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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
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: Caspian Impact Investments Raises $20 Million in Financing From OPIC

Source: Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Caspian Impact Investments (CII) today announced that it closed a debt financing commitment of $20 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

Kennedy School to Create New 'Social Enterprise Incubator'

Source: The Harvard Crimson

As it revisits major aspects of its curriculum in conjunction with its capital campaign, the Kennedy School of Government is in the early stages of creating a new “social enterprise incubator,” according to HKS spokesperson Doug Gavel.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Government Scheme Sparks Brain Drain Controversy in Uganda

Source: Humanosphere

The decision by Uganda to send nearly 300 medical professionals the Caribbean has sparked a controversy that extends beyond the East African nation. Belgium says it will make cuts to the €11 million in aid it sends to Uganda. The United States has criticized the plan, as has Human Rights Watch, and activists in Uganda.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

This Woman Might Be the Most Successful Impact Investor You've Never Heard Of

Source: Entrepreneur

The February ribbon cutting for Gigawatt Global’s new $24 million solar field in Rwanda was an impact investment showcase. More than 28,000 solar panels, arranged in the shape of the African continent, added six percent to the entire country’s electricity production.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Report: Cross-Border Mobile Money Transfer Could Be Available Across East Africa by End of Year

Source: allAfrica

Kwale — Citizens of the East African Community will by the end of this year be able to transfer money via mobile phones across borders if full implementation of the One Area Network Agreement (OANA) succeeds.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: Millicom Launches Rwanda’s First Mobile-Based Savings Product with Tigo Cash

Source: Business Wire

Millicom (Stockholmsbörsen: MIC), the international telecommunications and media company, announced today that its Tigo operation in Rwanda has launched the country’s first mobile-based savings product – Tigo Sugira – with Tigo Cash.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — South Asia

India to Repackage State-Supplied Condoms in Bid to Attract Users

Source: Reuters

When it comes to the wrappers of India's state-supplied condoms, boring is out, attractive is in, but erotic is too much.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Focus on Poverty: Sharing Genetic Data in Health Crises

Source: Science and Development Network

Genetic information that could help slow disease outbreaks may be kept private by researchers out of fear of violating patients’ rights — that was one of the concerns expressed in a Nature article recently.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

Interview: Transforming Banking for the Poor: A Q&A With Jonathan Morduch

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Microfinance was once heralded as a key weapon in the fight against global poverty. Yet some 2.5 billion impoverished people across the world still don’t have access to basic financial services, according to the latest World Bank data.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — South Asia

How Debartha, Ritwik and Jayant Are Revolutionizing Waste Collection Systems in India

Source: SocialStory

“Being good means nothing unless you are willing to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done,” said an angry Abraham Setrakian in the US vampire apocalypse show ‘The Strain.’ And while our planet may not be under threat from vampires, the danger to its environment from the waste-dumping activities of human beings is not just real, it is critical.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

One-in-Three U.S. Adults Has No Emergency Savings Despite Improving Economy, Says New Survey

Source: Market Wired

An improving economy has done little to help people prepare for a financial emergency, with 34 percent of adults in America -- more than 72 million people -- saying that they don't have any emergency savings, according to the second annual financial capability survey from NeighborWorks America. That is up from 29 percent of adults reporting no emergency savings in the similar survey one year ago.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

NPO Aims to Bring Traditional Japanese Medicine Marketing to Africa

Source: The Japan Times

Eri Machii, a 37-year-old pharmacist, hopes a traditional Japanese method of marketing medicine will take off in Africa and help improve health care.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Where Do Vaccine Fears Come From?

Source: The Gates Notes

In his 2013 New Yorker article “Slow Ideas,” the Harvard surgeon Atul Gawande offered a compelling way to understand why some good ideas spread slowly (if at all) while others spread like wildfire.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Does Microfinance Still Hold Promise for Reaching the Poor?

Source: The World Bank

Nearly two decades ago, when the concept of microfinance as a poverty reduction tool was in its infancy, there was hope that microcredit would transform economic and social structures. With its focus on reaching the previously unbanked, microcredit was expected to bring about change at the household level, a market in developing countries that traditional financial institutions had failed to reach.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Echoing Green Wants Deeper Engagement With Social Entrepreneurs

Source: Devex

Echoing Green is seeking partners for a soon-to-be-launched program that will place young, rising stars in the corporate world into the boards of its fellows’ organizations.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — South Asia

Ali Health Pens Tie-Up for Online Health Testing Platform

Source: Reuters

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's healthcare subsidiary will tie-up with Zhejiang DiAn Diagnostics Co Ltd to help develop an online hospital platform, the diagnostics firm said in a filing late on Monday.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Here Come the Philanthropreneurs

Source: Fast Company

Entrepreneurs using wealth and power to transform society are not a new phenomenon. A century ago, Andrew Carnegie’s love of libraries helped bring education to the masses, and he spent millions promoting world peace. Today’s "philanthropreneurs" are equally ambitious—and they’re succeeding, while redefining what it means to give and give back.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Airtel to Give Clients Soft Loans

Source: allAfrica

A micro-money lending platform whereby subscribers will be able to borrow up to Rwf50,000 payable in two weeks has been launched by telecom services provider, Airtel Rwanda and Atlantis Limited, a micro-finance institution.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Future of Mobile Money: Building Seamless Financing Options Through Clean Energy

Source: Greentech Media

Clean energy in developing economies rests with a seamless, ubiquitous, easy-to-use financing platform based on energy and mobile money. Wireless credit is a very important piece of that platform.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Microneedle Patches Could Be the Future of Vaccinations

Source: WABE 90.1 FM

Georgia Tech professor Mark Praunitz has spent two decades developing microneedle patches.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — No Region Specified

Too Global to Fail: The World Bank At the Intersection of National and Global Public Policy

Source: Devpolicy

It can be and has been argued that improvements in human welfare achieved over the last few decades have been purchased, at least in part, on credit—that the net gain is less than it seems, perhaps even negative, given the scale of our accumulated liabilities. In part, this is because gains made at the level of households, communities and countries have not been adequately insured against global public ‘bads’—transnational problems whose solution or mitigation generally calls for international cooperation.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

In Myanmar, Microfinance Stagnates Due to Tough Rules

Source: The Myanmar Times

The domestic microfinance industry is being held back by a number of constraints on funding, preventing more small-scale loans from being disbursed, according to industry insiders.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Think Bigger: Social Entrepreneurship's Critical Need for Accelerators

Source: Entrepreneur

Prossy Sebunya has a passion for clean cook stoves -- a technology that’s critical in third-world countries, where fuel is an expensive commodity, wood fires lead to deforestation and unhealthy conditions prevent sanitary food preparation.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: McKinsey & Company Starts Its Own Version of Bain’s Bridgespan

Source: Nonprofit Quarterly

The announcement that Helene Gayle, the retiring CEO of CARE, was going to be inaugural CEO of the McKinsey Social Initiative struck us as noteworthy for reasons that other press outlets really haven’t covered.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ebola Rapid Diagnostic Kit Developed by UK Scientists in Sierra Leone

Source: The Guardian

A rapid Ebola diagnostic kit similar to a pregnancy kit has been developed by British military scientists and NHS medics in Sierra Leone.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

New Chinese Bank Becomes Major Headache for U.S.

Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Another day, it seems, brings another new member to China's latest big international initiative: a new development bank for Asia.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Payments Company Oxigen Eyeing Up to $200 Million Expansion Drive

Source: Live Mint

Payment solutions provider Oxigen is on a major expansion drive that includes hiring about 1,500 people and ramping up its payment network across semi-urban and rural India. The firm is also eyeing a large share of the remittances market and prepares the ground for launching a payments bank.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Doctor-Turned-Entrepreneur Bullish About Ethiopia’s Healthcare Sector

Source: How We Made It In Africa

As Africa’s second most populous country, Ethiopia’s healthcare industry holds significant potential. According to Dr Mohammed Nuri (42), founder and CEO of local pharmaceutical company Medtech Ethiopia, the industry commands more than 18bn Ethiopian birr (about US$881m) in annual sales. In recent years imports from abroad have risen, while foreign investors have entered partnerships with local players.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

Interview: India in Strong Position as the 'Laboratory for Innovation', Says Acumen's Ajit Mahadevan

Source: Business Today

Ajit Mahadevan, Country Head, Acumen, tells Sarika Malhotra that the company's aim in investing patient capital is not to seek high returns, "but to jump-start the creation of enterprises that improve the ability of the poor to live with dignity. In the long-run we do aim to see a return of our capital". Acumen has been investing in India since 2001 and has backed 26 companies across portfolios, including low-cost maternity care, skills training and education, water filtration enterprises and more. In addition to providing patient capital to investee companies, it has also invested in human capital and a wide range of management support services to help the companies scale up.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

WHO, UNOPS Sign Agreement to Scale-Up Partnership in Africa's Health

Source: Xinhuanet

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Sunday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to intensify collaboration on sustainable management of health programs and projects in Africa.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Social Investment Problems Include 'Too Much Hype and Hubris and Not Enough Transparency' Says Report

Source: Civil Society

Social investment in the UK requires less hype, more transparency from lenders and more focus on the needs of charities and social enterprises if it is going to succeed, according to a commission of thinkers and practitioners in the world of social finance.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New Pandemic Insurance to Prevent Crises Through Early Payouts

Source: Reuters

In the wake of the Ebola crisis, a quiet revolution is taking place that is set to transform the way governments and aid agencies respond to major disease outbreaks.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why Aren’t We Producing Medications for Looming Global Disease Threats?

Source: The Washington Post

In the United States, any cluster of tuberculosis cases makes headlines, no matter how small the numbers. For example, local health authorities recently issued a warning to medical providers after 15 residents of a New York City neighborhood contracted tuberculosis over a two-year period — and the tabloids promptly hyped the news.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

That Time a Hedge Funder Quit His Job and Then Raised $60 Million for Charity

Source: The Huffington Post

Elie Hassenfeld had an enjoyable and lucrative career in finance. Then he discovered an unusual passion.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

The 169 Commandments

Source: The Economist

Moses brought ten commandments down from Mount Sinai. If only the UN’s proposed list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were as concise. The SDGs are supposed to set out how to improve the lives of the poor in emerging countries, and how to steer money and government policy towards areas where they can do the most good. But the efforts of the SDG drafting committees are so sprawling and misconceived that the entire enterprise is being set up to fail. That would be not just a wasted opportunity, but also a betrayal of the world’s poorest people.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Dispelling Myths About Surgery’s Role in Global Health

Source: The World Bank

The past few decades have seen enormous changes in the global burden of disease. Although many people, especially those living in (or near) poverty and other privations, are familiar with heavy burdens and much disease, the term “global burden of disease” emerged in public health and in health economics only in recent decades. It was coined to describe what ails people, when, and where, and just as reliable quantification is difficult, so too is agreeing on units of analysis. Does this term truly describe the burden of disease of the globe? Of a nation? A city?
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Four Major Banks Launch Branchless Banking Program in Indonesia

Source: The Jakarta Post

The Financial Services Authority (OJK), along with four of the nation’s largest banks, launched on Thursday a nationwide campaign on financial services without physical branches to help boost access to the banking system in rural areas.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Cool Underwear for Hot Climates

Source: WUSA9

A Northern Virginia startup is trying to solve one piece of the Ebola puzzle: How to keep health workers in protective gear from collapsing from heat exhaustion.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Latin America

Inter-American Development Bank Creates New Institution for Private Sector Operations

Source: Devex

The Inter-American Development Bank is in the process of forming a new entity to handle its private sector activities, according to a bank employee with knowledge of the plans.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

When Neighbours Quarrel: How M-Pesa Could Improve Tanzania-Kenya Relations

Source: Mail & Guardian Africa

THE relationship between East African neighbours Kenya and Tanzania is a complex one, frequently eluding neat analysis, but two things reliably capture the prevailing spirit: tour vans and Kenya Airways.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Microfinance Institutions Want RBI, Not Mudra Bank, as Regulator

Source: The Economic Times

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are worried about the government's decision to set up the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency, or Mudra Bank, to regulate them as there could be a conflict of interest. They want the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) to continue as their regulator.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN Partners with Verifone to Target Retailers

Source: Mobile World Live

Pan-African operator MTN announced a deal with Verifone Mobile Money to deliver retail payment devices to merchants across 16 markets.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

African Mobile Device Pioneer Mi-Fone Opens Up on Strategy

Source: Mobile World Live

Alpesh Patel, CEO of African mobile player Mi-Fone, said that its strategy for the region is based on “aspiration within reach”, arguing that “you’ve got to be realistic about the consumers’ pockets”.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Survey: 57% of Institutional Investors Believe ESG Has Positive Impact on Returns

Source: Pensions & Investments

Some 57% of asset owners and other institutional investors surveyed believe incorporating ESG into alternative investments decision-making has a positive impact on risk-adjusted returns, said a report Monday from Mercer and LGT Capital Partners.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Sunlabob Renewable Energy Receives $2.1 Million Investment

Source: pv-magazine

Sunlabob Renewable Energy, a Laos-based group that specializes in bringing clean energy solutions to rural communities, has this week secured an impact investment of $2.1 million to enable it to expand its off-grid programs in Asia, Africa and the Pacific region.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

This Poo Powder Aims to Help India’s Diarrhea Problem

Source: The Wall Street Journal

An organic mixture made of coconut, rice and lemons is under development to help limit the spread of diseases associated with open defecation and diarrhea in a country where more than half of the 1.2 billion population relieve themselves outside.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Funding for Financial Inclusion Rises to $31 Billion in 2013

Source: Reuters

Global investment in affordable financial services for the poor has risen by an average seven percent per year since 2011, a World Bank think tank said in a survey released on Wednesday.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

Bangladesh Introduces Cash Incentive for Poor Pregnant Women and Children

Source: bdnews24.com

Bangladesh has introduced cash incentives for poor pregnant women and under-5 children in some selected districts to lure them into facilities for health and growth check-ups.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

85% of Kenyans Have Adopted Electronic Payment Products, Says MasterCard Study

Source: Capital FM

Eighty five percent of Kenyans have adopted electronic payment products including bank accounts, mobile phone, prepaid cards or other payment products, according to a new study by MasterCard.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

India’s SKS Microfinance: Back From the Brink

Source: Live Mint

SKS Microfinance Ltd, one of the largest microfinance companies in India, was a model for many other firms in the sector. Established by financial services professionals, the company was once considered the answer to India’s financial exclusion problem. While SKS has been through its fair share of struggles in the last four years, things are starting to look better for India’s only listed microfinance company.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

U.S. Consumer Watchdog Unveils Plans to Regulate Payday Loans

Source: Yahoo!

The U.S. consumer financial watchdog on Thursday outlined its plans for cracking down on the payday lending industry and ensuring that borrowers can repay their loans.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

East Africa: Rwanda to Champion E-Health in EAC

Source: allAfrica

Rwanda was yesterday selected to be East Africa's centre of excellence in e-health and biomedical engineering as well as health vaccines and immunisation logistics.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Illicit Moneylenders Aren’t Going Away

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Three bank branches stand across the street from Ajay Kumar Jaswal’s vegetable stand. But their loan officers shun his small business, forcing him to pay up to 20% quarterly interest to an illegal moneylender for the roughly $160 he needs as working capital.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

On the Path to End Tuberculosis: How Social Franchising Can Effectively Engage Private Practitioners

Source: PSI Impact

Over the past 20 years, that rallying cry has gone from fantasy to imperative. Since the advent of the World Health Organization’s directly observed treatment strategy in 1995, more than 61 million people have been successfully treated for tuberculosis, and new TB cases and TB-related deaths are on the decline. Furthermore, countries have achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the TB epidemic by 2015. Thus, today, we have important successes to celebrate. Ending TB is within reach.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

Saints Beat Sinners Again for Best Stock Picks

Source: Bloomberg

New Morgan Stanley research shows that whatever sustainability is, it seems to be working.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Qualifies As CSR and What Does Not?

Source: Live Mint

Trees in your company campus, jobs for people with disabilities and fuel-efficient office cars may be good for the society and the environment. Continue the good work, but none of that counts as corporate social responsibility (CSR) under the law.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

Ratan Tata, Others Invest in Grameen Capital's Social Impact Debt Funding Arm

Source: VCCircle

Grameen Capital India, a social impact-focused investment advisory firm, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from a group of investors, including Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding firm of Tata Group, for a new debt investment vehicle.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

You Need a Banking Law to Create a Bank for the Poor

Source: Business Today

Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and a proponent of 'social business', a not-for-profit business model to combat unemployment and other social evils, does not mince his words when it comes to micro-credit for the poor. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is dismissive about some recent innovations in the microfinance sector and warns about the direction they are taking. He also believes that micro-credit should be kept outside political influence to run it as a sound financial institution. "The best scenario," he says, "is when a micro-credit bank is owned by the poor." Excerpts from an interview with Shamni Pande:
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

Artoo IT Solutions Raises Rs 3.1 crore Series A Funds From Accion Venture Lab, Artha Initiative

Source: The Economic Times

Bengaluru-based Artoo IT Solutions, which has developed a financial customer relationship management solution for the financial sector, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.1 crore) in Series A round of funding from Accion Venture Labs and Switzerland-based Rianta Capital Zurich's Artha Initiative.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Innovation in Somalia: Launch of E-Transfer Cards in Bossaso

Source: World Food Programme

In February, Somalia became the second country in the world where WFP has launched its groundbreaking new system for managing assistance programmes, a platform known as SCOPE. The SCOPE information system allows WFP to monitor and control all its distributions of food, cash and vouchers electronically and in near real time. SCOPE also allows WFP to register beneficiaries, store information on the amount of food or money they are entitled to and – in the case of cash or vouchers – transfer the specific amount onto the cards. There was a buzz of anticipation as the first SCOPE transfer cards were handed out.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

Social Impact Bonds for Factories in Bangladesh

Source: Forbes

2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, where nearly 1,200 garment workers lost their lives from a factory collapse, are wrestling with a critical question: Who should pay for the work needed to ensure basic factory safety standards in Bangladesh?
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigerian Tycoon Shortlists 167 Kenyan Start-Ups for Funding

Source: Business Daily

Nigerian billionaire businessman and philanthropist Tony Elumelu has selected 167 Kenyan entrepreneurs to benefit from his Sh9.2 billion start-up fund targeting 10,000 enterprises across Africa.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Be Bold: How Gavi Will Immunise Another 300 Million Children

Source: Gates Foundation

A challenge stands before us: ensuring immunisation of the world’s poorest children. If we, as global citizens can meet it, we will help protect the lives of millions in places too poor to afford vaccines.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

10,000 Flat-Pack IKEA Shelters for Iraqi Displaced

Source: IRIN

The UN refugee agency has placed an order for 10,000 flat-pack refugee shelters designed by a social enterprise arm of furniture giant IKEA, with first delivery planned within months to camps across Iraq, where some 2.5 million people have been displaced by conflict.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Doctors Find Success in Tackling the 'Invisible Burden' of Tuberculosis

Source: Reuters

When Indian street-food seller Kumar Pal first began treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis two years ago, he quickly spiraled into depression and gave up hope of living.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Future Of Africa’s Private Equity Space Is Increasingly Female

Source: AFKInsider

Private equity is historically a male-dominated field, and historically, Africa’s local industry has been no different.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa Taps Emocha for Tuberculosis-Fighting Mobile Apps

Source: Technical.ly

Johns Hopkins-affiliated health IT startup emocha is marking World TB Day with the launch of a new system in South Africa.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Mobile Money Market Worth $78.02 Billion by 2019

Source: PR Newswire

According to a new market research report "Mobile Money Market by Transaction Mode, Nature of Payment, Location, Type of Purchase, & by Industry (BFSI, Telecom & IT, Media & Entertainment, Healthcare, Retail, Travel & Hospitality, Transportation & Logistics, Others) - Global Forecast to 2019", published by MarketsandMarkets, Mobile Money Market is expected to grow from$12.34 Billion in 2014 to $78.02 Billion by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 44.6% during the forecast period from 2014 to 2019.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Future of Chronic Diseases Through the Eyes of Youth

Source: Devex

Young people make up nearly half of the world’s population. And even though global health policy-making impacts them — think vaccinations, reproductive health or preventative care — young people far too often don’t have a say in that process.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Pharmaceutical Incentives Cost Lives, Yale Professor Says

Source: Yale Daily News

A Yale paper published online on Feb. 11 in the Journal of Global Health argues that implementation of a new agency to fund pharmaceutical companies could have decreased the severity of the recent Ebola outbreak.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — Asia Pacific

28M Filipinos Covered by Micro-Insurance as of 2014

Source: Sun.Star

As of 2014, 28 million Filipinos have micro-insurance coverage, according to the Insurance Commission (IC). The agency sees a continued growth in this segment as more Filipinos turn to micro-insurance for protection and financial security, especially for calamities.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

SA’s Impact Amplifier Catalysed $4.5m in Startup Funding by End of 2014

Source: Disrupt Africa

South African incubator and consulting firm Impact Amplifier has revealed to Disrupt Africa it had catalysed over ZAR55 million (US$4.5 million) in investments into early-stage startups, and aims to close over ZAR100 million (US$8.2 million) of capital deployed in 2015.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — Asia Pacific

How Lee Kuan Yew Transformed Singapore From Small Town Into Global Financial Hub

Source: The Conversation

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of one of Asia’s smallest but most developed economies, has died. Lee led Singapore after its separation from Malaysia to emerge as one of the world’s most powerful financial centres.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: China’s World Bank Has Rickety Foundations

Source: Reuters

If any country knows about the risks and rewards of building infrastructure, it is China. Over the past two decades, the People’s Republic has erected countless roads, dams, power plants, bridges and airports in its pursuit of economic development. The result has been a surge in debt, waste, corruption and pollution. It’s a dubious foundation from which to construct the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Mobile Money Transactions Doubled in 2014

Source: PYMNTS

The rate of global mobile money transfers continues to increase at a steady rate as the percentage of mobile remittances in 2014 doubled between January 2014 and January 2015, according to new research from Azimo, a mobile money company.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: To Reach India’s Rural Poor, Why Not Try Television Banking?

Source: Business Line

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was envisioned to provide universal financial inclusion to rural and urban households. The mission includes not only providing universal banking access to all households but also micro-insurance. The government and commercial banks have accomplished the remarkable feat of opening 12.8 crore accounts within the last six months. While this is a laudable achievement, a number of issues related to servicing these accounts, mostly in remote and far-flung areas, may need to be addressed.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Activists Protest Gates Foundation Plan for African Farmers

Source: Humanosphere

Activists in Seattle and London held demonstrations on Monday to protest efforts by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and others to privatize seeds as part of a push to industrialize farming in Africa.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Michael Bloomberg Backs Project to Collect Foreign Health Data

Source: Newsmax

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing a new project that will collect basic health data for countries in Africa, southeast Asia, and Latin America.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — South Asia

New Drugs Still Out of Reach for Most in India, World Tuberculosis Hotspot

Source: Reuters

The case of a Mumbai tailor cured of an extremely resistant form of tuberculosis this week has revived debate over a new drug to which the Indian government has limited access, prompting calls for change.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Econet's Mobile Money Shopping Service Goes Live in Zimbabwe

Source: ITWeb Africa

Zimbabwean subscribers on Econet Wireless' mobile money platform, EcoCash, will now be able to buy and send groceries to their friends and relatives under a partnership with grocery manufacturer and wholeseller, National Foods.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Traditional Divisions Between NGOs, Charities, and Businesses Are Blurring With New Collaborative Projects on Water

Source: psfk

The problem of global water access is as intransigent as they come. Some 768 million people – more than the population of Europe – still lack access to clean water. Likewise, this year’s Millennium Development Goal target of halving the number of people without sanitation will be missed by 8% – that’s half a billion people.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Table-Banking Bridges the Financial Inclusion Gap in Kenya

Source: Standard Digital News

Whichever way you look at it, Kenya and by extension the East African region is undergoing a major transformation as far as financial inclusion goes. In October last year, the Central Bank of Kenya released a report on development regarding the access and consumption of financial services in Kenya. The FinAccess 2013 Survey revealed that Kenya's financial inclusion landscape has undergone considerable transformation.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe: Sex Workers Switch to Mobile Payment Systems

Source: allAfrica

Sex workers in Harare are now demanding that clients pay for services through mobile platforms to avoid being duped with most now moving around with at least two mobile phones to facilitate transactions.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN Uganda Responds to Mobile Money Fraud Story

Source: PC Tech Magazine

In a rather unusual move last week, MTN Uganda called a Press Conference, the venue of which would be Stanbic Bank Boardroom at Crested Towers in Kampala.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — South Asia

Medical Devices Industry in India Underinvested: WHO

Source: DeshGujarat

The ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi throws up opportunities for growth of domestic medical devices industry, which is not only “underinvested” but heavily import-oriented at present, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Facebook Money Transfer Service Expected to Benefit African Users

Source: ITWeb Africa

Digital finance experts in Kenya say African users will increasingly benefit from the introduction of a money transfer service onto Facebook's instant messaging platform.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: Give Women Credit for Work to Strengthen Families

Source: CNN

The adage -- "a woman's work is never done" -- exists for a reason. Whether it's inside or outside the home, women's labor sustains families. How we assess women's work has long been a contested issue. In the developing world, it's especially important.
TAGS:Women
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The African Union Has Launched Its Centre for Disease Control to Tackle Epidemics Like Ebola

Source: Ventures Africa

Efforts are underway by The African Union (AU) to establish a pan-African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC) by mid-2015, a development that can bolster the continent’s desire to transform its health practices and promote the welfare of its people.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Can Social Enterprise Help 700 Million Who Lack Access to Clean Water?

Source: The Guardian

The problem of global water access is as intransigent as they come. Some 768 million people – more than the population of Europe – still lack access to clean water. Likewise, this year’s Millennium Development Goal target of halving the number of people without sanitation will be missed by 8% – that’s half a billion people.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Brazil and Malaysia Can Teach the U.S. About Financial Inclusion

Source: American Banker

When people think about financial inclusion, their minds tend to go first to highly-publicized unbanked regions in Africa and parts of Asia. But many people right here in the United States lack access to traditional financial services.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Not Free Vaccines, Mr. Gates, Just Sustainably-Priced Ones

Source: The Lancet

Advocates working to increase global access to medicines were frustrated by the recent comments made by Bill Gates publicly criticizing Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders, MSF) for calling for reductions in the prices of new vaccines. In doing so, Mr Gates stands by a system of pricing that requires raising billions of dollars in donor funding every year to support it. We believe that a system dependent on raising massive amounts of money to meet arbitrarily high prices set by the pharmaceutical industry is a failed system and should be acknowledged as such by donors like Mr Gates. Rather, true success in global vaccination requires mechanisms that can rapidly achieve long-term sustainable vaccine pricing.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'Ebola-Proof' Tablet Device Developed

Source: BBC

A tablet device that can withstand being doused in chlorine has been developed to help medics caring for patients with Ebola.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance Companies to Be Hit by Mergers and Acquisitions in Ghana

Source: Ghana Web

Ghana’s microfinance industry is expected to be hit by mergers and acquisitions as the regulator demands recapitalization of companies in the sector.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: Ennovent’s Impact Investment Holding invests in Anant Learning

Source: Ennovent

Members of the Ennovent Circle, the Ennovent Impact Investment Holding and Upaya Social Ventures, closed a seed investment round in Delhi-based Anant Learning & Development.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Regulation Tripping Up Ghana's Mobile Money Sector

Source: ITWeb Africa

The mobile financial services sector in Ghana has not yet fully lived up to its potential and is being held back from full development by regulatory hurdles, a new report says.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Youth Agenda At the World Bank? Readers and Development Partners Weigh In

Source: Devex

Can World Bank staff loosen their ties and engage with young people in a meaningful, productive way? Youth champions and development professionals hope that — if approved by senior management — a new team focused on youth will put an emphasis on listening more to young people to incorporate their ideas into the core of the global financial institution’s work.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

In Boon for Bitcoin, UK to Regulate Digital Currency Exchanges

Source: Yahoo!

Britain took a significant step towards becoming a global bitcoin hub on Wednesday as the government announced it would regulate digital currencies for the first time by applying anti-money laundering rules to exchanges.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Charity Attacks Gilead Over Hepatitis C Drug Restrictions

Source: Reuters

Charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has accused U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O of restricting access to its breakthrough hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in developing countries as it tries to protect profit margin in wealthier nations.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — South Asia

Pakistan’s Largest Conventional Bank is Expected to Enter the Microfinance Sector

Source: The Express Tribune

Habib Bank (HBL) is expected to enter the microfinance banking segment by acquiring Pakistan’s second largest microfinance bank in terms of the value of savings, according to a regulatory filing by the country’s biggest commercial bank on Thursday.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Exclusive: Despite Hillary Clinton Promise, Charity Did Not Disclose Donors

Source: Reuters

In 2008, Hillary Clinton promised Barack Obama, the president-elect, there would be no mystery about who was giving money to her family's globe-circling charities. She made a pledge to publish all the donors on an annual basis to ease concerns that as secretary of state she could be vulnerable to accusations of foreign influence.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: Impact Investment Exchange Asia Selects 4 Innovative Social Enterprises for Impact Accelerator

Source: Asia IIX

IIX (Impact Investment Exchange Asia) is pleased to announce that 4 Social Enterprises (SEs) have been selected for its Philippines-based Impact Accelerator™. Impact Accelerator is an intensive acceleration program that targets early-stage SEs with high potential for growth and scalability.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Health Organization Delayed Declaring Ebola an Emergency for 2 Months

Source: International Business Times

The World Health Organization (WHO) had avoided declaring Ebola as an international emergency for about two months partly due to political reasons since the outbreak of the disease started last year, documents and internal emails obtained by the Associated Press (AP) showed. The organization had earlier accepted that it was slow in its response to the disease, which has killed over 10,000 people so far. It had blamed the contagious and mutating nature of the virus for the outbreak.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Viewpoint: Can a Starbucks Model Educate the World's Poor? Top Tech Funders Think So

Source: Inside Philanthropy

Bridge International Academies is intent on disrupting education in Africa and other poor parts of the world. And with big backers like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Pierre Omidyar, the company has lots of momentum right now.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Facebook Launches P2P Payments, Denies 'Building Payments Business'

Source: CoinTelgraph

Without a doubt, mobile payment is hot topic these days. Google, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, are only a few that have stepped into the mobile payment battle, determined to create the next killer mobile wallet and payment system.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Calls Grow for a New Microloans Model

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Some of the world’s top experts in microlending recently gathered to debate a hot topic: Has the microloan boom of the last decade actually helped global efforts to lift people out of poverty?
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How a Sachet of Micronutrient Powder Boosts Somali Children's Health and Development

Source: PSI Impact

Hargeisa, Somaliland March 2015: Hasha Abdi Abdullahi was desperate. She was living in a makeshift camp for the displaced in Hargeisa with her seven children after being forced to leave her home, 50 kilometres away, because of drought. She was heavily in debt and her three-year-old son, Abdisalam Mustafa Farah had started to refuse all food and showed signs of being malnourished.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing Can Help Foundations Avoid Obsolescence

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

John D. Rockefeller would never have considered abandoning the oil business. But that is exactly what some of his heirs did last fall. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a family foundation with $860 million in assets and a long history of supporting environmental causes, announced it would divest itself of all fossil-fuel investments.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Daktari Secures $15.5M for Portable Diagnostic

Source: The Business Journals

Cambridge-based Daktari Diagnostics is inching towards commercialization of its fast and portable diagnostics platform, securing $15.5 million in equity funding earlier this month with hopes of entering the global market this year.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — South Asia

Alibaba Partners with British Lenders as it Expands Financial Platform Reach

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Alibaba, the Chinese internet conglomerate, has formed another strategic alliance to provide loans to businesses. Earlier this month Alibaba inked an agreement with Lending Club to facilitate loans to US businesses seeking to purchase goods from China manufacturers. Now Alibaba has created a similar arrangement with ezbob and iwoca in the United Kingdom. This is the first deal by Alibaba, using e-credit line, to help provide credit to SMEs in Europe.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: America's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Disaster: Are There Lessons to Be Learned?

Source: The Diplomat

The floodgates have opened. After the U.K. announced last Thursday that it would seek to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a trio of other European powers — Germany, France, and Italy — followed suit. With a March 31 deadline looming for countries to gain “founding member” status, expect more states – possibly including Australia and South Korea – to join in as well.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Initiatives Launched with €365M to Tackle Major Global Health Problems

Source: Science|Business

A £195M fund to address antimicrobial resistance and a $100M VC fund to spur drug discovery in dementia, both announced by the UK government this week, aim to build international coalitions to deal with these threats.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Report Offers Insights into How Young People Save in Developing Countries

Source: Washington University

A new project from the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis shows, among other findings, that girls in developing countries, given equal opportunities, will save as much or more in formal financial institutions than boys.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: MetLife Foundation Sponsors ‘The Financial Inclusion Challenge’ in Asia

Source: Market Watch

Today, MetLife Foundation announced its exclusive sponsorship and launch of The Financial Inclusion Challenge. The Challenge, developed in partnership with MetLife Foundation and managed by The Wall Street Journal, is a two-year global project launching in Asia with the aim of encouraging non-profit and for-profit enterprises to submit proposals that provide innovative, sustainable solutions for individuals and families struggling to be part of the financial mainstream.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Shop-Based Malaria Kit Boosts Testing for Disease

Source: Science and Development Network

A trial that trained Ugandan shopkeepers to use subsidised malaria test kits could point to a way of reducing the misuse of malaria medicine.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M&A Activity Set To Increase In Africa’s Health Sector

Source: AFK Insider

Mumbai-based pharmaceutical major Lupin Ltd.'s buyout of the remaining 40 percent equity stake in South Africa’s generic drug maker Pharma Dynamics at undisclosed amount last week shed light on other potential windfalls for Africa’s health-care investors.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why Big Data is the booster shot the healthcare industry needs

Source: First Post

Big Data solutions can help the health care industry acquire, organise and analyse data to optimise resource allocation, plug inefficiencies, reduce cost of treatment, improve access to health care and advance medicinal research.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Next Epidemic — Lessons from Ebola

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

Bill Gates writes: "It's instructive to compare our preparations for epidemics with our preparations for another sort of global threat — war."
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — South Asia

INTERVIEW: Muhammad Yunus discusses the Indian microfinance industry

Source: Live Mint

The Nobel laureate and founder of microfinance pioneer Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank says MFIs in India could be greedy and tapping the capital market or raising loans from private equity funds is a bad idea.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

3 European Powers Say They Will Join China-Led Development Bank

Source: New York Times

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: MasterCard Foundation and Technoserve Announce New Phase of African Youth Entrepreneurship Program

Source: Globe Newswire

The MasterCard Foundation and TechnoServe are announcing today a five-year, $25.9 million partnership to generate increased income and economic opportunities for 48,000 young people in rural East Africa.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Chinese Phone Giant Xiaomi Tests Mobile Wallet That Pays Interest

Source: Re/Code

Chinese phone giant Xiaomi has introduced a new wrinkle on the mobile wallet: A portable account that bears interest.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Asia Steps Up Efforts to Reach the ‘Unbanked’

Source: Wall Street Journal

Across Asia, governments are experimenting with novel ways to widen access to financial services, from using mobile technology for transfers to allowing retail stores to take deposits in remote areas.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

India Bets on Mobiles in Battle on Maternal, Child Deaths

Source: Reuters

India is betting on cheap mobile phones to cut some of the world's highest rates of maternal and child deaths, as it rolls out a campaign of voice messages delivering health advice to pregnant women and mothers.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Orange, Airtel Join Forces to Enable International Money Transfers in West Africa

Source: PC Tech Magazine

Customers of Orange Money in Côte d’Ivoire can now use their mobile phones to send money to customers of Airtel Money in Burkina Faso, and vice versa.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: International Finance Corporation Loaning $2.5m to La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Nigeria

Source: MicroCapital

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing NGN 400 million (USD 2.5 million) in La Fayette Microfinance Bank, one of eight members of the Advans Network of microfinance institutions, which is based in Luxembourg and managed by Horus Development Finance of France. The investment will support the growth of La Fayette, which was created in June 2012 and target micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria’s urban areas.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uptake Boost for African e-Health Startups

Source: Disrupt Africa

African healthcare providers are gradually recognising the convenience and cost benefits of adopting patient portals integrating financial and clinical data, according to Frost & Sullivan, giving a boost to a number of startups operating in the e-health sector.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Mysterious Disappearance of Poverty

Source: Maclean's

How do you help the poor? It is a very old question. The Roman emperor Nero found the answer in the advice of Stoic philosophers like Seneca, and built an awe-inspiring palace covered in gold leaf. This would fill the lower classes with gratitude for being blessed with such a glorious leader. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Roman senate ended Nero’s reign by ordering him to commit suicide four years later.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Inclusion in Focus in India, but Bank Loans to Micro Sector Fall 5.5%

Source: The Economic Times

State-run banks may have created a record with opening of Jan Dhan accounts, but when it comes to lending to the poor, they are actually faltering. Bank loans to the micro sector, the target group of the government's financial inclusion drive and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), have fallen 5.5% over the last 14 months, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Pharma Firms Must Innovate in Face of Generic Drugs Slowdown

Source: Zee News

Indian pharmaceuticals companies need to diversify their product range and focus on evolving as innovators as growth in generic market is expected to slow down over the next decade, a study by industry body Assocham said on Monday.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

Interview: Stuart Hart on How Indian Microfinance Institutions Can Improve Their Negative Image

Source: Business Insider

In the second part of his interview to the Chairman of Indian Council of Competitiveness, Amit Kapoor, global thinker and Founder and President of Enterprise for a Sustainable World, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping businesses make the transition to sustainability, Stuart Hart talks about how Indian micro finance institutions can work towards cleaning their negative image.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

Is Corporate Social Responsibility China’s Secret Weapon?

Source: World Economic Forum

Today, we hear a great deal about Chinese M&A deals, Chinese money and investment pouring into diverse markets, and even Chinese loans being used to bail out struggling economies.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

Social Issues-Focused Digital Media Co The Better India Raises $160K From Intellecap

Source: VCCircle

Bangalore-based The Better India Pvt Ltd, which runs a news website focusing on social issues under the same brand, has raised $160,000 (Rs 1 crore) in funding from members of angel network Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I-cube-N), a company statement said. Investors include Raveen Sastry, a co-founder of e-commerce portal Myntra.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'My Life Is So Much Better Now'

Source: BBC

In the west, cataract surgery is a routine operation. But in rural Africa, people can find it extremely difficult to get diagnosed and treated for the condition - and it can ruin their lives.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Airtel Now Rolls Out Cross Border Mobile Money Service Between DRC, Zambia, and Rwanda

Source: The Maravi Post

Bharti Airtel, the leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Africa and Asia, has today announced the launch of a cross-border money-transfer service for Airtel Money customers between The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Rwanda.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Medical Researchers Challenged to Create an Affordable Dialysis Machine to Treat People in Remote Communities

Source: ABC News

Three leading health organisations have set medical researchers a challenge to make an affordable dialysis machine capable of using non-purified water as new figures show more people will experience terminal kidney failure.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Ethical Investments: Lack of Awareness Means Investors Are Supporting Industries They Oppose

Source: The Independent

Liz Berwick is a fairly typical saver. The 35-year-old mother of two hopes to put away around £3,000 this year by saving regularly into a tax-free Isa. The question is, where?
Monday, March 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Who Lives and Who Dies?

Source: Slate

What is it like to be a passenger on a bus, or standing in a cheering crowd at the finishing line of a marathon, in the seconds after a bomb goes off, when you know you’re hurt but not where or how badly? What’s it like to be a child who finds a discarded toy and picks up what turns out to be a landmine? What’s it like to be giving birth at home, and see blood pooling between your legs, and look up at the ashen faces of a birth attendant, a midwife, a spouse? What’s it like to feel the earth tremble and see the roof and walls of your home or school fall toward you? More to the point, in terms of survival: What happens next? It depends. Not just on the severity of the injury, but on who and where you are. Death in childbirth, once the leading killer of young women across the world, is now registered almost exclusively among women living in extreme poverty, many of them in rural areas. Trauma is now the leading cause of death for children and young adults in much of the world. Who lives and who dies depends on what sort of health care system is available. And who recovers, if recovery is possible, depends on the way emergency care and hospitals are financed.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Inside MTN Mobile Money Saga in Uganda

Source: The Independent

Mobile money services in Uganda are coming under scrutiny and what is emerging is troubling. At the centre of the saga in which President Yoweri Museveni is personally involved, is Uganda’s biggest telecom operator, MTN, which is battling several allegations of fraud, and suits and counter suits in the courts.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — South Asia

Tampons That Change the World, One Period At a Time

Source: Mashable

"Welcome to the store for vaginas." These are the confident and unapologetic words that greet you when you visit the website forSHEVA, a startup that sells feminine hygiene products for a cause. The branding, which includes a woman in a classic Rosie the Riveter pose holding a box of Playtex tampons, dispels menstrual stigma and promotes women's empowerment with every click.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Korean Social Enterprises Go Global

Source: Devex

Social enterprises — businesses that prioritize human and environmental benefits equally to profits — are effective vehicles to achieve development goals as their market-based approaches bring sustainability and scalability that are essential to create long-term impact.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Gates Foundation's $52M Investment Says About Social Enterprise Funding

Source: Forbes

Social enterprises seeking financing face a great many hurdles that more-traditional ventures don’t have to tackle.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — Asia Pacific

State-Owned Bank Negara Indonesia Prepares to Launch Branchless Banking Program

Source: The Jakarta Post

State-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is preparing to expand its electronic money (e-money) service to increase low-cost funds as well as to offer wider banking access.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — South Asia

India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Launches Digitization Scheme for Women Self-Help Groups

Source: The Economic Times

With an objective to promote financial inclusion, Nabard today started a pilot project for complete digitisation of women self help groups (SHGs) to improve the quality of interface between members and banks for efficient and hassle free delivery of banking services.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Deutsche Bank Closes $50 Million Social Enterprise Fund

Source: Yahoo!

Deutsche Bank’s Global Social Finance Group today announced the closing of the Essential Capital Consortium (ECC), a five-year USD 50 million social enterprise fund, which is part of its family of social impact funds first launched in 2005.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

New MacArthur President Promises Grant Making With a More Immediate Impact

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation looked within its own ranks to pick its new president, Julia Stasch, who has promised to instill a sense of urgency at the grant maker.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Lending to Poor Farmers: Seeding the Market

Source: The Economist

“Coffee is our gateway drug,” jokes Willy Foote, founder of Root Capital. “Then we move on to harder stuff, like cocoa, cashews, quinoa and sorghum.” That is how the firm got started in 1999, after Mr Foote quit his job as a Wall Street analyst, lending $73,000 to a coffee (and cardamom) co-operative in Guatemala. It has since expanded to 25 countries in Latin America and Africa, and in December set up shop in Indonesia, with a loan of $550,000 to an organic coffee co-operative.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Top 10 Illnesses That Have Developed an Immunity to Vaccines

Source: Newsmax

The medical community has been issuing alerts about mutating viruses and increases in the frequency of infectious disease. The changes make it more difficult to control diseases that have become resistant to vaccines and antibiotics.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

From the Gates Foundation, Direct Investment, Not Just Grants

Source: The New York Times

The Ebola crisis underscored a problem that vexes experts in global health: Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives, especially in developing countries, yet traditional vaccines can take years to develop.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Top Mobile Wallet App Adds Support for Payments to Bank Accounts

Source: TechCrunch

Paytm, a India-based mobile payments service operated by (now) Alibaba-backed One97, has introduced a big new feature that lets 25 million users transfer money to bank accounts.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Cholera vaccine succeeds in rural Haiti

Source: Medical Xpress

A vaccination campaign that almost didn't happen was widely effective in reducing transmission of cholera in the midst of an ongoing outbreak of the disease in rural Haiti.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

Grameen Foundation USA Partners with MetLife Foundation to Provide Microfinance in Uttar Pradesh

Source: Moneycontrol

Grameen Foundation US has partnered with MetLife Foundation to provide savings and other services to at least 40,000 poor and women clients in Uttar Pradesh.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

PPP is an Avenue That Needs to Be Aggressively Tapped

Source: The Financial Express

Alisha Moopen, Director, Aster DM Healthcare, as a young entrepreneur working for improving women’s health, feels that in India there is an immense need for continued innovation in this sphere. She talks about the need for the government, private sector and NGOs to integrate their efforts to strengthen the health system for women in India, in an interaction with Raelene Kambli
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

Uber Unveils Plan for Training Women Cabbies

Source: DNA India

Cab aggregator service Uber today announced that it had tied up with a Singapore-based company to train women drivers even as it continues to be under a Delhi government ban after a driver enlisted with it allegedly raped a 25-year-old woman executive inside a taxi.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Muhammad Yunus joins global public awareness campaign for solar

Source: PV Magazine

Visionary social entrepreneur and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has joined the world's first global public awareness campaign for solar, SolarFUTURE.today.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

Next Phase of Jan Dhan Yojana to Mobilize Financial Savings

Source: The Economic Times

The finance ministry on Wednesday said the next phase of the government's ambitious financial inclusion scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), will be focused on mobilisation of financial savings to reverse the decline in the savings rate.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bramer Bank Provides Gateway to Investment in Africa

Source: World Finance

Mauritius is the easiest place to do business in Africa, offering a compelling banking environment for industry pioneers such as Bramer Bank.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Nonprofit Contractor Sent Government $1.1 Million Bill for Parties and Retreats

Source: The Washington Post

The largest nonprofit contractor working for the U.S. Agency for International Development during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan billed the government $1.1 million for staff parties and pricey retreats — three of them held at one of the poshest destinations on the East Coast, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Refugees Volunteer to Keep African Restaurant Mu'ooz Open in Brisbane

Source: ABC News

A not-for-profit Brisbane restaurant that helps female African refugees hopes volunteers and diversification will help keep the business running.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — South Asia

Zebpay Launches Bitcoin Mobile Wallet in India

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Tech firm Zebpay on March 11 announced launch of its 'bitcoin' mobile wallet in the country. The wallet, which is in form of a mobile application, will help its user buy, sell and transact in bitcoins, which is presently valued at around USD 280 per unit at present.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Getting a New Contraception Option to Market: How Public-Private Partnerships Drive Innovation

Source: PSI Impact

The modern Senegalese woman has it together. From raising children to owning a small business, ambition and poise are valued by Senegalese women, according to market research conducted by PSI and its partners before the launch of a new contraceptive option called Sayana Press.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Women: The Unbanked “CFOs”

Source: PYMNTS.com

There are 2.5 billion in the world without a bank account. That number is familiar and been reported widely. What’s lesser known is that a majority of those 2.5 billion unbanked people are women.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — South Asia

India Introduces Its Own $1 Rotavirus Vaccine

Source: RYOT News

On March, 9, India introduced its first ever indigenously produced vaccine for the Rotavirus.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Solar Expert Joins Microfinance Leader FINCA International's Board of Directors

Source: PR Newswire

FINCA International, a leading microfinance organization based inWashington, D.C., is pleased to welcome Dr. Fred Seymour, a solar energy expert, to its Board of Directors. A pioneer of microfinance, FINCA is actively exploring the development of additional social enterprises that can deliver nonfinancial products and services, starting with solar energy.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

How The UN Plans To Use Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development

Source: Forbes

Several months ago, I wrote a post that was critical of ongoing efforts by the United Nations to renew theirMillennium Development Goals (MDG’s) – to be called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) moving forward. My concern with the plan stemmed from the fact that we have seen incredible progress in areas of international development as a result of innovation, social entrepreneurship and good policy. And yet, “Draft Zero” of the Sustainable Development Goals, did not showcase the learnings of the last 15 years, and instead, seemed like a laundry list of interest-group agenda items lumped together.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — No Region Specified

Gates Foundation Issues Mobile Money Data Challenge

Source: Finextra

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is continuing its push to accelerate the adoption of mobile money in the developing world by offering grants to firms that devise ways to capture data relating to the delivery and use of digital financial services.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: IFC Study Shows How Tanzania Became Mobile Financial Services Pioneer

Source: StarAfrica

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today published a study documenting the establishment of interoperability in the mobile financial services market in Tanzania, an arrangement that increases access to mobile financial services and advances financial inclusion.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Botswana Innovation Hub Launches New TV White Spaces Pilot Project

Source: IT News Africa

The Botswana Innovation Hub, in collaboration with Microsoft, the Botswana-UPenn Partnership (BUP), Global Broadband Solutions, Vista Life Sciences, BoFiNet, Adaptrum and USAID-NetHope, has launched a new TV white spaces (TVWS) pilot project.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

Study: Financial Tax Would Pay Off Big

Source: The Huffington Post

Elected leaders in Washington are heading into another season of wrangling over the same old federal budget revenue shortfalls. But a number of European countries are looking forward to a revenue injection from a fresh and deserving source: high flyers in the financial markets.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — South Asia

Living India: Doctor Couple Who Built a Cheap Hospital

Source: BBC

At first sight, the cheerful-looking red and white painted building looks like a quiet public rest house in the din and bustle of Hajipur, a fast developing town in India's northern state of Bihar.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

3 Ways to Fight Financial Exclusion

Source: World Economic Forum

Inclusion is one of the hottest development topics of 2015. Being excluded, financially or socially, perpetuates unemployment, inequality and poverty. With 1.8 billion young people in the world, and this number growing most rapidly in the countries with the highest rates of exclusion, we can’t afford to hesitate in addressing this problem.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

The 100% Club

Source: Financial Advisor Magazine

When it comes to managing money, the rich are increasingly pursuing more than just financial rewards and going full tilt on the idea of using investments as a tool for social and environmental change.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

Social Enterprises On the Rise

Source: Jamaica Observer

A prudent man holds on to the old as long as it is good, and grabs hold of the new as soon as it is better; so goes an old adage. It's time to let go of the old and discredited handout and hand-me-down charity approach, and take hold instead of the hand-up approach to community and nation-building practised by social entrepreneurs and social enterprises. There are two outstanding men among us who are at the forefront of grabbing hold of this new paradigm; one from the public sector and the other from the private sector.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Unjani Clinics – ‘Empowered Quality Healthcare’

Source: SA Good News

Unjani Clinics is a new alternative to the South African state healthcare system which is unable to adequately serve patients with quality service. By creating a social franchise easily deployable in rural communities, Unjani Clinics is a way to empower people and create jobs. In the next three years, 90 clinics will be launched across South Africa. Lynda Toussaint, CEO of Unjani Clinics, explains this promising model to us.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing Is the Top Way to Contribute to Society in the Future, Says Global Survey of Philanthropists

Source: Pro Bono Australia

Impact investing is seen as the most promising trend by the majority of global philanthropists, according to new figures. The BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index 2015 revealed that 52 per cent of global philanthropists nominated impact investment as the top way to contribute to society in the future.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Using Mobile Technology to Improve Maternal Health and Fight Ebola: A Case Study of Mobile Innovation in Nigeria

Source: Brookings

Today, many emerging countries struggle to provide basic health care to their citizens. And the lack of quality maternal, infant and child care has a devastating impact in these areas. Yet medical practitioners, government agencies, and private industry are beginning to learn how mobile technology can be harnessed to develop and inspire solutions to aid the health of people and nations.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — South Asia

The One Chinese Innovation that Could Change the Way We Think About Money

Source: The Washington Post

The new China International Payments System (CIPS), which is set to debut before the end of 2015, has been described as a “worldwide payments superhighway for the yuan.” What the creation of such a system means in the short-term is that the Chinese currency (officially known as the renminbi) has the potential to become a truly international, convertible currency and a more attractive currency for conducting international trade and finance. What it means in the long-term is that America’s long reign of economic dominance is at risk.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New 'M-Shwari-Like' Service Launched in Kenya

Source: ITWeb Africa

Safaricom has entered into a partnership with a leading bank in Kenya, the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), to launch a mobile banking product similar to M-shwari, named KCB-MPesa Account.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ekocenters to Empower Rwanda’s Women Entrepreneurs

Source: BiztechAfrica

Ericsson and The Coca-Cola Company have announced a pilot project to bring mobile connectivity to EKOCENTER, a social enterprise initiative designed to empower community well-being by bringing safe water, solar power and mobile communications, as well as basic goods and services to underserved communities. The pilot project will be conducted in collaboration with Tigo Rwanda and German start-up company, Solarkiosk.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — South Asia

Vaccine Worth $1.3m ‘Goes Bad’ in Health Ministry Store

Source: DAWN

Pentavalent Vaccine worth $1.3 million, enough to vaccinate 400,000 infants against five potentially deadly diseases, has spoiled in a storage room at the National Health Services (NHS) Ministry. Three junior officials have been suspended for negligence which resulted in the temperature variation causing the vaccine to spoil.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Bitcoin Regulation Lags Where it's Needed Most

Source: CoinDesk

International remittance is ostensibly one of the most compelling use cases for bitcoin and digital currencies. Recorded remittances to Africa grew four-fold between 1990 and 2010 and have increased steadily since. The World Bank projects $39bn in remittances to sub-Saharan Africa this year.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Latin America

Argentina Challenges HSBC to Condemn 'Financial Piracy' As It Demands $3.5bn From Swiss Accounts

Source: The Telegraph

Argentina has challenged HSBC to publicly denounce alleged tax evasion at the bank's Argentine subsidiary, saying not doing so would be an act of "financial piracy".
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

$9.59 T Global Healthcare Market Attracts New Entrepreneurs

Source: Enterprise Innovation

Business opportunities are attracting entrepreneurs to the $9.59-trillion global healthcare market in both developed and developing countries, according to a new report issued recently by PwC.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M-Pesa: Vodacom Tanzania, Safaricom Kenya Connect on Transfers

Source: BiztechAfrica

Over 7 million M-Pesa customers in Tanzania and over 18 million Safaricom customers in Kenya can now send and receive money from each other. This revolutionary service allows for mobile wallet-to-wallet transfers between the two largest telecom operators in East Africa. Now, customers can transfer funds across the border at the same rate as sending money locally.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — South Asia

Does India Need Microfinance-Focused Mudra Bank?

Source: Live Mint

Do we need yet another refinance agency in the Indian financial system? Quite a few such agencies already exist; none of them can claim to be a success by any yardstick.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

Toilet Could Turn Urine Into Electricity at Refugee Camps

Source: The Huffington Post

An innovative urinal could turn pee into a source of electricity. Driven to find a way to protect women and girls in refugee camps who are often assaulted when they go to the bathroom at night, researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have devised a urinal that lights up when a person uses it.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Proper Sanitary Pads Are Keeping Girls in School

Source: NPR

How do you cut the school dropout rate for girls in a remote pocket of Uganda? And how do you create jobs for village women? The answer to both questions: sanitary pads.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Accenture, Amref to Improve mHealth in Africa

Source: Machine 2 Machine Magazine

Accenture (NYSE:ACN) and the Accenture Foundations have awarded Amref Health Africa an additional grant of US$3 million to help the organization enhance and scale its mobile health training program to 3,000 community health workers in Kenya. This grant brings Accenture’s direct support to Amref Health Africa to more than US$7.3 million since 2005.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

Village Capital Announces Latest Impact Investments

Source: Forbes

Village Capital, a leading venture firm investing in social enterprises, recently announced its latest investments. Operating with a unique model that starts with a cohort of startups in a particular industry, most recently healthcare IT, that actually relies on the startups to choose the companies Village Capital invests in.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: You Don't Want Charities to Be Efficient

Source: The Huffington Post

Efficiency. We can get obsessed by efficiency. In our businesses, jobs and personal lives we often ask, 'How can we do more with less?'. We have the 4 Hour Work Week, 4 Hour Body and numerous 'life hacks.' But often lost in the mix in the discussion around efficiency is the focus on quality. What type of life does this give us? What type of business does this give us?
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How Dokita Is Improving Access to Health Information

Source: 97.3 Citi FM

Ghana and Africa as a whole faces a number of big challenges to healthcare delivery. A large part of the healthcare mandate depends on access not only to facilities and treatment, but also simply to empowering, life-saving information. This is often lacking or difficult to access in Africa.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

OurCrowd Helps Wharton Students Launch Largest Student-Run Impact Investing Platform in the World

Source: Business Wire

OurCrowd, the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, has announced a unique collaboration that will help students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania get an industry-leading experiential education in impact investing. This initiative will greatly expand the Wharton Social Venture Fund (WSVF), a flagship program operated under the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) which allows students to select, curate and diligence investments that will change the world.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

How Impact Philanthropy is Shape-Shifting

Source: Barron's Impact Investment Blog

A study by Exponent Philanthropy suggests philanthropists and family foundations are becoming more impact-oriented, doling out fewer grants but with larger dollar amounts given to only the top-performing nonprofits.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Adopting the Lean Startup Approach

Source: Entrepreneur

Most startups fail to take off. The traditional method of starting a business has been to come up with a business plan, get investors to back it, assemble your dream team, get a product in play and push it hard. But this approach often exposes entrepreneurs to risks that blindside them later. The same could be said of the big ideas often touted to help the poor in emerging markets, either with access to cleaner water and sanitation or education.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — South Asia

Will Indian Generic Pharma Players Live Up to Their Billing?

Source: Deccan Herald

Compared with many other industries in the country, save for the software industry, the Indian pharmaceutical sector’s performance has been impressive and its future secure.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Phone Camera Checks Water for Arsenic

Source: Chemistry World

UK scientists have developed a mobile phone-based system to help people avoid drinking water contaminated with arsenic.1 The phone’s camera measures quantum dot fluorescence in response to arsenic, achieving a limit of detection as low as 5µM.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — South Asia

Japanese Encephalitis: China Denies India's Request for Additional Doses of Vaccine

Source: International Business Times

China has refused to supply additional doses of the Japanese encephalitis vaccine to India, raising concerns over control of the mosquito-borne disease which intensifies during the rainy season.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

A $20 Gadget that Can Save 70,000 Mothers a Year

Source: The New Zealand Herald

The lives of tens of thousands of new mothers around the world could be saved by a simple, hand-held, British-made device costing only £12, which runs on a mobile-phone charger and is set to be introduced in hospitals across Africa, India and Pakistan.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bitcoin Exchange Expands to Kenya, Sees Potential in Using M-Pesa

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Last week the 14-month-old Australian based Bitcoin exchange, Igot, launched in Kenya with the acquisition of local company TagPesa to target the country’s remittance market. In addition, Igot has also been granted access to the mobile money service, M-Pesa, giving members the ability to deposit and withdraw money directly from their M-Pesa account, currently used by about 17 million Kenyans.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Viewpoint: Poor Man’s Rich Man

Source: Philippine Star

It looks like fish. It smells like fish. When unsold and unmarketable, it usually rots and goes to waste. But not so in the fisherfolk community in Iligan, where excess catch of fish in season are collected for livelihood. It’s like chicken dung gathered by another community in Naawan, Misamis Oriental, and coconut husks collected from copra farms by a cooperative of former rebels who laid down their arms for life with society. Rotten fish, chicken dung, coconut husks – all biowastes that can be converted to organic fertilizers that communities can sell and make a living out of. For them, it is a way to resist poverty through their own productive work. But this is just half of the story.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

Adding Good Deeds to the Investment Equation

Source: The New York Times

Every two years, the residents of Richmond, Calif., a city long known for some of the highest rates of violence in the United States, gather to discuss its priorities. For years, the No. 1 concern was crime.
Monday, March 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

A Plan to Empower More Than One Million Women

Source: The Huffington Post

There is a story that persists around the developing world, to the detriment of families and entire economies: Women are being sidelined from economic progress because of limited access to financial services.
Friday, March 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ebola’s low-down on high tech

Source: The Economist

Advanced equipment has been developed to help protect health-care workers, but the gear may not be helpful in poor countries.
Friday, March 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Gates Foundation makes its biggest-ever equity investment in German biotech

Source: Reuters

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it would invest $52 million in CureVac, a German biotechnology company that develops vaccines and immunotherapies, marking the foundation's biggest-ever equity investment.
Friday, March 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mister Sister clinics roll on

Source: Informante

The Mister Sister initiative started almost three years ago is making a positive contribution at enhanced access to primary health care in rural and remote populations in the Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Khomas Regions.
Friday, March 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global impact assets expected to hit $12.7 billion for 2014

Source: Pensions & Investments

Global impact investments were expected to grow to $12.7 billion last year, up 20% from the previous year, according to a report released Thursday by Global Impact Investing Network.
Friday, March 6, 2015 — Latin America

MasterCard and Microsoft partner to promote financial inclusion in Mexico

Source: FinExtra

MasterCard and Microsoft announced a partnership to promote economic development in Mexico by supporting the base of the economy, the micro merchant, through comprehensive projects and innovative solutions in information technology, communication and payments
Friday, March 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

For the 'unbanked', mobile money still has some way to go

Source: Reuters

While many people have mobile money accounts – usually with the phone companies - few are actively used.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global Health Justice Partnership calls for action to lower drug prices

Source: Yale Daily News

Yale’s Global Health Justice Partnership has released a report warning the international community that scientific discoveries will not be enough to prevent the over 500,000 deaths that occur every year from Hepatitis C.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Connectivity Kiosks 'EkoConnect' to Debut in Rwanda

Source: TechCabal

Ericsson, Coca-Cola, Tigo and SolarKiosk are partnering on a social enterprise initiative called ‘EkoConnect’ that is designed to provide safe water, solar power, mobile communications as well as basic goods and services to underserved communities in Rwanda.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — South Asia

B Corps movement eyeing expansion in Asia

Source: Eco-Business

Having made some headway in the US – B Lab’s home ground – and Europe, the time may be right to bring the B Corp concept to Asia, B Lab founder Bart Houlahan says.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Here's Why Global Health is So Exciting

Source: MDDI Online

Two examples provide clues to how technology is paving the way to tackle big healthcare problems globally.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bill Gates on philanthropy and optimism

Source: Maclean's

Billionaire talks about how he and Canada work together, the setbacks Ebola represents—and why he has a positive outlook.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — South Asia

Funding the unfunded: India helps small business borrow to grow

Source: Reuters

A new bank announced in the annual budget last week could boost loans and cut borrowing costs for the country's cash-starved small businesses - tailors, mechanics and phone booth operators who account for around a fifth of the economy.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Start-Up Hubs Multiply in East Africa

Source: Huffington Post

The African continent has become home to a new wave of creativity and talent, with Nairobi as the hotbed of innovation.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Free Loan-Repayment Processing Helps Grameen America Increase Macro Impact on Women

Source: Market Wired

Through PayNearMe, Grameen America Borrowers Gain Convenient Option to Repay Loans at 7,800 7-Eleven Stores Nationwide, as Grameen Expands Solution to California and New York.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

MasterCard CEO says financial inclusion is our generation's big responsibility

Source: Business Insider

MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga discussed financial inclusion at Mobile World Congress.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A million sign ups in two months: How is EcoSure growing so fast?

Source: TechZim

EcoSure has registered over 1 million users, an uptake that translates to 150,000 new users every week. These are impressive numbers, so what’s the secret behind this?
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

This Firm Keeps Capital Flowing to Micro-Entrepreneurs

Source: Entrepreneur

The global financial crisis didn’t dent the demand for loans from small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs around the world. But it sure whacked the supply of capital available to lend to them.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghanaian startup hopes “ethical pricing” prompts surge in African Bitcoin remittances

Source: Disrupt Africa

Ghanaian startup Beam is banking on the fact heavily undercutting other remittance services will lead to large uptake of Bitcoin across Africa.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Lighting Science and Global Good to Develop Light-Based Alternatives to Pesticides

Source: Business Wire

Lighting Science Group Corporation and Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good today announced a research agreement to collaborate on the development of next-generation light technologies for pest control.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 — Latin America

Drought-Stricken São Paulo Battles Dengue Fever Outbreak

Source: Wall Street Journal

Inhabitants of this megacity, suffering through the worst drought in decades, have unwittingly contributed to an outbreak of dengue fever by storing scarce water in open containers.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

Johns Hopkins Researchers Identify Key to Tuberculosis Resistance

Source: Infection Control Today

The cascade of events leading to bacterial infection and the immune response is mostly understood. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the immune response to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis have remained a mystery — until now.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

Lumkani is going to Silicon Valley, wins $50k social entrepreneurship prize

Source: Ventureburn

Lumkani Fire Detection has won the South African leg of Chivas Regal’s Win the Right Way competition — a global initiative that sets out to find and support the world’s top social entrepreneurs. The Cape Town-based startup has developed an early-warning fire detection system for dense settlements. The small fire detection device consists of heat detectors that send an SMS with GPS locations to community leaders and the local fire department in times of danger.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Moving Africa toward health self-sufficiency

Source: Washington Post

Across Africa, growth rates and the discovery of natural resources are pushing countries toward middle-income status, but their health systems are still too weak for donors to withdraw support.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — South Asia

Maternal health in India much worse than previously thought, new study finds

Source: MedicalXpress

More than 40 percent of women in India are underweight when they begin pregnancy, according to a new study published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — South Asia

Bengaluru-based Molbio develops India's first swine flu diagnostic kit

Source: The Economic Times

The swine flu flare-up has pushed an indigenous innovation faster into the market, a rare silver lining in an otherwise gloomy story, as India battles the worst outbreak of the virus in the past five years.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Equity Bank Seeks Investment Opportunities within Health Sector

Source: Ventures

Kenyan-based Equity Bank says it is interested in exploring investment opportunities within the country’s health sector, as it seeks to exploit increasing demand for healthcare in the country.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — Latin America

Bitcoin Startups Bring 'Rebittance' Service to Argentina and Mexico

Source: Coindesk

Bitcoin startups Volabit and SatoshiTango have opened a money transfer service between their respective countries through a collaboration called Coinnect.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

5 Things You Didn't Know About Philanthropy

Source: Huffington Post

One of the greatest challenges for philanthropy today is the very term itself --philanthropy.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Europeans Selling Mobile Payments Should Ask Africa for Help

Source: Bloomberg

As telecommunications carriers in Europe seek a share of the billions of dollars likely to flow to companies that build mobile-payment systems, Claudio Chiche has a few words of advice: Ask Africa for help.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MasterCard moves on remittances in Nigeria and Zimbabwe

Source: FinExtra

MasterCard announced partnerships to make international remittance services available to millions of consumers in both Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — South Asia

World Bank to boost India's MSME sector through $500 million loan

Source: The Times of India

The World Bank on Monday approved a $500 million loan for the MSME Growth Innovation and Inclusive Finance Project to improve access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) working in the manufacturing and services sector at an early stage.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: GSMA Report Shows Active Mobile Money Customers Increased by Over 40 Percent to 100 Million in 2014

Source: Business Wire

The GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme today released its fourth annual ‘Mobile Financial Services State of the Industry Report’, providing a quantitative assessment of the state of mobile financial services, including mobile money, mobile insurance, mobile savings and mobile credit.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Viewpoint: The Rise of the Social Entrepreneurs Is Egypt's Silent Revolution

Source: Huffington Post

Tuning in to news channels, browsing through social media sites, or engaging in a chit-chat with one of Egypt's ever-so talkative taxi drivers can leave even the biggest optimist heavy-hearted. High illiteracy rates in Egypt's primary and middle schools, blood-covered hospital beds shared by multiple patients, and increased suicide rates among men unable to provide for their families are tragically common and familiar headlines. While the core of our economic and social problems have long been recognized, very little has been done to address them.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — South Asia

Drug-resistant malaria threatens to spread to India causing global health crisis

Source: The Independent

Mutant genes that are resistant to a vital anti-malaria drug were found in the blood of people close to the India border.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — South Asia

Pakistan wastes $3.7 million worth of donated vaccine, official says

Source: The Daily Mail

Pakistan has wasted $3.7 million worth of vaccines donated to protect children from deadly diseases because officials failed to store them properly, a senior health official told Reuters on Monday.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

A Research Agenda for HIV Survivors

Source: Science and Development Network

Chronic disease among HIV positive people has been overlooked, say K. M. Venkat Narayan and Sten Vermund. Over 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV. Massive global efforts and investments to deliver combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) have transformed a fatal infectious disease into a chronic, treatable disease.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Visa and Bharti Airtel Push Mobile Money as Telcos Lead the Way in Developing Markets

Source: Finextra

Visa is to work with Bharti Airtel to extend its mobile money service to seven markets in Africa, including Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles and Tanzania.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Orange fires off sub-$40 Firefox phone for Africa

Source: Gadget

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Orange launched a digital offer called Klif for under US$40, bundling a smartphone, data, voice and text bundle. The solution will be available across Africa and the Middle East. Orange has launched Klif for under US$40, bundling a smartphone, data, voice and text in one for its African and Middle Eastern footprint. Ten offer is claimed to set "a new benchmark in price that will act as a major catalyst for smartphone and data adoption across the region".
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

F.B. Heron Foundation Is Going 'All In' on Impact Investing

Source: Forbes

Clara Miller, who has headed the F.B. Heron Foundation for the past three years, wants to take the ultimate impact investing step: moving the foundation’s $300 million endowment entirely into impact investments.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — Latin America

Move Over, Doctors—Plumbers Without Borders Are Coming to the Rescue

Source: Takepart.com

For Florida plumber Frederick Schilling Jr, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed at least 45,000 people, was a pivotal moment in his life, transforming how he looks at the world. His view today? “We in America have absolutely no idea how good we have it and how easy our lives are,” he said.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Report: Global Sustainable Investing Market Surpasses $21 Trillion

Source: Sustainable Brands

The global sustainable investment market has grown “substantially” in the past two years with assets reaching $21.4 trillion by the start of 2014, according to a new report by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA).
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Microcredit oversold as anti-poverty tool, economists say

Source: Reuters

Microcredit is no panacea for lifting millions of people from poverty, leading economists said on Friday in releasing research from seven countries that challenges a key development tool.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bitcoin Takes a Step Into the Microfinance World

Source: Wall Street Journal

Stellar, the cryptocurrency-based payments system launched last year by Jed McCaleb, announced a partnership with banking-software company Oradian to use Stellar platform in its core banking software for microfinance institutions.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Deutsche Bank Marks Milestone for USD $83 Million Microfinance Fund

Source: Insurance News

The Fund reached 5.5 million low-income and rural borrowers in 15 countries
Monday, March 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Mobile Banking Revolution and What It Means for South Africa

Source: Ventures Africa

New mobile payment platforms can provide a foundation for financial inclusion in South Africa and beyond, says David Abbott of Fiserv, a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions. But who will build the robust ecosystem required to fulfill their potential?
Monday, March 2, 2015 — South Asia

Hong Kong social enterprises should aim to turn over HK$10b a year

Source: South China Morning Post

The government has been urged to set financial targets for social enterprises as it prepares to pour more money into businesses dedicated to improving people's lives and the environment.
Friday, February 27, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Press Release: Global Health Partners Begin Building a New Approach to Ensure Equitable Access to Medicines

Source: The Global Fund

Global health partners met in Geneva to begin the process of building a new approach to better determine health needs and constraints and addressing them in countries.
Friday, February 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: $7.5 Billion on the Table for Vaccines: Will Leaders Keep Their Word?

Source: Reuters

What happens when the cameras power down, the microphones are put away, and the jets take off That’s a question many citizens ask themselves when they see their leaders in the headlines, making a fiery speech or a bold pledge from a podium in a faraway city.
Friday, February 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

How and Why Your Business Should Support Social Impact

Source: Chicago Tribune

An astounding 94 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands to one that supports a cause. Social impact is becoming more relevant in today's business world, and we are quickly realizing that the business of impact is the business of the future. And like many other social entrepreneurs leading the way in this space, it is important that we encourage all businesses to build a higher purpose into their model so that the most effective organizations in the world can also positively impact humanity in a major way.
Friday, February 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley Survey Finds Sustainable Investing Poised for Growth

Source: 3BL Media

Over seventy percent of active individual investors (71%) describe themselves as interested in sustainable investing, and nearly two in three (65%) believe sustainable investing will become more prevalent over the next five years, according to a new survey published today by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. The new Sustainable Signals report examines the attitudes and perceptions of individual investors towards sustainable investing and considers the broader implications for investors, corporations and governments.
Thursday, February 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Tuberculosis Drug Candidate Begins Clinical Safety Trial

Source: Science and Development Network

The first clinical safety trial on a tuberculosis drug since 2009 is now under way. The phase I trial of TBA-354 will involve 50 volunteers from the United States, according to the TB Alliance, the not-for-profit product development partnership sponsoring the trial.
Thursday, February 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Big Pharma, NGO Square the Circle on Access to Vaccines

Source: EurActiv

One would expect a multinational pharmaceutical group and a leading humanitarian NGO to hold radically opposed views on access to vaccines.
Thursday, February 26, 2015 — South Asia

Can Too Many Free and Subsidized Condoms Actually Harm Markets?

Source: PSI Impact

In Myanmar, sexual encounters are the most common mode of HIV transmission, causing the epidemic to concentrate among key populations such as female sex workers (FSW) and their male clients (MC), as well as men who have sex with men (MSM). Since 1996, PSI/Myanmar has targeted its condom social marketing program to these groups in order to achieve the greatest impact by preventing the spread of infection.
Thursday, February 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How an Anti-Tech Teacher Ended Up Creating A Mobile App to Improve Education in Africa

Source: The Huffington Post

In 2011 I returned to Kenya for a vacation. I wanted to see the community where I had lived just two years earlier, bring gifts to the families I had bonded with, and sing songs with the kids of the rural village that I had called home. I had lived in Muhuru Bay without water and electricity while working with teachers in this community to help students prepare for high school. It was meant to be a break before heading off to the West Coast for business school. I hadn't expected to start a company, especially one in technology.
Thursday, February 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

World Trade Organization Least-Developed Countries Request Waiver of Intellectual Property Rights on Pharma Products

Source: Intellectual Property Watch

This week at the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee meeting, least-developed countries submitted a request to extend a waiver allowing them not to enforce intellectual property rights on pharmaceutical products. The countries have extended the waiver before, but this time they are seeking to make it indefinite, until they are no longer considered LDCs.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — No Region Specified

Merck Places Children's HIV Drug in Shared Non-Profit Patent Pool

Source: Reuters

U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co has contributed an HIV medicine for children to an international shared patent pool in a move that should speed the development of cheap paediatric formulations for use in poor countries.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — South Asia

Treating India's Ailing Rural Healthcare

Source: DW

Treating diarrhea and pneumonia among children often requires a fairly simple intervention, such as administering life-saving oral rehydration salts. But instead, Indian doctors are often prescribing unnecessary antibiotics or other drugs that may actually worsen illness - according to a recent study coming out of Duke University in the United States.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: Kenyan Ministry of Health Selects GE as a Strategic Partner to Support Healthcare Modernization Program

Source: Business Wire

As part of a wide-scale healthcare transformation program, one of the largest of its kind in Africa, the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MoH) has announced GE Healthcare as a key strategic technology and solutions partner, following the conclusion of an open tender process.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Latin America

Citi and IBM Align to Accelerate Digital Banking Innovation Through Citi Mobile Challenge

Source: Market Watch

Citi® and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration to work with developers and build the next generation of financial technology (FinTech) through the Citi Mobile Challenge. IBM will offer mentorship tutorials, and access to Bluemix, IBM's digital innovation platform, to help developers participating in the Citi Mobile Challenge build, test and deploy their FinTech solutions. Citi Chief Client Experience, Digital and Marketing Officer for Global Consumer Banking Heather Cox and IBM Fellow and CTO Jerry Cuomo made the announcement at IBM InterConnect 2015, IBM's major cloud and mobile conference.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Pay-As-You-Go Solar Power Takes Off in Africa

Source: CNBC

In Kenya the cell phone is being used to transform the way that people consume energy. M-KOPA Solar – the word 'kopa' is Swahili for 'borrowed' – is a Nairobi-based business that has pioneered the idea of "pay-as-you-go" solar energy in Africa.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — South Asia

This New Messaging App Has a Built-in Wallet That Lets You Send Money to Your Friends

Source: Tech in Asia

Did you ever text a coffee to your buddy? Now you can with this new app. Created in the Philippines, Cheers is the first social messaging app that’s built around a mobile wallet.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — South Asia

Yunus Sees Room for Microcredit in China

Source: Global Times

Microcredit has been met with immense enthusiasm in China in recent years, with both banks and business moguls pushing into the sector. Global Times (GT) reporters Gu Di and Liu Zhun talked to Muhammad Yunus (Yunus), a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, economist, and microcredit icon. For founding Grameen Bank, a bank that makes small loans to the impoverished, he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Yunus shared his understanding with GT of why microcredit is flourishing in China and how China's "One Belt and One Road" project could influence the field.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MasterCard, Grooming Centre Boost Financial Inclusion for MSMEs in Nigeria

Source: Disrupt Africa

Over 500,000 female entrepreneurs in Nigeria are to be introduced to electronic payments under a new partnership agreed between MasterCard and local microfinance institution Grooming Centre.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion: Equity Bank, Master Card Launch New Prepaid Card in Kenya

Source: Ventures Africa

In a manner of speaking, Africa can mentor the rest of the world on mobile money based on the number of such solutions that have been successfully planted on the continent in the past half-decade. In a very recent development, Equity Bank Kenya has, in conjunction with MasterCard, launched a prepaid card with the central aim of deepening the cash lite economy in the east African country.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzanians to Enjoy Africa's First Universal Mobile Money Service

Source: ITWeb Africa

Global telecommunications and media firm Millicom has announced today that following an agreement with Vodacom's M-Pesa service, Tigo Pesa customers in Tanzania will be the first in Africa to be able to transact with users of all their country's mobile money networks.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Central Bank of Nigeria to Establish Regulatory Council for Islamic Finance

Source: CPI Financial

The CBN said, “An essential governance structure and element of regulatory oversight for institutions offering non-interest (Islamic) financial services is the establishment of an advisory body at the level of the Central Bank to provide assurance that the strategic direction and conduct of financial transactions of Non-Interest (Islamic) Financial Institutions (NIFIs) are in compliance with the rules and principles underpinning their operations.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Deal Allows Generics Makers License to Sell HIV Drug

Source: Devex

Children living with HIV in 92 countries may soon have access to a lower-cost antiretroviral treatment.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Oxford Business Dean: MBA Programs Should Be More than Driving Schools

Source: Bloomberg

Saïd Business School's dean argues that MBA programs should steer students toward futures that benefit not only their institutions but the world at large.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Banking Africa’s Unbanked Population is Not the Solution to Improved Inclusion

Source: Ventures Africa

Banking Africa’s unbanked population–adults who don’t use formal banks or semi-formal microfinance institutions to save or borrow money–may not be the solution to providing wider access to financial products and services.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Asia Pacific

As Overseas Money Dries Up, Indonesia Develops Its Own Vaccines

Source: EurActiv

Indonesia is developing its own vaccines to fight infectious diseases because funds from the EU and other development agencies to its health sector are drying up. EurActiv reports from Indonesia.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — South Asia

Healthcare Needs a Critical Push

Source: Business Line

Changing disease patterns, low public spend on healthcare, and high out of pocket expenses have been the primary concerns leading to the formulation of the government’s new health policy. Economic advancement in India over the last two decades has enabled the government to take the cue and clearly articulate its intent to increase the public financing of health to 2.5 per cent of GDP in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan to move toward affordable, accessible and quality healthcare for all.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Upside of Ebola May Be Vaccines

Source: OZY

They don’t have the name recognition of Ebola, but lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis are killer viruses in developing countries. Big killers. Indeed, combined with other illnesses like malaria and pneumonia, infectious diseases account for 1 in 7 deaths worldwide. But good luck trying to convince drug companies to put resources and funds into developing vaccines for most of them: Diseases in poor countries don’t make for lucrative markets.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — South Asia

Meet Rangan Srikhanta, the Former Refugee Who Wants to Change the World One Laptop at a Time

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

He came to Australia barely two months old with his family fleeing war in Sri Lanka. Now 31, the Tamil migrant with a broad Aussie accent acquired in Homebush, NSW, wants to give back.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Kompanion Financial Group Completes Equity Raise with Investment from FMO and Triodos Investment Management

Source: Kompanion

Kompanion Financial Group, one of the largest microfinance institutions in the Kyrgyz Republic both by loan portfolio and number of clients, has concluded an equity raise selling a 35% stake to international investors. The shares were purchased by Netherlands based investors FMO and Triodos Investment Management, with the latter investing through Triodos Fair Share Fund and Triodos Microfinance Fund. Kompanion’s founder Mercy Corps will remain majority shareholder and hold a 65% stake. The funds will be used for growth capital in the lending operations and support Kompanion’s transformation to a licensed banking institution.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Relaxed Rules Have Helped in Mobile Agent Recruitment - Airtel

Source: allAfrica

Lifting of restrictions on mobile money agents has helped Airtel Kenya recruit more merchants as it bids to take convenience closer to customers, according to chief executive Adil Youssefi.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Slippery Slope of Impact Investing

Source: Forbes

Impact investing is hot right now. The meteoric rise of social enterprise is shaking the foundations of the nonprofit sector, and traditional investors are starting to pay attention. There are more than $46 billion worth of impact investments currently under management, and a total projected market potential of up to $45 trillion. Though we’re not yet mainstream, we are on way.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — South Asia

Why Bill Gates Is Backing Impact Entrepreneurs in India

Source: Entrepreneur

Will Poole, a top Microsoft executive-turned seed-stage investor, is tapping American and Indian tech entrepreneurs to back some startups in India that are decidedly not tech-related.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Vodafone Supports Healthcare with Immunization Tracker “App”

Source: Ghana Wed

Vodafone Ghana, a telecommunications company, has partnered the Legon Center for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS) to roll out a mobile application “app” that aids child healthcare delivery and immunization.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Financial Solutions Lab Announces $3 Million Competition to Tackle Consumer Financial Security

Source: Center for Financial Services Innovation

The Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a $3 million competition for technology innovators working to address consumer financial challenges. This cross-sector initiative will identify technology-enabled financial solutions and provide winners with direct and indirect support to test and expand the availability of their products and services to consumers.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tencent Backs Mobile Jobs Startup With Its First ‘WeChat Africa’ Investment

Source: TechCrunch

Tencent has made its first investment in Africa under the banner of its WeChat messaging service. WeChat Africa, a joint venture between Tencent and Naspers, announced an investment in M4JAM (Money For Jam), a South Africa-based mobile job service that connects to WeChat.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — South Asia

Bangladesh's Entry Into Impact Investment

Source: The Daily Star

Growing up as a daughter of a high ranking civil servant in Bangladesh, I have distinct memories of my father's trip to Paris every year in the 1980s. To me it was exciting -- Papa was seeing Paris -- the most romantic city in the world. To him it was a dreaded trip because it was Donor Consortium that brought him to France to beg for donor money for Bangladesh.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe: WHO Approves Ebola Testing Kit

Source: allAfrica

In a major breakthrough, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday announced that it had approved a rapid diagnostic test kit for Ebola that can provide results in 15 minutes and correctly identify 92% of patients infected by the disease.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — South Asia

WHO Urges Shift to Single-Use Smart Syringes

Source: BBC

Smart syringes that break after one use should be used for injections by 2020, the World Health Organization has announced.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom Will Reduce Investment if Kenyan Regulators Move to Limit Its Dominance

Source: AFKInsider

Safaricom Ltd. will cut its planned $400 million investment in East Africa’s biggest economy this year if Kenyan regulators impose penalties on the wireless carrier to limit its market dominance, its chief executive officer said.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Grameen Launches Media Project for Ghana Smallholders

Source: Voice of America

A new initiative has been launched to increase food security for small holder farmers in five regions in Ghana. The initiative - ICT Challenge – is a partnership between the Grameen Foundation, Farm Radio International and Digital Green.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria’s Next Challenge: Bank Us Please

Source: Ventures Africa

Like any other country, Nigeria has its problems. However, Nigeria perched now as Africa’s “Golden Child” with a GDP of $510 billion, ballooning past South Africa who has numerous economic challenges ahead.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — South Asia

A Chance to Fly

Source: The Economist

Emerging markets used to be a beacon of hope in the world economy, but now they are more often a source of gloom. China’s economy is slowing. Brazil is mired in stagflation. Russia is in recession, battered by Western sanctions and the slump in the oil price; South Africa is plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Amid the disappointment one big emerging market stands out: India.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: The Problem with Crowdfunding: It Doesn’t Help the Needy Crowd

Source: The Washington Post

I’m not a fan of crowdfunding for the celebrity cause of the moment. The Internet has made it so much easier for people to pony up money for any person or family whose story gets picked up — by social media, newspapers, network and cable shows — that it has become trendy to give.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Future of the Global Fund

Source: Devpolicy

During his recent visit to Canberra, Stephen Howes spoke to Dr Mark Dybul, the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. You can listen to a podcast of their full conversation here. The following is a condensed transcript.
Friday, February 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Hennion & Walsh Launches Sustainable Impact Investing Trust

Source: PR Newswire

Hennion & Walsh, one of the nation's premier providers of investment services and an advocate for individual investors, today announced the launch of its SmartTrust Sustainable Impact Investing Trust, further expanding its suite of proprietary SmartTrust Unit Investment Trust (UIT) portfolios. Selected by Argus Investors' Counsel and based, in part, on criteria established by IW Financial, the Trust seeks to provide investors with total return potential by investing in the stocks of companies that meet the Trust's investment criteria including, but not limited to, environmental, social and governance factors.
Friday, February 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Ontario to Invest $4M in Businesses With Social Conscience

Source: Toronto Star

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the Liberal government is putting up $4 million to finance 11 socially conscious enterprise projects across the province.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

The Secrets to Closing a $100m Venture Capital Funding Deal

Source: Real Business

London-based online money transfer business WorldRemit has closed a funding round worth $100m, backed by Technology Crossover Ventures and prior investor Accel Partners.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Low-Income Filipinos Can Rely on Microinsurance When Disaster Strikes

Source: The Manila Times

The domestic insurance industry posted a stellar growth performance in the past year, registering an estimated 28 million Filipinos protected by microinsurance.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why Do Female Social Entrepreneurs Pay Themselves Less?

Source: Co.Exist

Over the last 17 years, women-owned businesses have increased dramatically—a substantial 68% since 1977. In a world where women have long lived and worked in the shadows of men, entrepreneurship seems to be helping women narrow the gender gap in the workplace. Until you take a look at their paychecks.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Tuberculosis Drug Enters First Trial: The Good and Sad News

Source: Devex

The maiden human trial of a potential tuberculosis drug — the first in six years — has now commenced.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Consumer Protection in Microfinance Exceeds 15-Million-Client Mark via Smart Certified Institutions

Source: Center for Financial Inclusion Blog

It’s been an exciting few months for client protection in the microfinance industry. FINCA Kyrgyzstan, MBK Ventura in Indonesia, SKS Microfinance in India, and a number of other MFIs around the world demonstrated that they successfully integrate the client protection principles into their practices and joined the rapidly growing list of institutions that are Smart Certified. Today, we’re pleased to share that the number of clients across all the Smart Certified institutions surpassed the 15-million-client benchmark.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: The Illusion of Control in Foreign Aid

Source: Devex

Maybe Jesse Helms was right. I never thought I’d hear myself utter those words, but after witnessing the fracas around the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “Local Solutions” policy, I’m coming around to his way of thinking.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Smart ATMs Allow Mobile Money Transactions in Zimbabwe

Source: ITWeb Africa

Smart cash machines installed by Steward Bank, which is controlled by Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless, will allow mobile money users to make cardless transactions and airtime top-ups for account holders with other banks.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

51 Breakthrough Technologies to Defeat Poverty

Source: Fast Company

Simple technologies like Kenya's M-Pesa mobile money system can have a huge impact in the developing world. Offering something genuinely new, reliable and, above all, cheap, they can stitch together communities, catalyze markets, improve economies, and ultimately change lives.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Whole Foods Market Launches Campaign to Fight Global Poverty Through Microcredit

Source: Investor's Business Daily

Whole Planet Foundation is kicking off its 2015 Prosperity Campaign at Whole Foods Market with the goal of raising $5 million for microlending programs worldwide—enough to help 135,000 people lift themselves out of poverty and start a new life.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Lions Health Partners with UNICEF and Unilever to Create an Innovative Global Health Campaign

Source: Market Watch

Last night, Lions Health together with UNICEF and Unilever, launched the Young Lions Health Award, an exciting new competition for young creatives and marketers that aims to improve challenges facing global health systems in developing countries.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — South Asia

Global Pharma's R&D Re-Balancing

Source: Forbes

Earlier this week, in Michael Woodhead’s superb blog China Medical News, he wrote about “major problems with ‘serious’ research clinical trails carried out in China.” Michael points to a JAMA article and then proceeds to elaborate:
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Half the World's Banks Could Disappear, and Most of the Branches

Source: Which 50

Banks have three to five years to get their digital act together before they enter a spiral of decline, according to a paper by McKinsey & Company. This view was echoed by BBVA chairman and CEO Francisco Gonzalez, who told media and analysts at the announcement of BBVA’s latest results that up to half the world’s banks could slip through the cracks as digital transformation takes hold.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Remittances to Developing Nations to Hit $500 Billion in 2015 - U.N. Official

Source: Reuters

An estimated 230 million migrants will send $500 billion in remittances to developing countries in 2015, a flow of capital expected to do more to reduce poverty than all development aid combined, a senior official of the U.N. agricultural bank said.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Hialeah Health-Tech Firm Attracts Investor Attention

Source: Miami Hearald

Working out of a Starbucks in 2012, Obdulio Piloto saw an article about the Peter Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs’ funding effort for revolutionary technology projects.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Inside Citi’s Plan to Deploy $100 Billion for Cities, Renewables, Climate

Source: GreenBiz

Today, Citi, the global banking giant, is announcing its next-gen sustainability strategy that includes an eye-popping number: $100 billion over 10 years for “lending, investing and facilitating” activities focused on mitigating climate and other sustainability solutions.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Swiss Prosecutor Raids HSBC Office, Opens Criminal Inquiry

Source: Reuters

Geneva's public prosecutor searched HSBC's (HSBA.L) lakeside Swiss office on Wednesday after opening a criminal inquiry into allegations of aggravated money laundering, the second probe to hit the bank this week.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe: Mobile Money Drives Financial Inclusion

Source: allAfrica

Financial inclusion in Zimbabwe increased to 77 percent in 2014 from 60 percent in 2011 mainly driven by mobile money platforms, the FinScope Consumer Survey has shown. According to the survey, which was launched yesterday, 45 percent of the population (3,15 million) is registered with mobile money platforms. Of those who are registered users, 80 percent use it to remit while 46 percent use it to transact in order to pay utility bills, buy airtime, etc.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Impact Investors Can Learn From Microfinance

Source: Devex

What has microfinance achieved for the world’s poor? Estimates vary widely, but 300 million people are estimated to be direct beneficiaries of the microcredit movement, and more than $68 billion may be currently invested in the industry, according to a 2010 estimate from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, a unit of theWorld Bank.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — South Asia

Vikram Akula's Next Big Gig

Source: Business Today

On January 29, the board of SKS Microfinance, the country's only listed microfinance entity, approved the company's proposal to apply for a licence to set up a small finance bank, a new category of lenders that the Reserve Bank of India has created to drive financial inclusion. A few kilometres away from the SKS office in Hyderabad, Vikram Akula, who founded the company in 1997 and had to unceremoniously exit in 2011, is giving final touches to the application for a small finance bank for his start-up VAYA Finserv.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Moven Founder Brett King Appointed to Center for Financial Services Innovation Board of Directors

Source: Market Wired

Moven, the first app and debit card to provide real-time behavioral feedback to help users change their spending habits and save more, announced today the appointment of Founder and CEO Brett King to the Board of Directors of the prestigious Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI).
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Tech Trends: The Age of Start-Up Accelerators

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Start-up accelerators are common in Europe and the United States, where the likes of Y Combinator and Startupbootcamp have emerged as leaders in the model and have offered hundreds of start-ups both equity funding and mentorship to assist them in scaling. But in Africa the concept is still very young, having only really arrived in 2012.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: ‘The Day I Nearly Gave Up’ – Social Entrepreneurs Share Their Battle Stories

Source: YourStory

The journey of a social entrepreneur is full of ups and downs. Many give up on the struggle and many live to tell the tale. The only difference between the two is the never give up attitude. It doesnt mean that they are immune to the downs or not think of giving up, but they never actually do give up. I had the great opportunity to moderate a session on this very topic “The day i nearly gave up” with my fellow social entrepreneurs Neelam Chibber (Mother Earth/Industree Foundation), Madan Padaki (Head Held High/ GAP), Amit Jain (eHealth Point) and G Srinivasan (Rural Shores) at a panel put together by NASE during the Annual AFI forum at Infosys Campus, Bangalore.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Female Health Company Joins the International AIDS Society's Industry Liaison Forum

Source: CNN

The Female Health Company (NASDAQ - CM: FHCO), which manufactures the world's leading female condom, today announced its corporate partnership with the International AIDS Society's Industry Liaison Forum (ILF). The Female Health Company, the only HIV prevention technology company represented in the ILF, will work alongside preeminent thought leaders, research and academic institutions, and pharmaceutical companies in setting the tone for the next generation's response to the global HIV epidemic.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — South Asia

The Rising Global Health Crisis No One Is Talking About

Source: TakePart

torcyclists can seem invincible as they dodge and weave their way through traffic and zip down alleyways. But beyond a motorcycle’s quick and convenient capabilities is a dark story: a developing global crisis of road fatalities.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Report: Using Malware, Hackers Steal Millions From Banks

Source: NPR

Putting in place a sophisticated digital racket, hackers were able to steal millions of dollars from up to 100 banks in what the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is calling "the most successful criminal cyber campaign we have ever seen."
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: New Strategies Needed to Attract Small Savers to Invest in Shares

Source: allAfrica

It had been a 'bad' trading year. The balance sheet was deep in the negative, following heavy investment in restructuring, rebranding and repositioning.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Inequality Has Actually Not Risen Since the Financial Crisis

Source: The Upshot

The notion that income inequality has continued to rise over the past decade is part of the conventional wisdom. You’ve no doubt heard versions: The rich just keep getting richer. Inequality is higher than ever. Nearly all of the gains from the economic recovery have gone to the top 1 percent.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — South Asia

Microfinance Strikes Deep Roots in West Bengal

Source: Financial Chronicle

The Indian microfinance sector has found a new Andhra Pradesh in West Bengal. The sector, which has not been able to see any business in the state of Telangana and AP, has seen brisk business in this eastern state, piping other southern states as well.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Of Social Business Ventures and Islamic Principles

Source: The Star Online

Interest in the area of social entrepreneurship has gained momentum in recent years. Many studies have been commissioned in this area, including comparative studies to clarify the concepts of conventional entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, and also social entrepreneurship with not-for-profit activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, charity and voluntary work.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — South Asia

Grameen Bank Goes Under Full State Control Today

Source: Dhaka Tribune

With the tenure of the nine elected female board members having expired today, Nobel winning micro-credit organisation Grameen Bank will now be run by government-appointed board members.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — Latin America

Mexican Banks Using Mobile Payments Technology to Enable Digital Transactions at Mom-and-Pop Stores

Source: Mobile Payments Today

In a bid to increase card payments and financial inclusion, Mexican banks are collaborating with mobile payments technology vendors to deploy mPOS solutions at mom-and-pop stores. The Mexican government encourages these initiatives, as around 70 percent of all purchases in Mexico are made with cash and the informal economy represents 30 percent of GDP.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Greener sex? Condoms Now Come in a Spectrum of Earth-Friendly Tones

Source: The Guardian

From irritating chemicals to a troubled supply chain, condoms haven’t always been the kindest to the earth, or our bodies. Here are three companies trying to change that.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — South Asia

Neeti Kailas: Crafting Affordable Health Care Through Design

Source: Forbes India Magazine

Call it providence. Twelve years ago, Neeti Kailas happened to walk the corridors of Ahmedabad’s Vikram Sarabhai Hospital. She was a student of product design then, at the National Institute of Design (NID) and was trying to ascertain potential project ideas—design problems she could find solutions to. That walk turned out to be a game changer. All around her, she could see things that needed fixing. Kailas decided that she was the woman for the job.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Thought That ISIL Might be Using Bitcoin is Keeping US Regulators Up at Night

Source: Quartz

Bitcoin fans may not enjoy the government’s attention, but they should be flattered: It means the technology they are developing is powerful stuff.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Mobile Money Use Swells to a Record $50,000 per Minute, $26.1 Billion Annually in 2014

Source: GlobalPost

Kenya's 2014 mobile money use surged to a record 26.1 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of about 4 billion dollars from previous year.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — South Asia

Nandan Nilekani Plans Tech Project 'Ek Step' to Hone Children's Basic Skills

Source: The Economic Times

Infosys co-founder and billionaire Nandan Nilekani, who spearheaded the country's massive unique identification project, is gearing up for an equally ambitious project - to help elementary school children across the country improve their reading and arithmetic skills using low-end tablets and smartphones.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Afaxys Pharmaceuticals Partners with Project Ruby to Bring Affordable Contraceptives to Women Worldwide

Source: Business Wire

Afaxys Pharmaceuticals, a division of Afaxys, Inc., is proud to announce a first-of-its-kind partnership with Project Ruby (PRJKT RUBY), an innovative online platform, to bring affordable contraceptives to women in the United States and the developing world.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Will These 5 Models of Crowdfunding Replace Angel and VC Investors?

Source: Entrepreneur

Even if you ignore all the hype around crowdfunding, there can be no doubt that it is a real alternative for entrepreneurs to achieve visibility and funding today. According to articles on Entrepreneur last year, there are now almost 1,000 crowdfunding platforms in existence, currently estimated to add more than $65 billion and 270,000 jobs to the economy.
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