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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Friday, August 28, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria Is Africa’s Top Remittance Recipient Nation

Source: BusinessDay

MobileMoneyAfrica will host the RemitAfrica conference on Nov 04 – 05 in Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, Africa’s largest remittance nation.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — Latin America

Vaccine Reminder Company Tested in Developing World

Source: Cornell Chronicle

A Cornellian’s nonprofit that helps parents in developing countries remember their children’s vaccination dates with bracelets has completed an initial study in Peru and Ecuador and is moving into trials and evaluations in three countries on three continents.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa Shines in Financial Inclusion Report

Source: BDlive

SAS CORES high on a global index measuring progress in financial inclusion in emerging markets.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

Tuberculosis Video Game Battles World’s Oldest Disease

Source: Develop

A new video game from Abertay University students and University of St Andrews scientists is taking on humanity’s oldest disease, tuberculosis.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

WHO Promotes Water, Sanitation to Battle Neglected Tropical Diseases

Source: Reuters

Water, sanitation and hygiene are part of a new World Health Organisation strategy to fight neglected tropical diseases which afflict more than 1.5 billion people, the WHO said on Thursday.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — South Asia

Tough Challenges Await India's Chandrashekhar Ghosh's Bandhan in Its Commercial Bank Avtaar

Source: Firstpost

On Sunday, Kolkata-based microfinance institution (MFI), Bandhan Financial Services formally converted itself into a full service commercial bank, thus becoming the latest private sector bank in the country. Bandhan is one of the two entities, which were given full-service banking licences by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in April, 2014, from a list of 25 aspirants that included big business houses. The other is IDFC.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — South Asia

Oxxy Moves to Launch World’s Largest Transparent, Affordable Hospital Chain

Source: The Times of India

Spending on healthcare is a key component of a household's monthly budget. Any unforeseen illness that requires expert consultation or hospitalization or undergo a medical procedure burdens the pocket.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global Life Expectancy Rises, but People Live Sicker for Longer

Source: Reuters

People around the world are living longer, but many are also living sicker lives for longer, according to a study of all major diseases and injuries in 188 countries.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — South Asia

50th Microfinance Institution Launched in Cambodia

Source: Khmer Times

The Royal Microfinance institution launched its operations in Cambodia on Thursday, bringing the total number of micro-lenders in the kingdom to 50.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Scaling Up Insurance for Resilience in Africa

Source: PreventionWeb

Improved access to insurance can boost the resilience of vulnerable communities to recurrent disasters such as droughts and floods in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

9 African Countries That Score Highest for Financial Inclusion

Source: AFKInsider

Mobile technology has accelerated financial inclusion for the so-called under served — people with inadequate access to traditional banking institutions — according to a newly released Brookings report.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Drinkable Book: The Pages Contain Instructions and Can Be Used as High-Tech Water Filters

Source: TreeHugger

Here's a very clever idea: A book that not only contains information about clean drinking water printed on its pages, but the actual pages themselves can be torn off and used as high-tech filters that will remove 99% of bacteria from the filtered water. The idea came out of Dr. Theresa Dankovich's chemistry PhD work at McGill University in Montreal, during which she invented a new bactericidal silver nanoparticle paper and a green method of producing it using cheap and benign processes. She and her team are now trying to make the Drinkable Book a reality to contribute to the effort to bring clean water to the 663 million people who don't have access to it, according to the World Health Organization/ UNICEF Joint Monitoring Project.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Cocoa Farmers Embrace Telemedicine

Source: Modern Ghana

Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Union - a farmers' cooperative, has introduced a telemedicine project to help effectively tackle the health needs of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — South Asia

A Cheap Modular System Will Provide Better Shelter to Indians With Shoddy Metal Roofs

Source: Co.Exist

Much of the world will go to sleep tonight under a corrugated iron roof, a quite bumpy, ill-fitting way to cover a house. They'll get hot in summer, get no insulation in winter, and the thing will probably crack and corrode before too long.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

34 Indigenous Crops Promoting Health and Feeding the World

Source: Food Tank

Every day, plant species across the globe are disappearing. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately 75 percent of the Earth’s plant genetic resources are now extinct, and another third of plant biodiversity is expected to disappear by 2050. Up to 100,000 plant varieties are currently endangered worldwide.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Is #globaldev Optimism Over Big Data Based More on Hype Than Value?

Source: Devex

As the global development community prepares to finalize a new set of goals and targets for the next 15 years, big data has become a key part of discussions. The post-2015 agenda has 17 sustainable development goals and 169 associated targets, and big data could be essential to monitoring and measuring progress.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: How We Talk About Microfinance: Alex Counts Replies to Dean Karlan

Source: Center for Financial Inclusion

On Sunday, August 23, as I was enjoying some of the final days of summer visiting friends in New Hampshire, I noticed that I had been tagged in a tweet by Dean Karlan, the founder and president of Innovations for Poverty Action. He provided a link to an article about FINCA that included extensive quotes from its CEO, Rupert Scofield. He asked Rupert if he really believed microfinance could reduce terrorism, and asked me what I thought (“whatcha think?” was the precise formulation of his question). Hetweeted again on Monday, asking whether I was “still going to stand by [my] claim that no microcredit leaders make grandiose and overselling impact claims?”
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing Turns Out to Be a Sustainable Business

Source: The Economic Times

Fence-sitters, naysayers, and doubting Thomases amongst investors who always sought proof that impact investing - investments made with the intent of generating environmental and social benefit alongside a financial return - is worthwhile and profi table can now write out their cheques without losing sleep.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

WHO to study use of sanctions as part of global epidemic response

Source: Yahoo

The World Health Organization said Tuesday it will study the idea of using sanctions to punish countries that do not comply with global health regulations, following widespread failures in the response to the Ebola outbreak.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — South Asia

Government launches telemedicine initiative 'Sehat'

Source: The Economic Times

To provide health care facilities in rural areas, the government today launched a telemedicine initiative in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals under which people can consult doctors through video link.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — South Asia

Health ministry against task force proposal to hike prices of vital drugs

Source: The Times of India

A government task force has recommended changes in the existing drug price regulation which could result in a spike in prices of essential medicines. These include suggestions to pull several medicines out of price control, which is likely to impact drugs used in treatment of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases as well as antibiotics.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Five Ugandan students invented an app to diagnose vaginal infections at home

Source: Fusion

Five university students majoring in information technology and engineering have invented a device and accompanying app, which they’ve named the Her Health BVKit, to allow women to test for vaginal infections at home.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Reaching the Base of the Pyramid — and cutting carbon in the process

Source: GreenBiz

Ghana’s per capita income is $31 a week, according to the World Bank. But the roughly 500 female farmers who cultivate and harvest the leaves of moringa oleifera trees in the Tamale region of the West African nation earn five times that amount. That's because the women supply ground leaves of the nutrient-rich moringa plant to Oakland-based Kuli Kuli Foods, which markets and sells energy bars, teas and nutrition supplement powders made from the "superfood" at stores including Whole Foods.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Safaricom plays hardball in Equitel-M-Pesa Battle

Source: All Africa

In one single move, Safaricom has potentially pulled the rug from under Equity Bank's poorly hidden plan to eat their lunch, dinner and breakfast.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Smartphones help Tanzanian women secure land rights

Source: Trust.org

In an effort to help Tanzania's authorities secure village land rights, USAID launched a project to map geographic and demographic data using mobile phone technology, with the aim of speeding up land rights registration.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: MoneyGram Expands Mobile Money Choices in Africa

Source: PR Newswire

New agreement enables customers to receive money directly to M-Pesa accounts in Tanzania.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — South Asia

What payments banks, Bandhan can do for financial inclusion in India

Source: Daily O

There have two big developments in financial inclusion in the country in the past few days, whose significance stands out despite the din arising from the recent global stock market crash.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Ex-Duke CEO: Here's how to power the world

Source: USA Today

Jim Rogers spent 25 years as the chief executive of electric and natural gas utilities in the U.S., the last seven as head of Duke Energy, the biggest electric power company in the country. Now, in his retirement from the energy business, Rogers has taken on a new mission: Bringing electricity to the 1.2 billion people in the world who live without it.
TAGS:energy
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Tech-based social solutions competition looking for nominations

Source: Social Story

The competition, organized by Siemens Stiftung, seeks to identify innovative technical solutions to tackle global challenges in basic supply in the developing world.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

West Africa’s air pollution is reaching dangerously high levels—and we don’t know the worst of it

Source: Quartz

In Lagos, smog has quickly become another aspect of city life. In the city of more than 21 million people – known to some as “Africa’s first city” – the majority of residents live near industrial plants, breathing in exhaust from thousands of cars and millions of generators providing power to the city.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — South Asia

Medicine in India: 'Qualified Quacks' and a Baffling Drug Landscape

Source: Vice News

In India, stories of doctors being drunk, using rusty instruments or bicycle pumps during surgery, or ordering unjustified procedures are increasingly common.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

Turn on your sensors, development is about to go 'wearable'

Source: Devex

They range from the simple to the astounding, the familiar to the science fictional. Sensors are all around us, capturing information and turning it into something else: an electrical signal, the basis for a decision, a diagnosis, a warning.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

Fast paper test detects three diseases at once

Source: SciDevNet

A quick, paper-based blood test which can simultaneously detect the Ebola, dengue and yellow fever viruses has shown promising results in tests, say researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

5 Smart, Sustainable Innovations Ready to Take Over the Developing World

Source: Take Part

The social enterprises will receive mentoring from venture capitalists and entrepreneurs on how to scale their ideas.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — South Asia

India ranks 9th in Brookings financial inclusion scorecard - but 1st in country commitment

Source: Live Mint

India ranked ninth out of 21 countries for its overall financial and digital inclusion efforts, according to the 2015 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) Report and Scorecard that was launched on Tuesday.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

How the Global Stock Market Selloff Will Affect Crowdfunding

Source: Entrepreneur

While this “of the people, for the people, by the people” approach to raising money may see itself as divorced from anything happening on Wall Street, that’s hardly the case.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

Facebook rolls out 'Donate' button for nonprofits

Source: Mashable

The social network is rolling out a "Donate" button for all nonprofits to use on their Facebook Pages and link ads.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Meet Moringa, The African Superfood That's Healthier Than Kale

Source: Fast Company

It's packed with calcium, protein, and vitamins — and putting it in your smoothie will also send money to African farmers.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Making a More Modern Diaphragm

Source: The Atlantic

How the new, very purple “Caya” is trying to make an old-fashioned birth-control option relevant again.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

To save forests, a tea factory brews up a new way to dry tea

Source: Christian Science Monitor/Thomson Reuters Foundation

The first thing that strikes you as you enter the Makomboki Tea Factory is the air. It's clear, absent of the dark smoke that billows from the boilers of Kenya's other tea factories. Of the 66 tea factories under the management of the Kenya Tea Development Authority, Makomboki is the only one that doesn't use firewood in the processing of its tea.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Payment Solutions Provider ePaisa Incorporates Bitcoin Payments

Source: News BTC

ePaisa, an Indian payment processor that offers mobile based cash and card payment applications for small and medium businesses has now included bitcoin as one of the payment options.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Consumers lose out as Safaricom and Equity tariff wars intensify

Source: Standard Digital

A fresh storm is brewing between Kenya’s financial services giants, Safaricom and Equity Bank, over the rates being levied to consumers making transactions across the two service providers.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

5 tech startup ideas that Kenya can export

Source: Capital FM

Having pioneered mobile money solutions like MPesa and crowd-sourcing platform Ushahidi, Kenya’s innovative, resilient and global-looking tech community is working on the next big thing.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Who Said Big Foundations Can’t Change? Four Takeaways from MacArthur’s Makeover

Source: Inside Philanthropy

Last week, the foundation announced a major streamlining of its priorities; this week it gave a glimpse of how it would operate by unveiling a “big bet” on curbing climate change. Here are four takeaways from this makeover worth spotlighting, along with one question to ponder.
Monday, August 24, 2015 — South Asia

Bharti Airtel and Uber Announce First-of-its-Kind Strategic Partnership

Source: Financial Express

As part of this partnership, Uber riders across India can now pay for their trips using Airtel mobile wallet service – Airtel Money.
Friday, August 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

VC investing boom neglects startups tackling poverty

Source: San Jose Mercury News

The venture capital investing boom has sent billions of dollars to startups that serve the upper crust of society with an app to deliver your laundry or order a valet to park your car, yet many VCs continue to resist investing in viable businesses bringing toilets, water and electricity to the rural poor.
Friday, August 21, 2015 — South Asia

Intellecap Impact Investment Network and Rianta Capital invest Rs 10 million in Sampurn(e)arth Environmental Solutions

Source: Your Story

Intellecap Impact Investment Network has invested Rs 10 million in Mumbai-based waste management company Sampurn(e)arth in syndication with Zurich-based family office Rianta Capital and Primarc Group Director Siddharth Pansari of ah! Ventures.
Friday, August 21, 2015 — South Asia

Indian government committed to reviving postal department through payments banking

Source: Times of India

Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said the government will revive the postal department by using over 1.5 lakh post offices for furthering financial inclusion.
Friday, August 21, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: Payments Banks - A game-changing idea for financial inclusion in India

Source: Business Insider

Over the next decade or so, payment banks' functioning has the potential to bring about another revolution in the banking sector.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — South Asia

Mobile payments app Paytm to allow Indian consumers to bargain with merchants

Source: Economic Times

Mobile payments and e-commerce application Paytm is launching a messenger function directly connecting buyers and sellers.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

A smile boosts the chances of getting a microloan, say Stanford psychologists

Source: Stanford

Stanford psychologists found that applicants for microloans are more likely to win approval if the photograph they send along with the application evokes a positive emotional response.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

6 Questions To Ask Before You Invest In A Social Enterprise

Source: Fast CoExist

If you’re thinking about joining this growing movement, here's what you need to consider before you get started.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — Asia Pacific

A Hundred Apps Bloom in China as Millions Bank on Their Phones

Source: Bloomberg

Consumers are skipping straight from cash to mobile finance.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan banks take on M-PESA in fight for money transfer billions

Source: The Daily Nation

Kenya Bankers Association plans to launch an interbank mechanism to enable interoperability across member banks for all retail payment streams, aiming to eat into M-PESA’s market share.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — South Asia

Indian mobile operators feature strongly among 'payments bank' license winners

Source: Mobile World Live

Bidders linked to the country’s top three mobile operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular – as well as newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm and Telenor were among eleven winners of payments bank licenses in India.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Scientists say e-cigarettes could have health impacts in developing world

Source: Stanford Medicine News Center

Two researchers are urging greater regulatory oversight of e-cigarettes in poorer countries, where sales of the devices are growing.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Walgreens, Unilever campaign aims to bring clean water to Kenya

Source: Chicago Tribune

Washing your hair in Chicago could help bring clean water to rural Kenya. That's the premise behind a new charitable campaign launched by Walgreens and Unilever that is enlisting customers to buy into the cause with shampoo, deodorant and body wash.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — South Asia

Implementation, budget changes needed for Swachh Barat to work

Source: Devex

Nearly a year into India’s ambitious plan to end open defecation by 2019 and nongovernmental organizations fear it’s being derailed by an overwhelming focus on building toilets instead of changing behavior.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

3 companies turning modern luxuries into clean water initiatives

Source: Mashable

For many of us, the little comforts of everyday life include a piping-hot cup of coffee to kickstart the morning, or a glass of Merlot at the end of a tough day in the office. But there are countless places around the world where a simple glass of clean, drinkable water is considered a luxury.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — South Asia

Death rate goes up with distance from district hospital

Source: The Indian Express

Better access to district hospitals may have prevented close to 50,000 of the estimated 72,000 deaths in India due to acute or sudden abdominal conditions in 2010, according to a study published in Lancet Global Health journal.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — South Asia

Report: Four in five households in Bangladesh have access to financial services

Source: The Daily Star

Four in five households in Bangladesh have access to financial services, thanks to improvements in the networks of banks and microfinance institutions as well as a booming mobile banking segment, according to a new study.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Norwegian fund giant to sell its stakes in companies over environmental concerns

Source: CBC

Norway's $1.15 trillion Cdn sovereign-wealth oil fund announced this week that it will sell its stakes in four Asian companies over environmental concerns, underlining how willing it is to take an activist approach to companies that fail to meet its ethical standards.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Are African leaders misusing Chinese development finance?

Source: International Growth Centre

A new study suggests that China's hands-off approach may enable recipient governments to prioritize projects according to personal or political concerns rather than the needs of the recipient population.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Alibaba Launches Mobile App in China to Lower Entry Barriers to Investing

Source: Bloomberg

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s finance affiliate unveiled a wealth-management app on Tuesday to help less well-heeled Chinese buy into hundreds of funds and track stocks from Hong Kong to the Nasdaq off their smartphones.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — South Asia

India's MFI credit bureaus comb client data to smooth microloans

Source: Live Mint

Three years after India’s first credit bureau for microfinance institutions (MFIs) opened shop, teething troubles continue to prevent lenders and borrowers from making full use of it.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — South Asia

Call for more weaponry against ‘neglected malaria’

Source: SciDevNet

The World Health Organization has called for more research on ways to battle malaria caused by the Plasmodium vivax parasite, in the wake of a surge of infections in Western India.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: Malaria as a Catalyst for Change in Myanmar

Source: Roll Call

In Washington D.C., recently, more than a dozen senior officials and politicians from Myanmar, some from groups with histories of deep mutual distrust, joined together in an extraordinary effort: to eliminate malaria from their deeply fragmented country. This is move that could have a dramatic effect on the global fight against the deadly parasitic disease.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — South Asia

Researchers from India and China empowered to provide CVD care through Smart Mobile App

Source: Express Healthcare

In a first dual-country trail, researchers from India and China have together discovered cost-effective ways to improve the quality of primary care and clinical outcomes in resource-limited settings through smart mobile application which could have major benefits for the general population who suffer known cardiovascular diseases.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — South Asia

Government encouraging foreign investment in Vietnam healthcare

Source: Enterprise Innovation

Vietnam’s healthcare market expenditure is expected to grow from $12.90 billion in 2014 to $27.48 billion in 2020 or a compound annual growth rate of 13.4 percent, according to research analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: 73% of Investment Professionals Use ESG Information When Making Investment Decisions

Source: Business Wire

Almost three-quarters of investment professionals worldwide (73 percent) take environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues into consideration in the investment process, according to the CFA Institute ESG Survey.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

5 African Cleantech Startups You Need To Watch

Source: Forbes

African entrepreneurs and technologists are coming up with solutions to solve their own energy problems.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Smart Campaign Now Serves More Than 20 Million Low-income Clients

Source: PR Newswire

Momentum for Smart Campaign Certification Accelerates; Six Million ‘Protected’ Clients Added in Last Six Months.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — South Asia

10 startups that are attempting to unseat cash through digital payments in India

Source: Economic Times

In India, 95% of all payments have been made through cash - but a number of factors could catalyze a digital shift.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific leads the way as mobile payments head towards US $1 trillion

Source: IT Wire

Mobile payments globally will rocket to US$1 trillion in value by 2017, up from an estimated $500 million this year.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 — South Asia

MobiKwik and StoreKing bring financial inclusion to rural India

Source: Can-India News

MobiKwik, India’s largest independent mobile payments network, today announced a new partnership with StoreKing that expands MobiKwik’s cash-less and card-less payment management to 10,000 retail stores in 600 small towns and 5,000 villages.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Airtel is losing its fight against Safaricom for Kenya’s fast-growing mobile market

Source: Quartz

The telecom company is struggling to put a dent in Safaricom’s dominance, but they are getting left behind.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Group That Shelters Trafficked Girls In India Wins $10,000 Prize From A Social Enterprise

Source: Forbes

Social enterprise CommonBond, which runs a business plan competition for social entrepreneurial-minded MBAs, just held its second contest. The winner of the $10,000 prize: Sanlaap North America, a nonprofit that helps to rescue human trafficking victims and provides them with housing, medical care, therapy and legal aid in Calcutta; it also runs for-profit Zesa, which trains and employs residents of their shelters and other girls and young women, helping them learn marketable skills, and also funds Sanlaap’s operations.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Venture Capital Investing Boom Neglects Startups Tackling Poverty

Source: San Jose Mercury News

The venture capital investing boom has sent billions of dollars to startups that serve the upper crust of society, yet many VCs continue to resist investing in viable businesses bringing toilets, water and electricity to the rural poor.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Viewpoint: The Ebola Vaccine We Needed

Source: The New York Times

About 27,000 people in West Africa have been infected with the Ebola virus and more than 11,000 of them have died since the outbreak began last year. Many could have been saved if an effective vaccine had been available. But the world relies on drug companies to create new vaccines and medications, and they have no financial incentive to do so for diseases that mostly affect poor countries. Clearly, the world needs a better mechanism for vaccine development.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — South Asia

China Retreats to Financial Shadows to Boost Economic Growth

Source: Reuters

On a sweltering day in August, the towering ferris wheel and massive roller coaster of China's Jiyanghu Ecological Park, a two-hour train ride from Shanghai, stand eerily silent.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Why the United Nations Doesn’t Pay Its Interns

Source: The Washington Post

Given all the dark and terrible events happening around the world right now, the plight of a 22-year-old living in a tent in Geneva may seem fairly inconsequential. And yet, the story of David Hyde – an unpaid United Nations intern who set up camp by Lake Geneva to save money – has clearly struck a chord with many all around the world. It's already had some small consequences, too: Hyde has resigned from his internship due to the media pressure.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — South Asia

Can Microfinance Help Boost Sanitation Coverage?

Source: The Guardian

The time when microfinance was seen as the miracle cure to lift people out of poverty is long gone. The funding crisis in India in 2010 and evidence of mixed impacts from microfinance have contributed to a greater understanding of both its strengths and weaknesses. While microfinance is usually associated with income generation, rather than taps and toilets, growing evidence shows that it could be a solution for funding sanitation facilities in developing countries.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Health Solutions for Rural India

Source: Livemint

How do you design a developmental solution or provide a digital tool for a poor and inaccessible area where visitors are tracked by Maoists? An area so remote that barely any telecom network works, where more than 90% of the population lives in villages.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Communications Helping Humanitarian Organizations in Tanzania

Source: ITWeb Africa

Tanzania's rapid uptake of mobile phones and massive investment in rural network coverage is helping disaster and humanitarian organisations in the country speedily disseminate and collect information.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: TPP's Outcome Pivotal for Future of Global Biomedical Innovation

Source: The Hill

After seven years of wrangling toward the final terms of an ambitious free trade agreement that will join 12 Asia-Pacific nations, only the thorniest of market access and intellectual property issues remain unresolved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Of these, perhaps the most contentious concerns how long pharmaceutical companies should have exclusive intellectual property rights covering the clinical trial data they compile as they develop novel biologic medicines. U.S. negotiators have stood fast in advocating for 12 years of data protection — the standard that Congress enshrined into U.S. law following extensive deliberation — while other TPP parties have sought to limit the regulatory data protection period to as little as five to seven years.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

With an Eye to Impact, Investing Through a ‘Gender Lens’

Source: The New York Times

Ellen Remmer had wanted to align her investments with her values for years, seeking to put her money into stocks and bonds that would have an impact beyond the returns. For her, this meant investing in organizations that either improved the lot of women and girls or helped the environment.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — South Asia

State Bank of India to launch mobile wallet

Source: DNA India

India’s largest lender, State Bank of India is slated to launch its mobile wallet, SBI Buddy, on Tuesday.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — South Asia

Big Response to Government’s Low-Cost Insurance Schemes in India

Source: The Hindu Business Line

The low-premium life and accident insurance schemes introduced by the government recently have elicited huge response, attracting 11 crore subscribers in just three months.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why drug companies are betting big on 'pharmerging' countries

Source: Fortune

Developing countries like China, Brazil and India will drive nearly half of the growth in drug spending in the near future. Here’s how Big Pharma could play the trend.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Can randomized trials eliminate global poverty?

Source: Nature

A new generation of economists is trying to transform global development policy through the power of randomized controlled trials.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

County of Santa Clara Launches California's First Pay for Success Project

Source: Third Sector Capital

Project Welcome Home will provide housing and supportive services for the chronically homeless and aims to improve quality of life and reduce reliance on costly government services.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New $35 million competition will enable greater financial inclusion for smallholder farmers in Africa

Source: Graphic Online

The MasterCard Foundation has announced the opening of a US$35 million Scaling Competition under its Fund for Rural Prosperity.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — South Asia

Bill Gates to Narendra Modi: You Need to Generate New Healthcare Models for India

Source: Firstpost

After over a year in power, the Narendra Modi government's decisions to cut federal welfare spending on the poorest of India's 1.25 billion people have come in for a sharp criticism, including from within his cabinet.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

With a Billion Africans Set to Shop Online, a New Wave of Start-ups Is Looking to Cash In

Source: Quartz

Africa’s middle class is rising and they have money to spend. About a third of the continent spends between $4 to $20 a day—a group that is expected to grow to 42% by 2060, according to data from the Africa Development Bank (pdf). That’s more than a billion people.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Early Morning Call: How One Entrepreneur Is Taking on the Money Transfer Giants

Source: Forbes

Telephones have always been a fundamental part of the remittance process, Ahmed Ismail says with a wry laugh; when they ring early in the morning, it tends to be costly.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

The New Math of Sustainable Investing

Source: The Atlantic

On May 17, 1984, Warren Buffett gave away the secret that has made his face the first result when you Google “the greatest investor of all time.” He opened a speech with the stories of ten investors, including himself, whose portfolios consistently outperformed the S&P 500. It’s no coincidence, Buffet insisted1, that their careers shared a common thread: tutelage under Benjamin Graham, who, as it happens, is the second person who comes up in the Google search.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Five Mistakes That Social Entrepreneurs Make When Crafting Their Brand

Source: Skoll Foundation

As a brand developer, I’ve met countless social entrepreneurs all over the world: people with an extreme passion for social or environmental impact. They have a lot to master in order to make their ventures succeed – from setting up a production chain, to technology, HR, complex investment structures, and more.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

GE Commits $14.7 Million to Build Healthcare Skills in East Africa

Source: Justmeans

The global health sector, particularly in the developing countries, faces critical workforce shortages. Africa ranks the lowest in the availability of health personnel. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 12 percent of the world’s population and bears 25 percent of the world’s burden of diseases, but has only three percent of the world’s health workforce.
Friday, August 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Disruptors Are Forcing Change in the Remittance Industry

Source: Ventures Africa

Remittances to Africa have grown rapidly in recent times, and it forms an integral part of the $500 billion global money transfer market. This is because several African nations rely heavily on money sent home by friends and relatives working abroad. Hundreds of Africansare migrating daily to keep growing the influx. But the biggest gainers in this have for long being a few firms, whose near-monopoly costs the continent about $2 billion annually in remittance fees. However, a new breed of companies are causing much needed disruption in the money transfer market and are putting consumers back in control of their money.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: India’s Financial Inclusion Leader IFMR Holdings Raises $25m from Accion, LeapFrog and Lok

Source: Accion

IFMR Holdings, a leading financial inclusion platform in India, has announced that they have raised US $25 million in equity from Accion, a financial inclusion pioneer, LeapFrog Investments, a specialist investor in emerging-market financial services, and Lok Capital, an Indian impact investment firm.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bid protest denied on largest-ever USAID award

Source: Devex

The Government Accountability Office has denied a bid protest filed in response to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s award decision on the Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management project, the agency’s largest-ever contract, valued at $9.5 billion.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ford designs Smart Mobility in urban and rural Africa

Source: Automotive Business Review

U.S. automotive giant Ford has geared up to extend Smart Mobility for connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles and big data through Ford vehicles for reaching out to under-served communities in urban and rural Africa. The plan incorporates Data Driven Healthcare with a view to improving healthcare services in rural areas.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Whatever Happened to the Machine That Turns Feces Into Water?

Source: Gates Notes

Earlier this year, I shared a video where I drank water made from feces. (My review: It was delicious.) Today the machine that produced the water, the Janicki Omni Processor – or JOP – is in Dakar, Senegal, as part of a pilot project that could ultimately save lives and reduce disease in poor countries.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A Solar Power-Charging Backpack Made From Recycled Plastic

Source: Forbes

Fledgling social enterprise Rethaka sells backpacks for school kids that do a few things at once: Made from recycled plastic bags, they first of all address the plague of waste from that material. And with a charger powered by solar energy, they provide light for children who lack electricity at home, while also reducing the use of kerosene, which causes a great many accidents and illnesses. Its CEO, 22-year-old Thato Kgatlhanye, founded the company and developed the product, called Repurpose Schoolbags, while attending a university in Johannessburg, South Africa.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: The New Frontier of Non-Communicable Diseases

Source: The Clinton Foundation

There was a time when non-communicable diseases (NCDs) seemed too exotic to matter in slum areas like Kibera, Nairobi; Dharavi, Mumbai; or Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince. Until recently, the global health community has focused on immediate threats, lifting millions out of poverty and preventing deaths throughout the world. It’s worth celebrating.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa’s Leading Women in Tech 2015

Source: IT News Africa

South Africa paid tribute to women across the country on National Woman’s Day, which was held on 9 August 2015.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MasterCard Foundation to Invest in Ugandan Companies

Source: New Vision

Uganda is among eight countries set to receive USD50m (Sh177b) by the Master Card Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity to fund innovations aimed at improving access to finance in rural populations in sub Saharan Africa.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M-Pesa and the Rise of the Global Mobile Money Market

Source: Forbes

Most people probably don’t think of Kenya as an innovation and technology hub, but in 2007 it became the launching pad for M-Pesa, a transformativemobile phone-based platform for money transfer and financial services. Since then, M-Pesa has undergone explosive growth: in 2013, a staggering 43 percent of Kenya’s GDP flowed through M-Pesa, with over 237 million person-to-person transactions. M-Pesa is nearly ubiquitous in the daily lives of Kenyans due to a range of services that include money deposit and withdrawal, remittance delivery, bill payment, and microcredit provision.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Service a First for Burundi, ‘Just Like an Instant Message’

Source: AFKInsider

London-based money transfer services provider WorldRemit has partnered with Zimbabwe-based EcoCash service to launch instant mobile money transfers in Burundi.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Latin America

Ecuador’s New Virtual Currency Is a Source of Pride, Worry

Source: Miami Herald

Jaime Rojas keeps his antiquated cellphone on the dashboard of his taxi. He can’t use it to play games or check Facebook, but his “dumb phone” has recently become a powerful tool: He can use it to buy gas, receive fares and send money to family.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'We Want to Turn Poo Into Gold': How SMS Is Transforming Senegal's Sanitation

Source: The Guardian

On a stormy day in Dakar, Tina Gomis, a local woman in Sicap Mbao, laughs at the idea of selling her own excrement to the government. But this may soon become a reality in a city with a reputation for terrible waste management.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — South Asia

Mobile Wallet Fraud Set to Rise in India: Deloitte

Source: The Economic Times

As E-commerce firms continue to become popular and more people have started using online payments, frauds in mobile payments too are increasing, said a report from Deloitte India.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How A Toilet Franchise Business Is Cleaning Up Kenya's Slums

Source: Fast Company

When the government isn't providing clean sanitation, Sanergy is showing that there's an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to step in.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A Milestone in Africa: No Polio Cases in a Year

Source: New York Times

It has been one full year since polio was detected anywhere in Africa, a significant milestone in global health that has left health experts around the world quietly celebrating.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Latin America

Why Microfinance Loans Have Such High Rates

Source: The Wall Street Journal

In recent years, microfinance—distributing small loans to the poor -- has been at the center of an intense debate about the ethics of charging low-income customers high interest rates and then making a profit from them.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Rapid Rise of Impact Investing

Source: BD Live

Investing in companies that create social, environmental and economic value is a trend that has been increasing worldwide. This type of triple-bottom-line investing is commonly called impact investing and last year, financial services giant JPMorgan estimated that the market was worth $60bn worldwide — and growing.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Latin America

Mexico Bans Giveaways of Baby Formula at Hospitals

Source: BBC

The Mexican government has banned free baby formula at hospitals in an effort to encourage breastfeeding.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Will Your Facebook Friends Make You a Credit Risk?

Source: National Journal

It might be time to start unfriending some of your buddies on Facebook.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Disrupting Remittances Through Mobile Money in Uganda

Source: Disrupt Africa

The money remittance industry sees over US$34 billion sent to sub-Saharan Africa each year, accounting for an average of 5 per cent of GDP on a country-by-country basis. However, for those sending and receiving money, the systems in place are inefficient and time-consuming.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Pope's Climate Push At Odds With U.S. Catholic Oil Investments

Source: Reuters

Pope Francis heartened environmentalists around the world in June when he urged immediate action to save the planet from the effects of climate change, declaring that the use of "highly polluting fossil fuels needs to be progressively replaced without delay."
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: An Unhealthy Health Card

Source: The Tribune

A high-decibel emphasis on economic growth notwithstanding, a multitude of states continues to do poorly on the indicators of social development, especially health. An unhealthy workforce cannot build a healthy economy. Over the past decade, the cost of treatment has seen a double-digit rise, far outpacing average inflation, in both rural and urban India, according to a recently published National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — South Asia

In India, Ending Open Defecation Requires More Than Just Behavior Change

Source: Devex

It’s been 10 months since India officially launched Swachh Bharat, a national cleanliness drive, which, among other things, aims to put an end to the practice of open defecation in the country by 2019.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: I spent a weekend at Google talking with nerds about charity. I came away … worried.

Source: Vox

In the beginning, "effective altruism" was mostly about fighting global poverty. Now it's becoming more and more about funding computer science research to forestall an artificial intelligence–provoked apocalypse.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Low-fee private schooling: what do we really know?

Source: OxFam Blog

In an age of quick fixes and silver bullets we are uncomfortable with shades of grey. But like it or not, it’s complicated.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Shake It Off: How the Sustainable Development Goals Grew Up and Got Out of Nashville

Source: Development Policy Centre

I love country music. I even went to see Dolly Parton in Sydney a few years ago, when she came to Australia and brought her very own star-spangled retro tour bus.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Paytm Passes 100M Users

Source: Mobile World Live

Indian firm Paytm, whose parent is backed by Ant Financial, claimed it is the first mobile wallet in the country to pass 100 million users.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

An American Company Eyes Revolutionizing African Healthcare Management

Source: New Business Ethiopia

AvailaMed, a United States based Information Communication Technology (ICT) Company, is set to launch its Electronic Health Record (EHR) health data recording and Business Intelligent (BI) Reporting System in three health facilities in Ethiopia, the company’s official announced.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Mobile Banking Apps in Developing Nations Have Weak Security

Source: ITworld

The developing world is increasingly using mobile banking apps to move money, but new research shows those apps are often poorly coded and pose security risks.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

11 Billion People by 2100 Will Greatly Impact Global Health

Source: Healthline

A growing global population highlights the need for family planning resources, healthcare workers, and better access to healthcare.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Latin America

Ecuador Is the World's First Country With a Public Digital Cash System

Source: Co.Exist

The runaway success of mobile money products like M-Pesa, which first took off in Kenya, has inspired dozens of copycats around the world. Many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America now have services allowing people to store and transfer money using their cellphones. But there's something different about Ecuador's new Sistema de Dinero Electrónico. It's being operated not by a private phone carrier or financial company, but Ecuador's left-leaning government.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria Has Attained HIV, Maternal Mortality MDGs Targets Ahead of Deadline, Govt Asserts

Source: allAfrica

Ahead of the September, 2015 target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Federal Government said Nigeria has attained the targets set on HIV/AIDs and Maternal Mortality in the country.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A Quiet Revolution in the Treatment of Childhood Diarrhea

Source: The New York Times

Far from the world’s fears about Ebola and MERS, a quiet revolution is taking place in the diagnosis of a disease much more prosaic but far more threatening: childhood diarrhea. After pneumonia, diarrhea is the deadliest threat to infants worldwide, killing about 700,000 every year.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Fintech firm takes biometric microfinance tool to Uganda

Source: Planet Biometrics

Awamo, a fintech firm firm formerly known as BCB Biometric Credit Bureau, has revealed that it is taking a biometric microfinance solution it has developed to Uganda thanks to $550,000 it has raised in Series-A funding.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Rising Fintech Investment in Asia Suggests Room for Bitcoin Opportunities

Source: News BTC

More and more companies are tapping into the Asian market when it comes to financial technology investment, as the region has seen growth in remittances while some countries have weak banking sectors. This opens up a market gap that could make room for bitcoin opportunities later on.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: TIAA-CREF Expands Suite of Responsible Investment Funds

Source: Business Wire

Social Choice International Equity and Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Funds launched in response to growing investor interest.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

One Man's Quest to Combat Counterfeit Drugs — With a Suitcase

Source: NPR

In a small house in rural Kenya, a young woman gives birth to a healthy little girl. Before anyone can celebrate, the mother starts bleeding. The woman will die soon if the bleeding doesn't stop.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — South Asia

Eco-friendly sanitary pads made of banana fibre – Saathi pads’s solution to menstrual waste

Source: Social Story

Saathi was founded by Kristin Kagetsu, Amrita Saigal, Grace Kane, Ashutosh Kumar and Zachary Rose. The aim was to develop a small scale manufacturing process that would produce affordable sanitary protection from waste banana tree fibre.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: It's time to better understand what makes primary health care work

Source: Devex

Recent crises — from the earthquake in Nepal to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa — have been wake-up calls: too many primary health care systems are under-resourced and fragmented, leaving countries unprepared to reach everyone with needed health services. This is true when disasters strike, and it’s also true in times of relative calm.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — South Asia

Visa to launch payments service for mobile phones in September in India

Source: MediaNama

Close on the the heels of MasterCard launching a digital wallet for Citibank India customers, rival global payments gateway Visa will be starting a new payments service for Indian customers in September.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — South Asia

Silicon Valley VC firm Social+Capital Partnership lines up over $1B for India by 2025

Source: VC Circle

Four-year-old Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Social+Capital Partnership plans to invest over $1 billion in Indian companies in sectors such as financial services, energy, infrastructure and agriculture.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Latin America

Mexico’s Anti-Poverty Programmes Are Losing the Battle

Source: Inter Press Service

While most of Latin America has been reducing poverty, Mexico is moving in the other direction: new official figures reflect an increase in the number of poor in the last two years, despite the billions of dollars channeled into a broad range of programmes aimed at combating the problem.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Asia Pacific

OPINION: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - Much ado about very little

Source: DevPolicy Blog

For the AIIB to be an effective political instrument, it needs to be a successful financial and development institution. That will be very hard to fully pull off.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

INTERVIEW: GiveDirectly co-founder, on what its $25M grant will mean for cash transfers to the poor

Source: Devex

A Q&A with GiveDirectly co-founder Paul Niehaus, on how GiveDirectly hopes to improve individual lives and reshape international giving.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — South Asia

Google, Apple, Xiaomi and Foxconn Rush in as India Becomes World’s Hottest Smartphone Market

Source: VentureBeat

China may be the world’s biggest mobile market, but all eyes in the tech industry are now turning toward India, with its rapidly growing appetite for smartphones.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Phone Usage to Drive Africa’s Economy

Source: Ghana Web

Information communication technologists are optimistic that mass mobile phone usage launched in Africa, will drive the continent’s economy and make the millennial generation to become the leading tellers of the emerging app economy.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Government, Ghana Medical Association Negotiations Break Down

Source: Ghana Web

Ghana's health sector is destined for serious crisis this week as attempts to resolve the current strike by public health sector doctors failed to yield any positive results.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

Menstruation Holds Back Millions of Poor Women. Does This Outfit Have a Solution?

Source: Inside Philanthropy

If it's true that you can't talk about global development without discussing gender equality, it's also true that you can’t dive deep into gender in poor countries without talking about menstruation. However, the international conversation on this topic tends to be in hushed tones. Sometimes, even the most pragmatic global health and development experts get uncomfortable when the subject comes up.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

In a Push for Financial Inclusion, the eBay Foundation and a Focus on Entrepreneurs

Source: Inside Philanthropy

Pierre Omidyar established the eBay Foundation in 1998 with an endowment of pre-IPO eBay stock. The foundation has always been modest in size, which is probably why we haven't written about it before. It had assets of $30 milllion in a recent year, and gives out between $3 million and $5 million annually to a limited set of grantees.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Latin America

Latin America: Low-Income Millennials Present Big Market Opportunities

Source: Forbes

Hardly a day passes without a new article on how businesses are analyzing the needs, wants and spending trends of millennials. In the US alone, millennials (or Generation Y), those born between 1980 and 2000, represent 30 percent of the population. By 2025 they will be 75 percent of the workforce.The impact that millennials are starting to have on the global economy, the environment, and politics is enormous.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why South Africa's Health Minister Is So Worried About India Caving in to Big Pharma

Source: Scroll.in

A big supplier of cheap lifesaving drugs to developing nations, India admirably balances public health needs with private profits and innovation. But it is under pressure to change this model.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Smaller Players Challenge Telcos for Piece of Kenya's Mobile Money Market

Source: Standard Digital News

Kenya’s mobile money transfer market is headed for interesting times, with the latest results from the regulator showing small ‘outlier’ firms eating into the market dominated by the well-established players.
Friday, August 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: Workshop Enhances Use of Mobile Phones to Detect Diseases

Source: AllAfrica

Health experts from the African continent and beyond are meeting in Tanzania at a workshop to enhance community-based disease outbreak detection and response in East and Southern Africa.
Friday, August 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

How to market health — and make markets healthier

Source: Devex

With the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development now set in stone, one question has come to the fore among the ranks of the global development community: What will be the impact on human development and rights issues of the so-called new financing mechanisms — blended, nongrant and private sector financing — promoted in the Addis agenda?
Friday, August 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe Caps Bank Interest Rates At 18 Percent

Source: All Africa

Zimbabwe's central bank on Wednesday capped lending rates for finance institutions at 18% and moved in to reform the banking sector in a bid to improve economic activity and enhance stability.
Friday, August 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Report: Kenya “clear hub” for impact investing in East Africa

Source: Disrupt Africa

Kenya is the clear hub for impact investing in East Africa, accounting to more than half the impact capital deployed in the region, according to new research by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and Open Capital Advisors.
Friday, August 7, 2015 — South Asia

Only 15% of Pakistanis Use Digital Financial Services

Source: The Express Tribune

Only 15% of Pakistanis use Digital Financial Services, and there has been no significant increase in the user base or registrations between 2013 and 2014, said a Financial Inclusion Insights (FII) survey report.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — South Asia

India’s missing patients

Source: LiveMint

Lack of awareness and inaccessible healthcare have led to gross under-reporting of illnesses in India.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New Trust 'Kuwa True' Campaign Goes Live

Source: Impact

A super-hip campaign brings a condom brand back from the brink in Kenya.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Experimental gel partially protects against genital herpes

Source: Reuters

An experimental vaginal gel containing a drug used to treat the AIDS virus could prevent half of cases of genital herpes, according to a study done in South Africa. Among women who used tenofovir gel, the annual rate of infection with the genital herpes virus, known as herpes simplex virus type 2 or HSV-2, was 10.2 percent versus a rate of 21 percent for women who used a placebo gel.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: What ‘100 Percent Effective’ Means for That Ebola Vaccine

Source: Wired

Lat week, the medical journal the Lancet published preliminary results on the efficacy of an Ebola vaccine in Guinea, and everybody got really excited – especially about one particular figure. The vaccine, the results suggested, was 100 percent effective at protecting against Ebola ... But that number probably means less than you think it does.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Are we ready for a 'universal' development agenda?

Source: Devex

With so much ambition on the table, the post-2015 agenda could raise some tricky questions about living standards, environmental sustainability, and what exactly rich countries like the United States are agreeing to do over the next 15 years.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom will not be forced to loosen its dominant hold on Kenya’s mobile-money market

Source: Quartz

For a minute there, it looked like Safaricom might have to break up its business.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Three Takeaways From a Massive Tech Grant to Fight Global Poverty

Source: Inside Philanthropy

Why is Good Ventures worth watching closely? For a few reasons, all of which are exemplified in its grant to GiveDirectly, its biggest give to date.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

The $7 trillion solar tsunami in our midst

Source: Eco Business

Solar power costs just keep on falling, and with $7 trillion of investment piling into the sector, the momentum is now unstoppable.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: 10 developments that could transform the future of Indian banking

Source: The Hindu Businessline

With emerging needs in urbanisation, industrialisation, digitisation, education, financial inclusion, and global integration, the following 10 developments will shape the banking industry in India’s journey towards a $20 trillion economy.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — Asia Pacific

China's move to regulate Internet payments sparks concern

Source: The Australian

China is moving to limit the lightly regulated world of internet payments, an initiative that some critics warn could stifle development in one of the most innovative sectors of the economy.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A Baltimore health-tech startup is developing a way to recycle blood

Source: Baltimore Business Journal

Sisu Global Health is developing a medical device that doctors could use to recycle a patient’s blood lost through traumatic internal bleeding. The company later this year will launch a clinical study of the device, called Hemafuse, in partnership with the University of Zimbabwe.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Sustainable development needs sustainable financing — tackling NCDs is no exception

Source: Devex

Each year, 16 million people die prematurely before the age of 70 from NCDs. Strikingly, 4 out of 5 of these deaths occur in developing countries like Kenya, making such diseases one of the major development challenges of the 21st century. If countries don’t change tack on NCDs, an estimated $7 trillion could be lost in developing countries over the next 15 years.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Facebook Co-Founder Giving Millions Directly To The Poor, No Strings Attached

Source: Huffington Post

GiveDirectly's work is receiving a major boost from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, who on Monday announced a $25 million donation through their foundation Good Ventures.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Case for Health As a High-Return Investment

Source: Devex

One of the biggest initiatives to come out of last month’s third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was the Global Financing Facility Trust Fund. Launched in support of the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child initiative, it was able to align $12 billion in public and private resources towards financing country-led five-year investment plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Hewlett Foundation Begins to Distance Itself from Financing Fossil Fuels

Source: Nonprofit Chronicles

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the US’s biggest and most influential foundations, has taken a small step to distance itself from financing fossil fuels.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why banks are betting on the blockchain - not bitcoin - to transform the financial sector

Source: Tech World

Banks are getting increasingly interested in the potential of bitcoin's underlying blockchain technology to reduce the cost of payments and back office costs.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

BNY Mellon and The Forbes Funds Name Winners of $1 Million Social Innovation Challenge

Source: Press Release

UpPrize has named Conversant Labs, Marinus Analytics and PHRQL as the winners of BNY Mellon's $1 million Social Innovation Challenge. The winning ideas will expand digital access for visually-impaired people, help government agencies fight human trafficking, and ensure poor families have access to healthier foods. UpPrize, a unique collaboration between BNY Mellon, the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania and The Forbes Funds, combines impact investing with a research-based social innovation challenge.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

U.N. Targets Trillions of Dollars to Implement Sustainable Development Agenda

Source: Inter Press Service

After more than two years of intense negotiations, the U.N.’s 193 member states have unanimously agreed on a new Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA) with 17 goals — including the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger — to be reached by 2030.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The African Startup Using Phones to Spot Counterfeit Drugs

Source: Bloomberg Business

A Ghanaian entrepreneur thinks he has the answer to Africa’s fake medicine problem.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Latin America

The ketchup sachet-shaped drug saving babies from HIV

Source: BBC Mundo

Inside a foil sachet, which looks more at home in a fast-food restaurant, an exact dose of antiretroviral medicine is helping to protect newborn babies against the threat of infection from their HIV-positive mothers.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — South Asia

Beijing gets 1st private mental hospital

Source: The Times of India

Beijing got its first privately owned mental health clinic on Sunday. This is part of a larger drive by the government to shake up the monopoly of state-owned hospitals in a country where private hospitals have less than one percent market share.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: National Skill Development Corporation, Ennovent to help skilling firms in India get funding

Source: Media Infoline

The initiative aims to create opportunities and aspirations for skilling as an entrepreneurial opportunity in different sectors to fill the demand of trained skilled workforce in the country.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

How California's Asset Pension System Uses Investments To Agitate for Social Change

Source: Barrons

Calpers, the nation’s largest pension fund, offers lessons to families with a bent for social-impact investing, blending ideology with a realistic view.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — South Asia

Breaking the Myths of Microfinance

Source: The Hindu Business Line

A poor woman approaches a microfinance lender along with a couple of her neighbours and friends.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Thirsty for Growth, Liquor Giant Taps African Market

Source: Wall Street Journal

Diageo targets even poorest consumers with liquor made locally and sold cheaply.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global Vaccine-Development Fund Could Save Thousands of Lives, Billions of Dollars

Source: EurekAlert!

Ebola is a preventable disease, and yet a safe and effective vaccine has not been deployed. As with many vaccines, financial barriers persist: pharmaceutical companies see high costs with limited market potential, and government support is lacking. But there may be a solution to this vaccine crisis with the ability to save at-risk populations, according to a perspective piece written by physicians based at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and the Wellcome Trust.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Impact Investors in Africa Are Looking East

Source: Forbes

President Obama’s recent trip to East Africa put the spotlight on a hot area for impact investing. So it’s timely that the Global Impact Investing Network(GIIN), in partnership with Open Capital Advisors, just published a detailed look at impact investing in the region.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

Are Governments 'Paying for Failure' With Social Impact Bonds?

Source: Governing Magazine

Three years ago, New York City launched an ambitious and unprecedented social policy experiment at its jail on Rikers Island. Thousands of teenage inmates began receiving group therapy aimed at improving their moral reasoning by addressing their beliefs and thought processes in a step-by-step treatment. The goal was to reduce the number of repeat offenses once the inmates were released. Academic studies using the method, known as moral reconation therapy, had reported success in reducing recidivism. Still, no one had ever scaled up these studies to accommodate anything like the 9,240 inmates the four-year Rikers Island program aimed to serve. This month, the program is coming to an abrupt end.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why South Africa’s largest mobile network, Vodacom, failed to grow M-Pesa

Source: Quartz

With just one million subscribers at the end of March 2015—the uptake of the mobile money platform M-Pesa has been labelled a failure in South Africa.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Walmart Is Planning to Open Retail Outlets in Nigeria

Source: Quartz

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer by revenue, is in advanced talks to open big box stores in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why One City in Congo Is Astonishingly Stable and Prosperous

Source: The Washington Post

Several years ago, I got a request from some officials at a well-known international organization, wondering if we could chat about the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. After some polite conversation about my own research, my inquisitors got to their questions: Why is the North Kivu city of Butembo so stable? How are members of the Nande ethnic group, by whom Butembo is almost entirely populated, so economically successful? Perhaps most important, could their model be replicated to bring stability and economic growth to other parts of the Congo as part of the project to rebuild the postwar Congolese state?
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Viewpoint: Ebola Vaccine: The Need to Act Now

Source: The New York Times

One year ago West Africa was descending into chaos. As the Ebola death toll approached 1,000 for the first time ever and Liberia closed its borders, the World Health Organization declared the situation an international health emergency. Experimental drugs were cautiously put to use to try to treat those infected, but what was urgently needed to stop the spread was a vaccine. Now, 12 months on, it looks very much like we have one.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

China to Expand Medical Insurance for Major Illnesses

Source: Business Insider

China will expand medical insurance to cover all critical illnesses for all urban and rural residents by the end of the year, the cabinet said on Sunday, the latest step in a plan to fix a healthcare system that has sparked public discontent.
Saturday, August 1, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: E-wallets Won’t Work in India, Says Mswipe Founder

Source: e27

A digital/mobile wallet defeats the very purpose of money, and hence, it is not going to work in India, states Manish Patel, Founder and CEO of mobile point of sale (mPoS) company Mswipe.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Birth Registrations Plummet in Wake of Ebola Epidemic

Source: Inter Press Service

Liberia’s Ebola epidemic may have subsided but its after-effects are still being felt, with tens of thousands of infants going unregistered at birth, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF says.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom Won’t Let Rivals Share M-Pesa

Source: Mediamax Network

Safaricom has maintained it will not allow its mobile money platform, M-Pesa, to be spun off from the parent company, citing security risks for subscribers due to lack of clear guidelines and standards on cross-network cash transfers.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Across Africa, a New Kind of Container Garden Is Changing Women’s Lives

Source: TakePart

Some people have the talent to take a simple idea and adapt it into a solution with far-reaching benefits. Take Veronica Kanyango of Zimbabwe, a grassroots organizer who works in home-based health care and hospice for people with HIV/AIDS. She’s managed to take a couple of bags full or dirt and turn them into an agrarian movement.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

A New Space Race - To Grow Social Enterprise

Source: The Huffington Post

Returning to San Francisco from Milan where I had met some of the 700 international delegates attending the Social Enterprise World Forum, I found my mind wandering to the 'space race' of the 1950s and 1960s. Space became a key battlefield of the Cold War. It was a proving ground for which political-economic system -- the U.S. or the Soviet Union -- had the right to claim its prowess.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Posta Uganda to Launch Financial Services

Source: New Vision

Posta Uganda will launch financial services to use its country wide postal networks to promote financial inclusion especially the unbanked rural communities.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

How Drones Can Improve Medical Care Access

Source: The Washington Post

Drones seem perfect for quick and fast delivery of all sorts of cargo. So why not biomedical specimens?
Friday, July 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Patent Protection for Drugs Puts Pressure on U.S. in Trade Talks

Source: The New York Times

With 12 nations pressing to conclude the largest regional trade accord ever, United States officials find themselves squeezed between activists pressing to secure access to low-cost pharmaceuticals and Republicans who say Congress will reject a deal without strong patent protections for the drug industry.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

The New Market Builders for Health Innovation

Source: Devex

We often criticize the fragmentation of global development into isolated silos: education, governance, agriculture, environment, humanitarian assistance, economic growth. Even within the silos, there are silos.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Healthcare Start-Up Connects Rural Patients With Global Network of Specialists

Source: How We Made It In Africa

The diagnosis of a serious illness takes heavy emotional and financial toll on the sick and their families. Patients also have to make tough decisions on the choice of medical care. In many African countries, access to second opinion consultations can be challenging since most have a shortage of specialist doctors. And often the few available specialists are stationed in cities hence rural patients must travel long distances.
Friday, July 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

GlaxoSmithKline Sees Staged Roll-Out of Malaria Vaccine

Source: Reuters

The world's first malaria vaccine, which won a green light last week from European drugs regulators, will be rolled out gradually in Africa, its maker said on Wednesday.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — Latin America

This Colombian town is trying to get rid of cash — but it’s not so easy

Source: Fusion

A town of 5,000 is trying to become the first in Latin America to entirely phase out cash and rely solely on digital currency.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

How a Condom and a Catheter Are Saving Mothers From Bleeding to Death During Delivery

Source: The Huffington Post

An innovation that costs less than $5, and requires items that could be found in any drug store, could save thousands of mothers’ lives.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — South Asia

Singapore Fintech Out to Empower Asia’s Unbanked

Source: The Establishment Post

For most of us including Singaporeans, not having access to credit and debit cards is almost unheard of. Beyond the Little Red Dot though, citizens in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East continue to transact with cash and coins. They are the world’s unbanked who have minimal contact with banks and financial services. Though the unbanked make up about half of the world’s adult populace today, emerging financial technology startups including Singapore fintech startups are amplifying efforts to bring financial inclusion to the unbanked right at their fingertips.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

President Obama Announces Major Progress Through Feed the Future Initiative

Source: FINCHANNEL.com

On July 28 President Obama announced that Feed the Future, his signature global hunger and food security initiative, is delivering on his promise to reduce hunger and malnutrition through agricultural development. New data demonstrate that, thanks in part to Feed the Future and other U.S. Government efforts, stunting rates have declined in Ethiopia, Ghana, and parts of Kenya by between 9 and 33 percent in recent years, while areas in Uganda have seen a 16 percent drop in poverty.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

Crowdfunding Is Impacting the Global Economy

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Innovation means creating something that makes a process or product more efficient. The result can be a price reduction passed on to consumers in the short run, or an increase in the speed at which a business operates. Ultimately, innovation serves as the backbone to overall economic and societal growth and can elevate standards of living. Today, equity crowdfunding is a one of these innovations.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Central Bank of Nigeria Sets Aside N252 Billion For Women-owned Businesses

Source: Leadership

According to the CBN , the facility is dedicated to small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), and is meant to deepen and increase access to credit and reduce the high cost of funds for women-owned businesses across the country.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — South Asia

Citibank, MasterCard Launch Digital Wallet for Debit, Credit Card Customers in India

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Citibank India and MasterCard have launched digital wallet Citi MasterPass for both debit and credit card customers to be able to shop online at over 250,000 e-commerce merchants.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Physician "Brain Drain" From Sub-Saharan Africa to the US

Source: Medical Xpress

A recent PLOS One research article, "Monitoring Sub-Saharan African Physician Migration and Recruitment Post-Adoption of the WHO Code of Practice: Temporal and Geographic Patterns in the United States," examined how the migration of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States for work has led to a dire health worker shortage in the region.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

A Paper Microscope That Costs Only 50 cents Can Detect Malaria From Just a Drop of Blood - And It Could Revolutionize Medicine

Source: Business Insider

For a whole lot of people, especially those in developing countries, science - and with it, medicine - isn't readily available to the majority of citizens. But Manu Prakash wants to change that.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microsoft’s CEO Celebrated the Worldwide Launch of Windows 10 in… Nairobi

Source: Quartz

Of all the 190 countries where Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system launched yesterday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella chose to spend the day in Kenya. His visit came just days after the conclusion of the US-sponsored Global Entrepreneurship Summit and a state visit by president Barack Obama, where he hailed technology for “changing the way Africa is doing business.”
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

Mobile Point of Sale Base Growing Rapidly in Developing Countries

Source: Finextra

Mobile point of sale (mPoS) growth continues as the technology deepens its reach across vertical industries, merchant tiers and geographies.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

India Showing Improved Consumer Sentiment: Rakesh Kapoor, CEO, Reckitt Benckiser

Source: The Economic Times

Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive at British consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser, on Monday said India is showing "improvement in consumer sentiment" even as the maker of Dettol antiseptic liquid and Durex condoms reported better-than-expected performance for the quarter ended June.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — No Region Specified

How Anti-Vaxxers Have Scared the Media Away From Covering Vaccine Side Effects

Source: Vox

"It was the most startling side effect I've ever come across." That's how Elizabeth Miller, head of the immunization department at Public Health England, described some recent vaccine research you've probably never heard about: Pandemrix, a shot designed to stave off swine flu, also appears to be causing narcolepsy in some children.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

Kerala Selects HP India to Provide Digital Healthcare Solution

Source: Kerala IT News

The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Kerala, has selected HP India to create an e-Health IT platform to enable the delivery of a digital healthcare solution and services for Health Care facilities across Kerala. The digital healthcare solution will help healthcare practitioners to improve patient care and focus resources.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Fight Against Tropical Diseases Is Framed As Efficient

Source: The New York Times

In the battle for the billions of dollars spent fighting global diseases, doctors who tackle neglected tropical diseases have labeled their struggle a “best buy.”
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria's Ministry of Health Accuses Okonjo-Iweala of Making Questionable Payment to Global Health NGO

Source: Sahara Reporters

ficials of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) are questioning how former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala handled payment of the sum of $2.2 million that was the subject of a dispute between the Health Ministry and a global non-governmental organization called the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI). Former Nigerian Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — Latin America

Inter-American Development Bank Report Highlights Business Opportunities At Base of the Pyramid in Latin America and Caribbean

Source: Inter-American Development Bank

According to an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report released today, the base of the pyramid is a $759 billion market offering promising business opportunities to the private sector.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — No Region Specified

A New Model of Health Workforce Training

Source: Development Policy Centre

A new model of health workforce training has the potential to be an innovative, cost-effective, catalytic initiative that can build national health systems, empower women and make itself obsolete in a decade.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

East Africa Emerges as Global Hub for Impact Investing

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Investments focused on fostering social or environmental goals are playing an increasing role in East Africa, which a new report says is a global center for so-called impact investing.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — No Region Specified

Wall Street not giving up on U.S. social impact bonds

Source: Reuters

Wall Street firms like Deutsche Bank , Santander Bank and Bank of America are still interested in backing U.S. social impact bonds, despite the failure of the first such initiative.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

Mutual Funds in India Invest $157M in Secured Debentures of Microfinance Institutions

Source: Press Release

Several mutual funds based in India, including Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Prudential Mutual Fund, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Mutual Fund, Kotak Mutual Fund, Reliance Mutual Fund and State Bank of India (SBI) Mutual Fund, recently invested in secured debentures issued by several Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs). The issuers include Equitas Microfinance (Equitas); Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS); SKS Microfinance (SKS) and Ujjivan Financial Services (Ujjivan). Although the individual transaction amounts are not available, the investments by the mutual funds total approximately INR 10 billion (USD 157 million). The debentures bear coupon rates of 11.5 up to 13 percent, approximately 3 to 4 percent above than highly rated securities issued by other Indian companies. The securities are backed by receivables and fixed assets owned by the MFIs.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: We Need to Prove Impact Investing Makes a Difference

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

While measuring impact is complicated, investors, grant makers, and nonprofit organization need to have some way to assess, manage, and communicate their real impact.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

Tencent’s WeBank Finds Sweet Spot in Microloans in China

Source: EJ Insight

Seven months after its launch, Tencent-backed (00700.HK) WeBank is showing off some of its first financial accomplishments that hint at the direction it may take as it carves out a place in China’s banking sector.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

Islamic banking consistently expanding in Pakistan

Source: Daily Times

Last week, the State Bank of Pakistan granted its first license to a micro-finance bank and brought it into the Islamic mode.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

South Africa Moves Towards Universal Health Care, While India Stagnates

Source: Scroll.in

South Africa's bold new proposal for universal health coverage in the face of stiff opposition from private health care providers is likely to become a model for providing sustainable health care for much of the developing world. The proposal, called National Health Insurance, or NHI for short, has set off quite a debate within South African society. But health care experts believe it’s the first real step in post-apartheid South Africa towards bringing equity in health care.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa Is Rebranding Its Condom Campaign: Will It Work This Time?

Source: The Conversation

The South African National Department of Health has launched a new safe sex campaign. Over the next three years it plans to distribute 3 billion scented male condoms, 54 million female condoms and 60 million sachets of lubricant to 4000 sites countrywide. It will cost taxpayers R3.5 billion.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

Chivas Regal's Search for World's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs Splits $1 Million Prize Among Five Enterprises

Source: CNN

The Venture, Chivas Regal's global search for the world's most promising social entrepreneurs, rewarded all five finalists the remaining share of the $1m fund at the final pitch event on Friday evening. The announcement came after the five finalists pitched the potential of their start-up to create transformative social change to an expert judging panel that included actor and social entrepreneur Adrian Grenier. Algramo from Chile was awarded the largest share of the fund, receiving $300,000 to further develop the pioneering food distribution enterprise.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — South Asia

Transactions By Digital Wallets Up Three Times Between February and April

Source: The Economic Times

Digital wallets, which allow consumers to pay for purchases through devices such as mobile phones, are becoming popular, if an almost three-fold surge in the number of such transactions recorded between February and April this year is any indication.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — No Region Specified

Is Bitcoin a Powerful New Friend to the World's Poor? Some Funders Hope So

Source: Inside Philanthropy

A recent Gates Foundation grant was a big milestone for the Bitcoin movement.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — Latin America

Social Impact Bonds Are Coming to the Tropics

Source: Huffington Post

Recent developments indicate that Latin America may become a robust new frontier market for social impact bonds, with a rich set of multiple-player ecosystems.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: New Alliance Launched to Examine Global Accelerators

Source: GES 2015

$2.3 million committed to improving the effectiveness of accelerator programs through research and analysis.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

AMPION, Merck Launch Africa’s First e-Health Accelerator

Source: Disrupt Africa

African entrepreneurship initiative AMPION and healthcare firm Merck have partnered to launch Africa’s first healthcare accelerator, aimed at fostering the growth of high potential, early-stage e-health startups.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Startups Grow in Africa, But Ecosystems Need More to Flourish

Source: TechCrunch

Obamania has gripped Kenya as the 44th U.S. president lands in Nairobi, the country’s capital, for a visit. From t-shirts, mugs, and caps with Barack Obama’s name and image to “Obama themed ringtones,” (“Yes we can!”) it will not be hard for the U.S. president to find entrepreneurs in Kenya.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — South Asia

Grameen Koota Reaches Milestone With 1 Million Microfinance Customers

Source: Business Wire

Bangalore-based NBFC –MFI, Grameen Koota Financial Services Pvt Ltd (Grameen Koota) has reached a new milestone of 1 million microfinance customers, in a testimony to its strong client-centric approach aimed at providing holistic financial and social services.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

President Obama a Fan of M-PESA, Kenyan Innovation

Source: All Africa

US President Barack Obama has endorsed Kenya's innovation powerhouse status and regional economic might during the opening of the 6th Global Entrepreneurship summit.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Village Capital Announces World's Largest Peer Selected Venture Capital Fund

Source: MarketWatch

VilCap Investments New Fund Continues Using Peer-Selection Model to Support Entrepreneurs Solving the World's Most Pressing Problems.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bitcoin companies move ahead in Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Efforts to get Bitcoin off the ground in Africa received a boost this week as BitX announced it has raised $4 million in funding.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The battle between Africa’s mobile phone companies and banks is a boon for financial inclusion

Source: Quartz

Now banks are not only trying to compete in this space but also offer new products that promise access to banking services to those who up until this point were excluded.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

GE in $14.7M Vows to Build EA Healthcare Skills

Source: East African Business Week

Ahead of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, announced a series of new commitments aimed at addressing some of the most critical health challenges in East Africa through a sustained focus on skills development and capacity building.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Makes Leap in Cross-Border Mobile Payments

Source: Wall Street Journal

New partnerships aimed at getting a bigger slice of the $48 billion Africans sent and received last year.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Meet the Kenyan Startup Trying to Change Bill Gates' Mind on Bitcoin

Source: CoinDesk

Bill Gates has been publicly skeptical about the future of the payment technology in the developing world.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

FinTech Investments Quadruple: Top Trends to Watch

Source: Forbes

Investments into FinTech startups recently quadrupled, growing from just over $3 billion in 2013 to over $12 billion in 2014. And consider alongside that another trend showing that crowdfunding will surpass VC in 2016 as a funding source–given that crowdfunding itself is a segment of the FinTech market.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

GE to Launch World-Class Healthcare Training Institute in Nairobi

Source: Capital FM

General Electric Company has announced it is at an advanced stage to launch the first-of-its-kind in Africa institute dedicated to training healthcare specialists and technicians. The GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute will be located in Karen, Nairobi and is set to open its doors to practicing healthcare professionals and graduate students towards the end on 2015.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Impact investing could help plug $2.5 trillion funding gap for development

Source: The Guardian

Socially responsible investment can help tackle poverty, hunger and climate change. Can the fragmented industry overcome its barriers to becoming a real force for good?
Friday, July 24, 2015 — South Asia

India's 'Medicine Baba' Gets Drugs From Rich, Gives to Poor

Source: ABC News

Omkarnath spends his days searching New Delhi for drugs. A call to the phone number printed boldly on his saffron-colored tunic reveals his alternate identity: "Hello, I am Medicine Baba."
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Social Entrepreneurs That Are Changing the Developing World

Source: Business.com

Corporate Social Responsibility is a trend that has been gaining more attention in recent years.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

TechLab Wants to Mentor Africa's 10 Best Financial and Health Tech Companies

Source: htxt

African financial tech and health tech companies can improve their businesses through a new program aimed at providing mentorship to the 10 most innovative companies in those sectors.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghana: Bamboo Bike Ambulances for Dawea Community Health Center

Source: allAfrica

The Bright Generation Community Foundation (BGCF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has scored a first in its effort to utilise locally available and sustainable materials to manufacture an easier means of transport for the health sector.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Viewpoint: As Obama Heads to Africa, An Entrepreneurial Approach to Fighting Disease Takes Root

Source: The Hill

The White House has said that President Obama’s trip to Africa, where he will attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, will focus on accelerating economic growth, strengthening democratic institutions and improving security in African countries. When the president arrives in Kenya he will find that new and innovative approaches to fighting disease on the continent have the potential to invigorate progress in each of those priority areas.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

World's First Malaria Vaccine Gets Regulatory Go-Ahead, Faces WHO Review

Source: Reuters

The world's first malaria vaccine got a green light on Friday from European drugs regulators who recommended it as safe and effective to use in babies in Africa at risk of the mosquito-borne disease.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Obama's Top Initiative to Aid Africa Is Now in Jeopardy

Source: The State Newspaper

As President Barack Obama returns to Africa this week, his major initiative to help the continent double access to electricity is in jeopardy, undermined by Congress.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — South Asia

Bangladesh Backs Mobile Phones to Move Cash Among Rural Poor

Source: Bloomberg

Bangladesh, home to the world’s second-largest mobile money company, is moving to consolidate the industry as it expands financial services to the rural poor.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

WHO: Unsafe Injections Major Cause of Hepatitis Death

Source: Voice of America

In advance of World Hepatitis Day (July 28), the World Health Organization is calling for urgent action to curb millions of infections and deaths from viral hepatitis.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Trying to Get the World Unhooked From Hookworm

Source: NPR

This week, Goats and Soda learned of a pretty icky research experiment taking place in our nation's capital. People are becoming infected with hookworm in the name of science, as researchers seek to develop a vaccine.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money: 4 Services Tackling Wealth Inequality in Africa

Source: Wired

While mobile money services are available in 89 countries globally, nowhere are they having more of an impact than in Africa, where 12 percent of adults have mobile money accounts, compared with 2 percent worldwide.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — Latin America

Peru Government Installs National Strategy for Financial Inclusion

Source: Peru this Week

As the Peruvian Finance Minister, Alonso Segura, declared last December, social inclusion is “the foundation of Peru’s growth.” To make this possible, they increased the budget for social inclusion programs for the current year by 20%.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Health Specialists Call for $2 Billion Global Fund for Vaccines

Source: Reuters

Global health experts called on Wednesday for the creation of a $2 billion vaccine development fund to feed a pipeline of potential new shots against priority killer diseases like Ebola, MERS and the West Nile virus.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Is Too Much Funding Going to Social Entrepreneurs—And Too Little to Social Movements?

Source: Inside Philanthropy

Are social movements more effective at bringing about large-scale change than social entrepreneurs? And if they are, why are so many funders excited about the latter compared to the former?
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Who’s the Next Impact Target After Goldman Sachs Snaps Up Imprint Capital?

Source: Impact Alpha

Goldman Sachs’ move to buy San Francisco-based Imprint Capital has the small community of impact investment asset managers and dealmakers buzzing about who might next be asked to dance by a Wall Street suitor.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — South Asia

Smartphones Can Improve Health of Poor Urban Women

Source: The Times of India

With a large majority of poor urban women having access to cellphones, the device can be used to improve the health of those at risk of diabetes and other diseases during their childbearing years, says a new study.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Will BRICS Bank Challenge the Bretton Woods System?

Source: IPS News

The formal opening of the BRICS Bank in Shanghai on Jul. 21, following the seventh summit of the world’s five leading emerging economies, demonstrates the speed with which an alternative global financial architecture is emerging.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Citigroup Hunts for Fintech Innovators, Will a Bitcoin Firm Succeed?

Source: NEWSBTC

American banking behemoth Citigroup earlier revealed that it has been looking at the Bitcoin’s distributed ledger technology for the last few years, and has developed three blockchains and a test currency calledCiticoin to pass through them in a bid to create a framework parallel to the Bitcoin and the blockchain.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Faith-Based Care Invisible to Health Researchers

Source: Science and Development Network

Christian, Islamic and other faith-based organisations provide extensive healthcare in the world’s poorest places, but are invisible to global health researchers, according to a series of papers published this month in medical journal The Lancet.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mozido Expands Into Africa With NettCash Acquisition

Source: PYMNTS.com

The Austin-based cloud platform mobile payments and retail engagement solutions provider announced today (July 21) that it acquired majority ownership of Zimbabwe mobile wallet company NettCash, further establishing Mozido’s foothold in Africa.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: India Must Keep Patent Laws for Manufacture of Cheap Generic Drugs

Source: Hindustan Times

Recently, trade ministers from 10 Asean countries, India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea gathered to negotiate a deal on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement. But, RCEP negotiations on intellectual property (IP) are at a standstill because India and the Asean countries are unwilling to trade away health by adopting IP provisions that go beyond what is required of them under international trade rules.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

10 New Mobile Wallet Remittance Services Launched Throughout Africa and Asia-Pacific

Source: Press Release

HomeSend and Azimo today announced the launch of new mobile wallet services in ten countries throughout Africa and Asia-Pacific – reaching millions of mobile money subscribers. Azimo customers in 20 European countries are now be able to send funds to mobile money accounts of loved ones in Armenia, Burkina Faso, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines and Somaliland.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: “Social Responsibility” in Investments is Open to Interpretation

Source: Casa Grande Dispatch

Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker has a fascinating idea: People get nicer over time.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: The Emperor Has No (Green) Clothes

Source: WealthManagement.com

A shiny new object is popping up in impact investment portfolios everywhere – behold, the green bond. A corporate or municipal fixed income instrument offering both market returns AND positive environmental impact, green bonds have emerged over the past six months as a significant area of new issuance. Corporations are issuing carve-out bonds whose proceeds go to infrastructure retrofits, while munis are hopping on the green bandwagon with bonds targeting a wide range of applications, from “clean and green” to affordable housing and school construction.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Are Pharma Giants Living Up to Big Promises on Development?

Source: The Guardian

he pharmaceutical industry plays a fundamental role in achieving international development targets. This was recognised in the millennium development goals (MDGs), which explicitly mention that providing access to affordable essential drugs in low- and middle-income countries has to be achieved “in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies”. Yet efforts to track progress towards the MDGs have focused mainly on government action rather than corporate contributions.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Kiva Co-founder on the Future of Microfinance

Source: Inc.

Jessica Jackley has had her hands full since stepping away from Kiva, the peer-to-peer microlender she co-founded in 2005. Between investing in startups through the Collaborative Fund; launching ProFounder, a crowdfunding site for entrepreneurs and small businesses; and consulting with companies to improve their social impact, the popular TED talker has also managed to give birth to three children. And she has a new book, Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration From Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financing Agribusinesses in Africa: Mobile Money Shows More Viability

Source: Business Day

As a result of mobile money financing schemes, farming businesses, most of which are in rural areas in Africa are able to enjoy agritrade financing in form of loans, subsidies and free inputs facilitated mainly through phones. The main advantage of mobile money financing for agriculture is the elimination of cash handling by other individuals during the transfer of the money from the financing individual/organisation to the farmer or agribusiness operator. This reduces or eliminates corruption, outright theft or violence that could result when individuals have to carry cash around.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

These Early Tesla Investors Are Pouring Millions Into Companies That Could Change the World

Source: Co.Exist

Ten years ago when Nancy Pfund first started making social impact investments, many people were skeptical about the idea of investing both for profit and social benefit. You either made money or you did good, but rarely both. "It was unheard of by most," she says. "There was a very limited set of investors who were prepared to take the plunge."
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom Launches Internet-Ready Commercial and Residential Addresses Initiative

Source: Biztech Africa

Safaricom has announced that it will be partnering with real estate developers in an initiative that will see the launch of new smart and internet ready addresses in different parts of the country.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

NASA Langley Helps Drone Technology Get Its 'Kitty Hawk Moment'

Source: Daily Press

Tousands of patients at an annual outdoor free clinic in Wise County were treated to a unique sight recently when for the first time medical supplies flew in on an unmanned drone.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Sanofi Preps for 'Profitable' Dengue Vaccine Rollout in 20 Countries

Source: FiercePharma

With more than $1.5 billion in development costs and 20 years of research on the line, Sanofi ($SNY) is getting revved up to launch its world-first dengue vaccine later this year. And if the company's predictions are correct, the shot will not only be a big deal for patients in the developing world--it'll be a highly profitable product to boot.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

When Impact Investing Stays Local

Source: The New York Times

By the mid-1990s, the Houghton family, whose wealth is derived from the glass and ceramic material manufacturer Corning, was into its sixth generation. Many of the cousins felt they had lost touch and were drifting away from the family.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Overlooked Gender Gap: Financial Credit

Source: Quartz

It’s hard to deny the presence of gender gaps. We see evidence of them in education, income, politics, and business. But there is another gender gap that is less often discussed, and has proven to be incredibly important worldwide: the credit gap. The credit gap refers to the fact that women are still much less likely to obtain credit than men, whether from a bank or informal moneylender.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Partnerships and Innovation to Defeat Malaria: An Interview With Dr. David Reddy

Source: Development Policy Centre

Dr David Reddy is CEO of Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a product development partnership that works with both the public and private sectors to facilitate the discovery, development and delivery of new antimalarial drugs. Before his public lecture held at the Crawford School (presentation available here), Dr Reddy sat down with Camilla Burkot to talk about MMV’s role in tackling malaria. You can listen to the podcast here and read the full transcript here. For a summary of their discussion, read on.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global Funds Make a Beeline for Indian Banks, Finance Firms; $1.46 Billion Investment Made in 6 Months

Source: The Economic Times

Finance and banking firms, big and small, are raising large sums of money from foreign investors jousting for a slice of action in the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Breakthrough Global Agreement Sharply Lowers Price of Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV

Source: Press Release

Global partners in the Diagnostics Access Initiative have joined with Roche Diagnostics to announce a 35% reduction in the price for HIV early infant diagnostic technologies. The new access price is US$ 9.40 per test, including proprietary reagents and consumables associated with diagnosing HIV in very young children. Partners involved in the negotiation of this reduced access price include UNAIDS, the Clinton Health Access Initiative Inc., the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNITAID.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bridging Gap in the Health Care Sector: AfDB Offers Strategic Analysis on Financing Innovatively With the Private Sector

Source: African Development Bank

“The relevance of private sector role in delivering innovative health care to the poorest people, with the view to achieving global goal,” was underscored at a side event organized today in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Equity Bank Launches Long-Delayed Mobile Money Platform in Kenya

Source: ITWeb Africa

Kenya's mobile money banking service market will gain a competitor with today's launch of Equitel, a technology platform that ties Equity Bank with mobile phone service provider Airtel to provide the user with a thin SIM technology-based mobile banking and telecommunications service.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Mobile Payments Market Set to Deliver 150% Growth in 2015

Source: theCsuite.co.uk

A new report from Juniper Research has found that the number of mobile money transfers is expected to increase by nearly 150% in 2015 to more than 13bn, with several social media firms already seeing a dramatic rise in service usage.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — South Asia

‘Arogya Sakhi’ Tablets Are Revolutionising Indian Rural Healthcare

Source: Networked India

It is common knowledge that health care services in rural India are not easily accessible and health awareness among the people is poor. Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a learning and development organization has stepped in to improve the situation in rural Maharashtra through a programme called Arogya Sakhi reports The Better India.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Gates Foundation's Kosta Peric on Blockchain Tech and the Unbanked

Source: The Wall Street Journal

For Kosta Peric, overcoming finance's last mile means looking for ways to do so from the ground up.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Can a High-Tech Wood Stove Save the World?

Source: Bloomberg

So, this is cool. It's a stove, powered by wood or cow dung or whatever other combustible material you happen to have lying around, that generates an almost smokeless, gas-like flame -- and also enough electricity to light a room or charge your phone.
Monday, July 20, 2015 — South Asia

India Pitches for Global Tax Policy to Safeguard the Interests of Developing Nations

Source: The Economic Times

India has pitched for a global tax regime built into the UN process, rather than being looked at from the point of view of rich countries, in a bid to curb illegal financial flows from the developing world running into some $200 billion annually.
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