Sustainable Development;

• Economic Growth and Development;

• Political Economy;

• Financial Sector Reforms including issues of financial exclusion, financial inclusion and mobile money;

• International Relations.



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