Pan-African operator MTN announced a deal with Verifone Mobile Money to deliver retail payment devices to merchants across 16 markets.
Alpesh Patel, CEO of African mobile player Mi-Fone, said that its strategy for the region is based on “aspiration within reach”, arguing that “you’ve got to be realistic about the consumers’ pockets”.
Elie Hassenfeld had an enjoyable and lucrative career in finance. Then he discovered an unusual passion.
Moses brought ten commandments down from Mount Sinai. If only the UN’s proposed list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were as concise. The SDGs are supposed to set out how to improve the lives of the poor in emerging countries, and how to steer money and government policy towards areas where they can do the most good. But the efforts of the SDG drafting committees are so sprawling and misconceived that the entire enterprise is being set up to fail. That would be not just a wasted opportunity, but also a betrayal of the world’s poorest people.
The past few decades have seen enormous changes in the global burden of disease. Although many people, especially those living in (or near) poverty and other privations, are familiar with heavy burdens and much disease, the term “global burden of disease” emerged in public health and in health economics only in recent decades. It was coined to describe what ails people, when, and where, and just as reliable quantification is difficult, so too is agreeing on units of analysis. Does this term truly describe the burden of disease of the globe? Of a nation? A city?
The Financial Services Authority (OJK), along with four of the nation’s largest banks, launched on Thursday a nationwide campaign on financial services without physical branches to help boost access to the banking system in rural areas.
A Northern Virginia startup is trying to solve one piece of the Ebola puzzle: How to keep health workers in protective gear from collapsing from heat exhaustion.
The Inter-American Development Bank is in the process of forming a new entity to handle its private sector activities, according to a bank employee with knowledge of the plans.
THE relationship between East African neighbours Kenya and Tanzania is a complex one, frequently eluding neat analysis, but two things reliably capture the prevailing spirit: tour vans and Kenya Airways.
Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are worried about the government's decision to set up the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency, or Mudra Bank, to regulate them as there could be a conflict of interest. They want the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) to continue as their regulator.
In the wake of the Ebola crisis, a quiet revolution is taking place that is set to transform the way governments and aid agencies respond to major disease outbreaks.
In the United States, any cluster of tuberculosis cases makes headlines, no matter how small the numbers. For example, local health authorities recently issued a warning to medical providers after 15 residents of a New York City neighborhood contracted tuberculosis over a two-year period — and the tabloids promptly hyped the news.
Some 57% of asset owners and other institutional investors surveyed believe incorporating ESG into alternative investments decision-making has a positive impact on risk-adjusted returns, said a report Monday from Mercer and LGT Capital Partners.
Sunlabob Renewable Energy, a Laos-based group that specializes in bringing clean energy solutions to rural communities, has this week secured an impact investment of $2.1 million to enable it to expand its off-grid programs in Asia, Africa and the Pacific region.
The U.S. consumer financial watchdog on Thursday outlined its plans for cracking down on the payday lending industry and ensuring that borrowers can repay their loans.
Eighty five percent of Kenyans have adopted electronic payment products including bank accounts, mobile phone, prepaid cards or other payment products, according to a new study by MasterCard.
SKS Microfinance Ltd, one of the largest microfinance companies in India, was a model for many other firms in the sector. Established by financial services professionals, the company was once considered the answer to India’s financial exclusion problem. While SKS has been through its fair share of struggles in the last four years, things are starting to look better for India’s only listed microfinance company.
An organic mixture made of coconut, rice and lemons is under development to help limit the spread of diseases associated with open defecation and diarrhea in a country where more than half of the 1.2 billion population relieve themselves outside.
Global investment in affordable financial services for the poor has risen by an average seven percent per year since 2011, a World Bank think tank said in a survey released on Wednesday.
Bangladesh has introduced cash incentives for poor pregnant women and under-5 children in some selected districts to lure them into facilities for health and growth check-ups.
Over the past 20 years, that rallying cry has gone from fantasy to imperative. Since the advent of the World Health Organization’s directly observed treatment strategy in 1995, more than 61 million people have been successfully treated for tuberculosis, and new TB cases and TB-related deaths are on the decline. Furthermore, countries have achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the TB epidemic by 2015. Thus, today, we have important successes to celebrate. Ending TB is within reach.
Three bank branches stand across the street from Ajay Kumar Jaswal’s vegetable stand. But their loan officers shun his small business, forcing him to pay up to 20% quarterly interest to an illegal moneylender for the roughly $160 he needs as working capital.
Rwanda was yesterday selected to be East Africa's centre of excellence in e-health and biomedical engineering as well as health vaccines and immunisation logistics.
Private equity is historically a male-dominated field, and historically, Africa’s local industry has been no different.
Johns Hopkins-affiliated health IT startup emocha is marking World TB Day with the launch of a new system in South Africa.
Grameen Capital India, a social impact-focused investment advisory firm, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from a group of investors, including Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding firm of Tata Group, for a new debt investment vehicle.
Bengaluru-based Artoo IT Solutions, which has developed a financial customer relationship management solution for the financial sector, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.1 crore) in Series A round of funding from Accion Venture Labs and Switzerland-based Rianta Capital Zurich's Artha Initiative.
In February, Somalia became the second country in the world where WFP has launched its groundbreaking new system for managing assistance programmes, a platform known as SCOPE. The SCOPE information system allows WFP to monitor and control all its distributions of food, cash and vouchers electronically and in near real time. SCOPE also allows WFP to register beneficiaries, store information on the amount of food or money they are entitled to and – in the case of cash or vouchers – transfer the specific amount onto the cards. There was a buzz of anticipation as the first SCOPE transfer cards were handed out.
2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, where nearly 1,200 garment workers lost their lives from a factory collapse, are wrestling with a critical question: Who should pay for the work needed to ensure basic factory safety standards in Bangladesh?
Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and a proponent of 'social business', a not-for-profit business model to combat unemployment and other social evils, does not mince his words when it comes to micro-credit for the poor. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is dismissive about some recent innovations in the microfinance sector and warns about the direction they are taking. He also believes that micro-credit should be kept outside political influence to run it as a sound financial institution. "The best scenario," he says, "is when a micro-credit bank is owned by the poor." Excerpts from an interview with Shamni Pande:
Nigerian billionaire businessman and philanthropist Tony Elumelu has selected 167 Kenyan entrepreneurs to benefit from his Sh9.2 billion start-up fund targeting 10,000 enterprises across Africa.
A challenge stands before us: ensuring immunisation of the world’s poorest children. If we, as global citizens can meet it, we will help protect the lives of millions in places too poor to afford vaccines.
The UN refugee agency has placed an order for 10,000 flat-pack refugee shelters designed by a social enterprise arm of furniture giant IKEA, with first delivery planned within months to camps across Iraq, where some 2.5 million people have been displaced by conflict.
When Indian street-food seller Kumar Pal first began treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis two years ago, he quickly spiraled into depression and gave up hope of living.
Trees in your company campus, jobs for people with disabilities and fuel-efficient office cars may be good for the society and the environment. Continue the good work, but none of that counts as corporate social responsibility (CSR) under the law.
New Morgan Stanley research shows that whatever sustainability is, it seems to be working.
The case of a Mumbai tailor cured of an extremely resistant form of tuberculosis this week has revived debate over a new drug to which the Indian government has limited access, prompting calls for change.
Zimbabwean subscribers on Econet Wireless' mobile money platform, EcoCash, will now be able to buy and send groceries to their friends and relatives under a partnership with grocery manufacturer and wholeseller, National Foods.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing a new project that will collect basic health data for countries in Africa, southeast Asia, and Latin America.
According to a new market research report "Mobile Money Market by Transaction Mode, Nature of Payment, Location, Type of Purchase, & by Industry (BFSI, Telecom & IT, Media & Entertainment, Healthcare, Retail, Travel & Hospitality, Transportation & Logistics, Others) - Global Forecast to 2019", published by MarketsandMarkets, Mobile Money Market is expected to grow from$12.34 Billion in 2014 to $78.02 Billion by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 44.6% during the forecast period from 2014 to 2019.
Young people make up nearly half of the world’s population. And even though global health policy-making impacts them — think vaccinations, reproductive health or preventative care — young people far too often don’t have a say in that process.
A Yale paper published online on Feb. 11 in the Journal of Global Health argues that implementation of a new agency to fund pharmaceutical companies could have decreased the severity of the recent Ebola outbreak.
As of 2014, 28 million Filipinos have micro-insurance coverage, according to the Insurance Commission (IC). The agency sees a continued growth in this segment as more Filipinos turn to micro-insurance for protection and financial security, especially for calamities.
South African incubator and consulting firm Impact Amplifier has revealed to Disrupt Africa it had catalysed over ZAR55 million (US$4.5 million) in investments into early-stage startups, and aims to close over ZAR100 million (US$8.2 million) of capital deployed in 2015.
Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of one of Asia’s smallest but most developed economies, has died. Lee led Singapore after its separation from Malaysia to emerge as one of the world’s most powerful financial centres.
If any country knows about the risks and rewards of building infrastructure, it is China. Over the past two decades, the People’s Republic has erected countless roads, dams, power plants, bridges and airports in its pursuit of economic development. The result has been a surge in debt, waste, corruption and pollution. It’s a dubious foundation from which to construct the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The rate of global mobile money transfers continues to increase at a steady rate as the percentage of mobile remittances in 2014 doubled between January 2014 and January 2015, according to new research from Azimo, a mobile money company.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was envisioned to provide universal financial inclusion to rural and urban households. The mission includes not only providing universal banking access to all households but also micro-insurance. The government and commercial banks have accomplished the remarkable feat of opening 12.8 crore accounts within the last six months. While this is a laudable achievement, a number of issues related to servicing these accounts, mostly in remote and far-flung areas, may need to be addressed.
Activists in Seattle and London held demonstrations on Monday to protest efforts by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and others to privatize seeds as part of a push to industrialize farming in Africa.
Whichever way you look at it, Kenya and by extension the East African region is undergoing a major transformation as far as financial inclusion goes. In October last year, the Central Bank of Kenya released a report on development regarding the access and consumption of financial services in Kenya. The FinAccess 2013 Survey revealed that Kenya's financial inclusion landscape has undergone considerable transformation.
Sex workers in Harare are now demanding that clients pay for services through mobile platforms to avoid being duped with most now moving around with at least two mobile phones to facilitate transactions.
In a rather unusual move last week, MTN Uganda called a Press Conference, the venue of which would be Stanbic Bank Boardroom at Crested Towers in Kampala.
The ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi throws up opportunities for growth of domestic medical devices industry, which is not only “underinvested” but heavily import-oriented at present, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
Digital finance experts in Kenya say African users will increasingly benefit from the introduction of a money transfer service onto Facebook's instant messaging platform.
The adage -- "a woman's work is never done" -- exists for a reason. Whether it's inside or outside the home, women's labor sustains families. How we assess women's work has long been a contested issue. In the developing world, it's especially important.
Efforts are underway by The African Union (AU) to establish a pan-African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC) by mid-2015, a development that can bolster the continent’s desire to transform its health practices and promote the welfare of its people.
The problem of global water access is as intransigent as they come. Some 768 million people – more than the population of Europe – still lack access to clean water. Likewise, this year’s Millennium Development Goal target of halving the number of people without sanitation will be missed by 8% – that’s half a billion people.
When people think about financial inclusion, their minds tend to go first to highly-publicized unbanked regions in Africa and parts of Asia. But many people right here in the United States lack access to traditional financial services.
Advocates working to increase global access to medicines were frustrated by the recent comments made by Bill Gates publicly criticizing Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders, MSF) for calling for reductions in the prices of new vaccines. In doing so, Mr Gates stands by a system of pricing that requires raising billions of dollars in donor funding every year to support it. We believe that a system dependent on raising massive amounts of money to meet arbitrarily high prices set by the pharmaceutical industry is a failed system and should be acknowledged as such by donors like Mr Gates. Rather, true success in global vaccination requires mechanisms that can rapidly achieve long-term sustainable vaccine pricing.
The problem of global water access is as intransigent as they come. Some 768 million people – more than the population of Europe – still lack access to clean water. Likewise, this year’s Millennium Development Goal target of halving the number of people without sanitation will be missed by 8% – that’s half a billion people.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton promised Barack Obama, the president-elect, there would be no mystery about who was giving money to her family's globe-circling charities. She made a pledge to publish all the donors on an annual basis to ease concerns that as secretary of state she could be vulnerable to accusations of foreign influence.
IIX (Impact Investment Exchange Asia) is pleased to announce that 4 Social Enterprises (SEs) have been selected for its Philippines-based Impact Accelerator™. Impact Accelerator is an intensive acceleration program that targets early-stage SEs with high potential for growth and scalability.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had avoided declaring Ebola as an international emergency for about two months partly due to political reasons since the outbreak of the disease started last year, documents and internal emails obtained by the Associated Press (AP) showed. The organization had earlier accepted that it was slow in its response to the disease, which has killed over 10,000 people so far. It had blamed the contagious and mutating nature of the virus for the outbreak.
A tablet device that can withstand being doused in chlorine has been developed to help medics caring for patients with Ebola.
Ghana’s microfinance industry is expected to be hit by mergers and acquisitions as the regulator demands recapitalization of companies in the sector.
The mobile financial services sector in Ghana has not yet fully lived up to its potential and is being held back from full development by regulatory hurdles, a new report says.
Can World Bank staff loosen their ties and engage with young people in a meaningful, productive way? Youth champions and development professionals hope that — if approved by senior management — a new team focused on youth will put an emphasis on listening more to young people to incorporate their ideas into the core of the global financial institution’s work.
Britain took a significant step towards becoming a global bitcoin hub on Wednesday as the government announced it would regulate digital currencies for the first time by applying anti-money laundering rules to exchanges.
Charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has accused U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O of restricting access to its breakthrough hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in developing countries as it tries to protect profit margin in wealthier nations.
Habib Bank (HBL) is expected to enter the microfinance banking segment by acquiring Pakistan’s second largest microfinance bank in terms of the value of savings, according to a regulatory filing by the country’s biggest commercial bank on Thursday.
Bridge International Academies is intent on disrupting education in Africa and other poor parts of the world. And with big backers like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Pierre Omidyar, the company has lots of momentum right now.
Members of the Ennovent Circle, the Ennovent Impact Investment Holding and Upaya Social Ventures, closed a seed investment round in Delhi-based Anant Learning & Development.
A £195M fund to address antimicrobial resistance and a $100M VC fund to spur drug discovery in dementia, both announced by the UK government this week, aim to build international coalitions to deal with these threats.
A new project from the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis shows, among other findings, that girls in developing countries, given equal opportunities, will save as much or more in formal financial institutions than boys.
Today, MetLife Foundation announced its exclusive sponsorship and launch of The Financial Inclusion Challenge. The Challenge, developed in partnership with MetLife Foundation and managed by The Wall Street Journal, is a two-year global project launching in Asia with the aim of encouraging non-profit and for-profit enterprises to submit proposals that provide innovative, sustainable solutions for individuals and families struggling to be part of the financial mainstream.
A trial that trained Ugandan shopkeepers to use subsidised malaria test kits could point to a way of reducing the misuse of malaria medicine.
Without a doubt, mobile payment is hot topic these days. Google, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, are only a few that have stepped into the mobile payment battle, determined to create the next killer mobile wallet and payment system.
Some of the world’s top experts in microlending recently gathered to debate a hot topic: Has the microloan boom of the last decade actually helped global efforts to lift people out of poverty?
Hargeisa, Somaliland March 2015: Hasha Abdi Abdullahi was desperate. She was living in a makeshift camp for the displaced in Hargeisa with her seven children after being forced to leave her home, 50 kilometres away, because of drought. She was heavily in debt and her three-year-old son, Abdisalam Mustafa Farah had started to refuse all food and showed signs of being malnourished.
John D. Rockefeller would never have considered abandoning the oil business. But that is exactly what some of his heirs did last fall. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a family foundation with $860 million in assets and a long history of supporting environmental causes, announced it would divest itself of all fossil-fuel investments.
Cambridge-based Daktari Diagnostics is inching towards commercialization of its fast and portable diagnostics platform, securing $15.5 million in equity funding earlier this month with hopes of entering the global market this year.
Alibaba, the Chinese internet conglomerate, has formed another strategic alliance to provide loans to businesses. Earlier this month Alibaba inked an agreement with Lending Club to facilitate loans to US businesses seeking to purchase goods from China manufacturers. Now Alibaba has created a similar arrangement with ezbob and iwoca in the United Kingdom. This is the first deal by Alibaba, using e-credit line, to help provide credit to SMEs in Europe.
The floodgates have opened. After the U.K. announced last Thursday that it would seek to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a trio of other European powers — Germany, France, and Italy — followed suit. With a March 31 deadline looming for countries to gain “founding member” status, expect more states – possibly including Australia and South Korea – to join in as well.
Bill Gates writes: "It's instructive to compare our preparations for epidemics with our preparations for another sort of global threat — war."
Big Data solutions can help the health care industry acquire, organise and analyse data to optimise resource allocation, plug inefficiencies, reduce cost of treatment, improve access to health care and advance medicinal research.
Mumbai-based pharmaceutical major Lupin Ltd.'s buyout of the remaining 40 percent equity stake in South Africa’s generic drug maker Pharma Dynamics at undisclosed amount last week shed light on other potential windfalls for Africa’s health-care investors.
The Nobel laureate and founder of microfinance pioneer Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank says MFIs in India could be greedy and tapping the capital market or raising loans from private equity funds is a bad idea.
The MasterCard Foundation and TechnoServe are announcing today a five-year, $25.9 million partnership to generate increased income and economic opportunities for 48,000 young people in rural East Africa.
Chinese phone giant Xiaomi has introduced a new wrinkle on the mobile wallet: A portable account that bears interest.
Across Asia, governments are experimenting with novel ways to widen access to financial services, from using mobile technology for transfers to allowing retail stores to take deposits in remote areas.
India is betting on cheap mobile phones to cut some of the world's highest rates of maternal and child deaths, as it rolls out a campaign of voice messages delivering health advice to pregnant women and mothers.
Customers of Orange Money in Côte d’Ivoire can now use their mobile phones to send money to customers of Airtel Money in Burkina Faso, and vice versa.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing NGN 400 million (USD 2.5 million) in La Fayette Microfinance Bank, one of eight members of the Advans Network of microfinance institutions, which is based in Luxembourg and managed by Horus Development Finance of France. The investment will support the growth of La Fayette, which was created in June 2012 and target micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria’s urban areas.
African healthcare providers are gradually recognising the convenience and cost benefits of adopting patient portals integrating financial and clinical data, according to Frost & Sullivan, giving a boost to a number of startups operating in the e-health sector.
How do you help the poor? It is a very old question. The Roman emperor Nero found the answer in the advice of Stoic philosophers like Seneca, and built an awe-inspiring palace covered in gold leaf. This would fill the lower classes with gratitude for being blessed with such a glorious leader. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Roman senate ended Nero’s reign by ordering him to commit suicide four years later.
State-run banks may have created a record with opening of Jan Dhan accounts, but when it comes to lending to the poor, they are actually faltering. Bank loans to the micro sector, the target group of the government's financial inclusion drive and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), have fallen 5.5% over the last 14 months, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Bangalore-based The Better India Pvt Ltd, which runs a news website focusing on social issues under the same brand, has raised $160,000 (Rs 1 crore) in funding from members of angel network Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I-cube-N), a company statement said. Investors include Raveen Sastry, a co-founder of e-commerce portal Myntra.
In the west, cataract surgery is a routine operation. But in rural Africa, people can find it extremely difficult to get diagnosed and treated for the condition - and it can ruin their lives.
Indian pharmaceuticals companies need to diversify their product range and focus on evolving as innovators as growth in generic market is expected to slow down over the next decade, a study by industry body Assocham said on Monday.
In the second part of his interview to the Chairman of Indian Council of Competitiveness, Amit Kapoor, global thinker and Founder and President of Enterprise for a Sustainable World, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping businesses make the transition to sustainability, Stuart Hart talks about how Indian micro finance institutions can work towards cleaning their negative image.
Today, we hear a great deal about Chinese M&A deals, Chinese money and investment pouring into diverse markets, and even Chinese loans being used to bail out struggling economies.
Bharti Airtel, the leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Africa and Asia, has today announced the launch of a cross-border money-transfer service for Airtel Money customers between The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Rwanda.
Three leading health organisations have set medical researchers a challenge to make an affordable dialysis machine capable of using non-purified water as new figures show more people will experience terminal kidney failure.
Liz Berwick is a fairly typical saver. The 35-year-old mother of two hopes to put away around £3,000 this year by saving regularly into a tax-free Isa. The question is, where?
What is it like to be a passenger on a bus, or standing in a cheering crowd at the finishing line of a marathon, in the seconds after a bomb goes off, when you know you’re hurt but not where or how badly? What’s it like to be a child who finds a discarded toy and picks up what turns out to be a landmine? What’s it like to be giving birth at home, and see blood pooling between your legs, and look up at the ashen faces of a birth attendant, a midwife, a spouse? What’s it like to feel the earth tremble and see the roof and walls of your home or school fall toward you? More to the point, in terms of survival: What happens next? It depends. Not just on the severity of the injury, but on who and where you are. Death in childbirth, once the leading killer of young women across the world, is now registered almost exclusively among women living in extreme poverty, many of them in rural areas. Trauma is now the leading cause of death for children and young adults in much of the world. Who lives and who dies depends on what sort of health care system is available. And who recovers, if recovery is possible, depends on the way emergency care and hospitals are financed.
Mobile money services in Uganda are coming under scrutiny and what is emerging is troubling. At the centre of the saga in which President Yoweri Museveni is personally involved, is Uganda’s biggest telecom operator, MTN, which is battling several allegations of fraud, and suits and counter suits in the courts.
"Welcome to the store for vaginas." These are the confident and unapologetic words that greet you when you visit the website forSHEVA, a startup that sells feminine hygiene products for a cause. The branding, which includes a woman in a classic Rosie the Riveter pose holding a box of Playtex tampons, dispels menstrual stigma and promotes women's empowerment with every click.
Social enterprises — businesses that prioritize human and environmental benefits equally to profits — are effective vehicles to achieve development goals as their market-based approaches bring sustainability and scalability that are essential to create long-term impact.
Social enterprises seeking financing face a great many hurdles that more-traditional ventures don’t have to tackle.
State-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is preparing to expand its electronic money (e-money) service to increase low-cost funds as well as to offer wider banking access.
With an objective to promote financial inclusion, Nabard today started a pilot project for complete digitisation of women self help groups (SHGs) to improve the quality of interface between members and banks for efficient and hassle free delivery of banking services.
Deutsche Bank’s Global Social Finance Group today announced the closing of the Essential Capital Consortium (ECC), a five-year USD 50 million social enterprise fund, which is part of its family of social impact funds first launched in 2005.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation looked within its own ranks to pick its new president, Julia Stasch, who has promised to instill a sense of urgency at the grant maker.
“Coffee is our gateway drug,” jokes Willy Foote, founder of Root Capital. “Then we move on to harder stuff, like cocoa, cashews, quinoa and sorghum.” That is how the firm got started in 1999, after Mr Foote quit his job as a Wall Street analyst, lending $73,000 to a coffee (and cardamom) co-operative in Guatemala. It has since expanded to 25 countries in Latin America and Africa, and in December set up shop in Indonesia, with a loan of $550,000 to an organic coffee co-operative.
The medical community has been issuing alerts about mutating viruses and increases in the frequency of infectious disease. The changes make it more difficult to control diseases that have become resistant to vaccines and antibiotics.
The Ebola crisis underscored a problem that vexes experts in global health: Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives, especially in developing countries, yet traditional vaccines can take years to develop.
Paytm, a India-based mobile payments service operated by (now) Alibaba-backed One97, has introduced a big new feature that lets 25 million users transfer money to bank accounts.
A vaccination campaign that almost didn't happen was widely effective in reducing transmission of cholera in the midst of an ongoing outbreak of the disease in rural Haiti.
Grameen Foundation US has partnered with MetLife Foundation to provide savings and other services to at least 40,000 poor and women clients in Uttar Pradesh.
Alisha Moopen, Director, Aster DM Healthcare, as a young entrepreneur working for improving women’s health, feels that in India there is an immense need for continued innovation in this sphere. She talks about the need for the government, private sector and NGOs to integrate their efforts to strengthen the health system for women in India, in an interaction with Raelene Kambli
Cab aggregator service Uber today announced that it had tied up with a Singapore-based company to train women drivers even as it continues to be under a Delhi government ban after a driver enlisted with it allegedly raped a 25-year-old woman executive inside a taxi.
Visionary social entrepreneur and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has joined the world's first global public awareness campaign for solar, SolarFUTURE.today.
The finance ministry on Wednesday said the next phase of the government's ambitious financial inclusion scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), will be focused on mobilisation of financial savings to reverse the decline in the savings rate.
Mauritius is the easiest place to do business in Africa, offering a compelling banking environment for industry pioneers such as Bramer Bank.
The largest nonprofit contractor working for the U.S. Agency for International Development during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan billed the government $1.1 million for staff parties and pricey retreats — three of them held at one of the poshest destinations on the East Coast, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania.
A not-for-profit Brisbane restaurant that helps female African refugees hopes volunteers and diversification will help keep the business running.
FINCA International, a leading microfinance organization based inWashington, D.C., is pleased to welcome Dr. Fred Seymour, a solar energy expert, to its Board of Directors. A pioneer of microfinance, FINCA is actively exploring the development of additional social enterprises that can deliver nonfinancial products and services, starting with solar energy.
Several months ago, I wrote a post that was critical of ongoing efforts by the United Nations to renew theirMillennium Development Goals (MDG’s) – to be called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) moving forward. My concern with the plan stemmed from the fact that we have seen incredible progress in areas of international development as a result of innovation, social entrepreneurship and good policy. And yet, “Draft Zero” of the Sustainable Development Goals, did not showcase the learnings of the last 15 years, and instead, seemed like a laundry list of interest-group agenda items lumped together.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is continuing its push to accelerate the adoption of mobile money in the developing world by offering grants to firms that devise ways to capture data relating to the delivery and use of digital financial services.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today published a study documenting the establishment of interoperability in the mobile financial services market in Tanzania, an arrangement that increases access to mobile financial services and advances financial inclusion.
The Botswana Innovation Hub, in collaboration with Microsoft, the Botswana-UPenn Partnership (BUP), Global Broadband Solutions, Vista Life Sciences, BoFiNet, Adaptrum and USAID-NetHope, has launched a new TV white spaces (TVWS) pilot project.
Tech firm Zebpay on March 11 announced launch of its 'bitcoin' mobile wallet in the country. The wallet, which is in form of a mobile application, will help its user buy, sell and transact in bitcoins, which is presently valued at around USD 280 per unit at present.
The modern Senegalese woman has it together. From raising children to owning a small business, ambition and poise are valued by Senegalese women, according to market research conducted by PSI and its partners before the launch of a new contraceptive option called Sayana Press.
There are 2.5 billion in the world without a bank account. That number is familiar and been reported widely. What’s lesser known is that a majority of those 2.5 billion unbanked people are women.
On March, 9, India introduced its first ever indigenously produced vaccine for the Rotavirus.
Unjani Clinics is a new alternative to the South African state healthcare system which is unable to adequately serve patients with quality service. By creating a social franchise easily deployable in rural communities, Unjani Clinics is a way to empower people and create jobs. In the next three years, 90 clinics will be launched across South Africa. Lynda Toussaint, CEO of Unjani Clinics, explains this promising model to us.
Pentavalent Vaccine worth $1.3 million, enough to vaccinate 400,000 infants against five potentially deadly diseases, has spoiled in a storage room at the National Health Services (NHS) Ministry. Three junior officials have been suspended for negligence which resulted in the temperature variation causing the vaccine to spoil.
Impact investing is seen as the most promising trend by the majority of global philanthropists, according to new figures. The BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index 2015 revealed that 52 per cent of global philanthropists nominated impact investment as the top way to contribute to society in the future.
Today, many emerging countries struggle to provide basic health care to their citizens. And the lack of quality maternal, infant and child care has a devastating impact in these areas. Yet medical practitioners, government agencies, and private industry are beginning to learn how mobile technology can be harnessed to develop and inspire solutions to aid the health of people and nations.
The new China International Payments System (CIPS), which is set to debut before the end of 2015, has been described as a “worldwide payments superhighway for the yuan.” What the creation of such a system means in the short-term is that the Chinese currency (officially known as the renminbi) has the potential to become a truly international, convertible currency and a more attractive currency for conducting international trade and finance. What it means in the long-term is that America’s long reign of economic dominance is at risk.
Safaricom has entered into a partnership with a leading bank in Kenya, the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), to launch a mobile banking product similar to M-shwari, named KCB-MPesa Account.
Ericsson and The Coca-Cola Company have announced a pilot project to bring mobile connectivity to EKOCENTER, a social enterprise initiative designed to empower community well-being by bringing safe water, solar power and mobile communications, as well as basic goods and services to underserved communities. The pilot project will be conducted in collaboration with Tigo Rwanda and German start-up company, Solarkiosk.
Elected leaders in Washington are heading into another season of wrangling over the same old federal budget revenue shortfalls. But a number of European countries are looking forward to a revenue injection from a fresh and deserving source: high flyers in the financial markets.
At first sight, the cheerful-looking red and white painted building looks like a quiet public rest house in the din and bustle of Hajipur, a fast developing town in India's northern state of Bihar.
Inclusion is one of the hottest development topics of 2015. Being excluded, financially or socially, perpetuates unemployment, inequality and poverty. With 1.8 billion young people in the world, and this number growing most rapidly in the countries with the highest rates of exclusion, we can’t afford to hesitate in addressing this problem.
When it comes to managing money, the rich are increasingly pursuing more than just financial rewards and going full tilt on the idea of using investments as a tool for social and environmental change.
A prudent man holds on to the old as long as it is good, and grabs hold of the new as soon as it is better; so goes an old adage. It's time to let go of the old and discredited handout and hand-me-down charity approach, and take hold instead of the hand-up approach to community and nation-building practised by social entrepreneurs and social enterprises. There are two outstanding men among us who are at the forefront of grabbing hold of this new paradigm; one from the public sector and the other from the private sector.
OurCrowd, the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, has announced a unique collaboration that will help students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania get an industry-leading experiential education in impact investing. This initiative will greatly expand the Wharton Social Venture Fund (WSVF), a flagship program operated under the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) which allows students to select, curate and diligence investments that will change the world.
Ghana and Africa as a whole faces a number of big challenges to healthcare delivery. A large part of the healthcare mandate depends on access not only to facilities and treatment, but also simply to empowering, life-saving information. This is often lacking or difficult to access in Africa.
Efficiency. We can get obsessed by efficiency. In our businesses, jobs and personal lives we often ask, 'How can we do more with less?'. We have the 4 Hour Work Week, 4 Hour Body and numerous 'life hacks.' But often lost in the mix in the discussion around efficiency is the focus on quality. What type of life does this give us? What type of business does this give us?
How do you cut the school dropout rate for girls in a remote pocket of Uganda? And how do you create jobs for village women? The answer to both questions: sanitary pads.
Accenture (NYSE:ACN) and the Accenture Foundations have awarded Amref Health Africa an additional grant of US$3 million to help the organization enhance and scale its mobile health training program to 3,000 community health workers in Kenya. This grant brings Accenture’s direct support to Amref Health Africa to more than US$7.3 million since 2005.
Village Capital, a leading venture firm investing in social enterprises, recently announced its latest investments. Operating with a unique model that starts with a cohort of startups in a particular industry, most recently healthcare IT, that actually relies on the startups to choose the companies Village Capital invests in.
International remittance is ostensibly one of the most compelling use cases for bitcoin and digital currencies. Recorded remittances to Africa grew four-fold between 1990 and 2010 and have increased steadily since. The World Bank projects $39bn in remittances to sub-Saharan Africa this year.
Argentina has challenged HSBC to publicly denounce alleged tax evasion at the bank's Argentine subsidiary, saying not doing so would be an act of "financial piracy".
Business opportunities are attracting entrepreneurs to the $9.59-trillion global healthcare market in both developed and developing countries, according to a new report issued recently by PwC.
Over 7 million M-Pesa customers in Tanzania and over 18 million Safaricom customers in Kenya can now send and receive money from each other. This revolutionary service allows for mobile wallet-to-wallet transfers between the two largest telecom operators in East Africa. Now, customers can transfer funds across the border at the same rate as sending money locally.
Do we need yet another refinance agency in the Indian financial system? Quite a few such agencies already exist; none of them can claim to be a success by any yardstick.
An innovative urinal could turn pee into a source of electricity. Driven to find a way to protect women and girls in refugee camps who are often assaulted when they go to the bathroom at night, researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have devised a urinal that lights up when a person uses it.
The lives of tens of thousands of new mothers around the world could be saved by a simple, hand-held, British-made device costing only £12, which runs on a mobile-phone charger and is set to be introduced in hospitals across Africa, India and Pakistan.
Last week the 14-month-old Australian based Bitcoin exchange, Igot, launched in Kenya with the acquisition of local company TagPesa to target the country’s remittance market. In addition, Igot has also been granted access to the mobile money service, M-Pesa, giving members the ability to deposit and withdraw money directly from their M-Pesa account, currently used by about 17 million Kenyans.
It looks like fish. It smells like fish. When unsold and unmarketable, it usually rots and goes to waste. But not so in the fisherfolk community in Iligan, where excess catch of fish in season are collected for livelihood. It’s like chicken dung gathered by another community in Naawan, Misamis Oriental, and coconut husks collected from copra farms by a cooperative of former rebels who laid down their arms for life with society. Rotten fish, chicken dung, coconut husks – all biowastes that can be converted to organic fertilizers that communities can sell and make a living out of. For them, it is a way to resist poverty through their own productive work. But this is just half of the story.
Every two years, the residents of Richmond, Calif., a city long known for some of the highest rates of violence in the United States, gather to discuss its priorities. For years, the No. 1 concern was crime.
There is a story that persists around the developing world, to the detriment of families and entire economies: Women are being sidelined from economic progress because of limited access to financial services.
UK scientists have developed a mobile phone-based system to help people avoid drinking water contaminated with arsenic.1 The phone’s camera measures quantum dot fluorescence in response to arsenic, achieving a limit of detection as low as 5µM.
China has refused to supply additional doses of the Japanese encephalitis vaccine to India, raising concerns over control of the mosquito-borne disease which intensifies during the rainy season.
A study by Exponent Philanthropy suggests philanthropists and family foundations are becoming more impact-oriented, doling out fewer grants but with larger dollar amounts given to only the top-performing nonprofits.
Most startups fail to take off. The traditional method of starting a business has been to come up with a business plan, get investors to back it, assemble your dream team, get a product in play and push it hard. But this approach often exposes entrepreneurs to risks that blindside them later. The same could be said of the big ideas often touted to help the poor in emerging markets, either with access to cleaner water and sanitation or education.
Compared with many other industries in the country, save for the software industry, the Indian pharmaceutical sector’s performance has been impressive and its future secure.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it would invest $52 million in CureVac, a German biotechnology company that develops vaccines and immunotherapies, marking the foundation's biggest-ever equity investment.
The Mister Sister initiative started almost three years ago is making a positive contribution at enhanced access to primary health care in rural and remote populations in the Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Khomas Regions.
Advanced equipment has been developed to help protect health-care workers, but the gear may not be helpful in poor countries.
Global impact investments were expected to grow to $12.7 billion last year, up 20% from the previous year, according to a report released Thursday by Global Impact Investing Network.
MasterCard and Microsoft announced a partnership to promote economic development in Mexico by supporting the base of the economy, the micro merchant, through comprehensive projects and innovative solutions in information technology, communication and payments
While many people have mobile money accounts – usually with the phone companies - few are actively used.
Ericsson, Coca-Cola, Tigo and SolarKiosk are partnering on a social enterprise initiative called ‘EkoConnect’ that is designed to provide safe water, solar power, mobile communications as well as basic goods and services to underserved communities in Rwanda.
Two examples provide clues to how technology is paving the way to tackle big healthcare problems globally.
Yale’s Global Health Justice Partnership has released a report warning the international community that scientific discoveries will not be enough to prevent the over 500,000 deaths that occur every year from Hepatitis C.
Having made some headway in the US – B Lab’s home ground – and Europe, the time may be right to bring the B Corp concept to Asia, B Lab founder Bart Houlahan says.
Billionaire talks about how he and Canada work together, the setbacks Ebola represents—and why he has a positive outlook.
A new bank announced in the annual budget last week could boost loans and cut borrowing costs for the country's cash-starved small businesses - tailors, mechanics and phone booth operators who account for around a fifth of the economy.
The African continent has become home to a new wave of creativity and talent, with Nairobi as the hotbed of innovation.
Ghanaian startup Beam is banking on the fact heavily undercutting other remittance services will lead to large uptake of Bitcoin across Africa.
EcoSure has registered over 1 million users, an uptake that translates to 150,000 new users every week. These are impressive numbers, so what’s the secret behind this?
The global financial crisis didn’t dent the demand for loans from small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs around the world. But it sure whacked the supply of capital available to lend to them.
Through PayNearMe, Grameen America Borrowers Gain Convenient Option to Repay Loans at 7,800 7-Eleven Stores Nationwide, as Grameen Expands Solution to California and New York.
MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga discussed financial inclusion at Mobile World Congress.
The cascade of events leading to bacterial infection and the immune response is mostly understood. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the immune response to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis have remained a mystery — until now.
Lighting Science Group Corporation and Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good today announced a research agreement to collaborate on the development of next-generation light technologies for pest control.
Inhabitants of this megacity, suffering through the worst drought in decades, have unwittingly contributed to an outbreak of dengue fever by storing scarce water in open containers.
Lumkani Fire Detection has won the South African leg of Chivas Regal’s Win the Right Way competition — a global initiative that sets out to find and support the world’s top social entrepreneurs. The Cape Town-based startup has developed an early-warning fire detection system for dense settlements. The small fire detection device consists of heat detectors that send an SMS with GPS locations to community leaders and the local fire department in times of danger.
Across Africa, growth rates and the discovery of natural resources are pushing countries toward middle-income status, but their health systems are still too weak for donors to withdraw support.
The swine flu flare-up has pushed an indigenous innovation faster into the market, a rare silver lining in an otherwise gloomy story, as India battles the worst outbreak of the virus in the past five years.
More than 40 percent of women in India are underweight when they begin pregnancy, according to a new study published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Kenyan-based Equity Bank says it is interested in exploring investment opportunities within the country’s health sector, as it seeks to exploit increasing demand for healthcare in the country.
Bitcoin startups Volabit and SatoshiTango have opened a money transfer service between their respective countries through a collaboration called Coinnect.
Tuning in to news channels, browsing through social media sites, or engaging in a chit-chat with one of Egypt's ever-so talkative taxi drivers can leave even the biggest optimist heavy-hearted. High illiteracy rates in Egypt's primary and middle schools, blood-covered hospital beds shared by multiple patients, and increased suicide rates among men unable to provide for their families are tragically common and familiar headlines. While the core of our economic and social problems have long been recognized, very little has been done to address them.
The World Bank on Monday approved a $500 million loan for the MSME Growth Innovation and Inclusive Finance Project to improve access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) working in the manufacturing and services sector at an early stage.
The GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme today released its fourth annual ‘Mobile Financial Services State of the Industry Report’, providing a quantitative assessment of the state of mobile financial services, including mobile money, mobile insurance, mobile savings and mobile credit.
One of the greatest challenges for philanthropy today is the very term itself --philanthropy.
As telecommunications carriers in Europe seek a share of the billions of dollars likely to flow to companies that build mobile-payment systems, Claudio Chiche has a few words of advice: Ask Africa for help.
MasterCard announced partnerships to make international remittance services available to millions of consumers in both Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
Pakistan has wasted $3.7 million worth of vaccines donated to protect children from deadly diseases because officials failed to store them properly, a senior health official told Reuters on Monday.
Mutant genes that are resistant to a vital anti-malaria drug were found in the blood of people close to the India border.
The government has been urged to set financial targets for social enterprises as it prepares to pour more money into businesses dedicated to improving people's lives and the environment.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Orange launched a digital offer called Klif for under US$40, bundling a smartphone, data, voice and text bundle. The solution will be available across Africa and the Middle East. Orange has launched Klif for under US$40, bundling a smartphone, data, voice and text in one for its African and Middle Eastern footprint. Ten offer is claimed to set "a new benchmark in price that will act as a major catalyst for smartphone and data adoption across the region".
Clara Miller, who has headed the F.B. Heron Foundation for the past three years, wants to take the ultimate impact investing step: moving the foundation’s $300 million endowment entirely into impact investments.
For Florida plumber Frederick Schilling Jr, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed at least 45,000 people, was a pivotal moment in his life, transforming how he looks at the world. His view today? “We in America have absolutely no idea how good we have it and how easy our lives are,” he said.
The global sustainable investment market has grown “substantially” in the past two years with assets reaching $21.4 trillion by the start of 2014, according to a new report by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA).
Microcredit is no panacea for lifting millions of people from poverty, leading economists said on Friday in releasing research from seven countries that challenges a key development tool.
Stellar, the cryptocurrency-based payments system launched last year by Jed McCaleb, announced a partnership with banking-software company Oradian to use Stellar platform in its core banking software for microfinance institutions.
Chronic disease among HIV positive people has been overlooked, say K. M. Venkat Narayan and Sten Vermund. Over 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV. Massive global efforts and investments to deliver combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) have transformed a fatal infectious disease into a chronic, treatable disease.
Visa is to work with Bharti Airtel to extend its mobile money service to seven markets in Africa, including Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles and Tanzania.
New mobile payment platforms can provide a foundation for financial inclusion in South Africa and beyond, says David Abbott of Fiserv, a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions. But who will build the robust ecosystem required to fulfill their potential?
The Fund reached 5.5 million low-income and rural borrowers in 15 countries