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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
Monday, April 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Citi Supports Teach Children to Save Campaign to Help Educate And Prepare Kids for Positive Financial Futures

Source: PR Newswire

Citi will once again help thousands of young students across the country receive basic financial education as the bank supports American Bankers Association's (ABA) annual Teach Children to Save campaign for the 15thconsecutive year. The national program, designed to encourage local youth to develop positive financial habits early in life, marks April 24th as Teach Children to Save Day to raise awareness of the importance of teaching children about saving. Beginning in March and continuing for months after Teach Children to Save Day, hundreds of Citi volunteers will teach thousands of children in grades K-12 in classrooms and after-school programs in financial education events in major cities across the country.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Half of World's Rural Populations Cannot Access Health Care

Source: The Economic Times

More than half the population of rural areas worldwide do not have access to basic health care, with four in five rural Africans lacking services, the United Nations said Monday.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda Launches Cross-Border Mobile Money Remittance Service

Source: Spy Ghana News

MTN Rwanda, one of Rwanda’s leading mobile network operators, Sunday announced the launch of a pioneering cross-border Mobile Money remittance service between Rwanda and Kenya.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Trumps World Giants in Payment Tech

Source: ITWeb Africa

Africa is ahead of the US in terms of the rate of payments innovation, while Europe is lagging way behind.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

'Do-good' Companies Can Do Well for Investors, Wharton Researchers Say

Source: Chicago Tribune

Impact investing is a nice idea — and for many critics that’s precisely the problem.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New App for Managing HIV Treatment Failure

Source: Science and Development Network

A health informatics specialist in Rwanda has developed a computer-based application to help clinicians reduce medical errors in managing HIV treatment failure.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

DfID Accused of Heightening Inequality Through Support for Private Sector

Source: The Guardian

Report by campaign group Global Justice Now points finger at Department for International Development over private health and education projects.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Once Idealistic, Crowdfunding Is Now an Unholy Hybrid of Retail, Investment, and Risk

Source: Quartz

Dave Bogaty is a coffee junkie. He exclusively buys his beans from a small-batch roaster in Brooklyn and scouts out local varieties in every new city he visits.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Malaria Day: 5 Breakthroughs in Fighting the Disease

Source: Global Healthcare

Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria. In 2013, only one in five African children with malaria received effective treatment, 15 million pregnant women did not receive a single dose of preventative drugs and an estimated 278 million in Africa still live in households with no insecticide-treated bed net, according to the World Health Organization.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Latin America

Interview: Infonavit CEO, on Reshaping Mexico’s Mortgage Market

Source: World Finance

Mexico is transforming its urban housing policy, and with the help of key names such as Infonavit and its CEO Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, the country is seeking to implement more sustainable solutions.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom to Open M-Pesa APIs, Completes Data Center Migration From Germany to Kenya

Source: PC Advisor

After two years of intercontinental conference calls, eight test runs and countless hours put in by 320 consultants, Safaricom has successfully migrated its mobile money platform to its data center in Kenya and is expecting to provide better services.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

Mobile Payments: The Company Driving the Greatest Innovation Today (Hint: It’s Not Apple)

Source: ITProPortal.com

Every week the technology world holds its breath with anticipation as the latest tech giants make new strides into the mobile payments sector.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — South Asia

Guj Govt to Revive Telemedicine Project as PPP Model

Source: Deccan Herald

Gujarat Government is all set to revive its telemedicine project, which had failed to take off earlier due to technological hurdles, as a PPP model by roping in private hospitals and experts from Canada.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mali's Farmers Count on National Fund to Expand Climate Insurance

Source: allAfrica

A lack of rain in the middle of last season caused Seydou Diarassouba's sorghum crop to fail.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: The World Bank: Why It Is Still Needed and Why It Still Disappoints

Source: The World Bank

The decade or two after WW2 saw many of the world’s poorest countries gain their independence from Colonial rule, and they were hoping to rapidly become less poor. Economics taught policy makers in those countries that a higher investment rate is crucial to assuring faster economic growth. Being a poor country makes it harder to finance the required investments from domestic savings. Yet rich countries should have ample savings available that might be profitably diverted to this task. In an ideal world, global capital markets could be expected to bridge the gap. But 70 years ago those markets were thin and/or not trusted as a source of finance.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World's First Malaria Vaccine Moves Closer to Use in Africa

Source: Reuters

The world's first malaria vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, could be approved by international regulators for use in Africa from October after final trial data showed it offered partial protection for up to four years.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Campaign Launched to Cut Price of Penumonia Vaccine

Source: OneWorld

A global campaign is calling on GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer to slash the price of the pneumonia vaccine in developing countries to $5 or less per child.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

GoSun Grill: The Only Solar Cooker That Cooks Day or Night

Source: EcoWatch

Earlier this year, we featured the GoSun Stove, a compact fuel-free cooker powered by nothing more than the sun’s rays. Now, the forward-thinking company is trying to launch their GoSun Grill—a larger and perhaps improved version of the cooker since it feeds many more people.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — Latin America

Brazilians Spraying and Praying for Dengue Vaccine Breakthrough

Source: Bloomberg

A cup of cloves, a half-liter of alcohol and a dollop of body oil: You won't find this homemade mosquito repellent in Brazilian drugstores, but the recipe went viral after a worried sanitarian posted a cell phone video on Facebook last week.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — South Asia

A Former New York Investment Banker Takes on Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Forbes

When she left New York five years ago, a former Wall Street investment banker had a plan for a new business in India. Today, that plan has become a growing company tackling financial inclusion in a way few have considered to date, in India’s evolving, highly unique, growth environment.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ugandan MPs Ask Government for Greater Mobile Money Regulation

Source: New Vision

Members of Parliament grilled Information, Communication Technology (ICT) state minister, Nyombi Thembo over lack of a law to regulate mobile money services and safeguard clients’ money.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Study: Ebola Outbreak Likely Driving Malaria Deaths

Source: Yahoo!

The collapse of health services in three west African countries devastated by Ebola may have caused some 11,000 additional deaths from malaria, a preventable and curable disease, researchers said Friday.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

How 'financial savvy' can prevent future pandemics

Source: Devex

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa highlighted not only the weakness of health systems, but also the lack of dialogue between global health professionals, risk analysts and private sector actors, according to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — South Asia

I’m seeing the most progress in Bihar, says Melinda Gates

Source: The Times of India

At a time when foreign-funded NGOs are under the government's scanner, Melinda Gates, Padma Bhushan awardee and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, says NGO activism is needed for society to thrive. She was speaking to Sagarika Ghose of The Times of India.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Protecting pregnant women from malaria – a missed 'quick win'

Source: Unicef Connect

In the eight years since we commemorated the first World Malaria Day, millions of women and children have continued to die from a disease that is both preventable and treatable. Malaria takes the lives of more than 1,200 children under the age of 5 every day – the staggering equivalent of 50 children every hour.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

To get people to build toilets, turn to subsidies

Source: Humanosphere

The one public bathroom in Ponkrum collapsed a few years ago. An effort to build a new one yielded a large pit that is used for trash, not defecation. For the people living in the small village near the Ghanian coast, there is no other option than going out in the open.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Germany pushes climate insurance as alternative to traditional development aid

Source: Euractiv

Germany's Environment Minister wants the G7 to look at insurance policies as an alternative to traditional development aid.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Where the Hell Is All the Climate Funding?

Source: Inside Philanthropy

Less than 2 percent of all philanthropic dollars go to fighting the existential threat of climate change, and much of it comes from just a handful of funders. Where is all the money?
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Latin America

Assured Labor Raises $6.75M, Has Connected Workers With 100K Jobs In Latin America’s Informal Sector

Source: Tech Crunch

Long before LinkedIn went public or before a plethora of on-demand startups began washing the Bay Area and other U.S. cities with services at the click of a button, there was this startup from an MIT grad called Assured Labor.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — South Asia

India accounts for about a fifth of the global population without bank accounts

Source: The Hindu

Recent statistics released by the World Bank highlight not only the strides made by India on the financial inclusion front, but also the challenges ahead.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Somalia's Premier Bank to bring ATMs, debit cards to Mogadishu

Source: Reuters

Somalia's Premier Bank has struck a deal with Mastercard and will issue debit cards and install ATM machines in the capital of the war-ravaged country, the Islamic lender's top executive said on Wednesday.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Why I’m Done With the Foundation World

Source: Brookfield Group

I’m done. I’ve spent 10 years working in the charity sector and my conclusion is that the organisations that finance it are so bad at their jobs, that they make the rest of us bad at ours.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'Mobile money is not the only option in Sub Saharan Africa'

Source: IT Web Africa

Mobile money platforms may have taken root in Sub Saharan Africa but they are not the only innovation disrupting the financial services sector in the region, with new technology-based finance platforms also seeing rising uptake, experts say.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — South Asia

Three focus areas to boost jobs

Source: The Hindu

Micro entrepreneurship, artisanship and agriculture are the three promising areas where huge number of jobs can be created, according to Ravi Venkatesan, former Chairman of Microsoft India and presently Chairman of Senior Venture Partners (SVP) India, a network of philanthropists.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Understanding How Gut Microbiota Affect Child Health

Source: Impatient Optimists

To many of us, diarrhea may seem like an acute condition or minor annoyance. But for children in the world’s poorest places, the repeated bouts of diarrhea they endure can have lasting consequences.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Global vaccination targets ‘off-track,’ warns WHO

Source: World Health Organization

Progress towards global vaccination targets for 2015 is far off-track with 1 in 5 children still missing out on routine life-saving immunizations that could avert 1.5 million deaths each year from preventable diseases.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Africa's battle against AIDS, a key player hits a crossroads

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

The Catholic Church administers 25 percent of all AIDS treatment worldwide, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas. But it's facing new obstacles as funding declines and African governments are under pressure to provide services themselves.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Indonesia calls for new global financial order

Source: Reuters

Indonesian President Joko Widodo called on Wednesday for a new global financial order that is open to emerging economic powers and leaves the "obsolete ideas" of Bretton Woods institutions in the past.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Challenges of Emerging Risks Underwriting in Insurance in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

Recent social and environmental developments in Nigeria have underscored the need for Nigerian insurers not only to consolidate on local risks they are familiar with but to pay more attention to emerging risks.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Women: The Next Wave of Angel Investors?

Source: Forbes

Females have historically made up less than 15% of the angel investors in the United States. Having more women on the funding side matters.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Impact Investors: Don’t Sacrifice Returns, Take On More Risk

Source: Green Tech Media

Even impact investors must demonstrate replicable, attractive returns.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — South Asia

Nepal commits to modernize economy through digital payments

Source: Enterprise Innovation

Nepal recently announced an ambitious commitment to modernize its economy through digital payments, which include joining the Better Than Cash Alliance to foster inclusive growth and transparency.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — Asia Pacific

In China, Alipay Wallet follows WeChat with launch of mobile city service payments

Source: Tech In Asia

China’s tech giants are working hard to make sure that consumers use their phones to pay for things. Today Alipay Wallet, the Alibaba-affiliated mobile wallet, announced it now enables Chinese users to fulfill municipal fees in 12 cities.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Faster Internet Access Means More Cyberattacks for Africa

Source: PC Advisor

The rapid development of Internet access throughout Africa has not been accompanied by an equivalent increase in awareness of security issues, opening up the possibility of a rise in cyberattacks.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global Fund Launches Online Platform for Strategy Development

Source: The Global Fund

The Global Fund partnership has launched a consultation as part of a process to engage a wide range of stakeholders in developing its 2017-2021 strategy.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Remittances in Africa to Reach $33 Billion

Source: NewsDay Zimbabwe

MOBILE money remittances in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to reach $33 billion in 2015 as the services are growing above 6% in more than three countries with increasing mobile connectivity, WorldRemit has said.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

China and UHC in Africa

Source: Devex

The Ebola crisis was a tragic awakening for people around the world about the crucial importance of strong health systems. The numbers are staggering. As a result of the virus — and the weak systems that were unable to contain it — more than 10,000 people have died in West Africa. The social impact of such a large-scale health crisis is incalculable, and the devastating economic fallout in the region will be felt for some time.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — South Asia

Tech Companies Struggle to Get World on Internet

Source: Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

When Sumarni, a 39-year-old woman in a rural village in Indonesia, first cradled a smartphone in her hand about two years ago, her reaction was “bingung,” the word for “confused” in Indonesian. As she looked at the Android phone’s sleek, black surface, she asked herself: “Where are the buttons?”
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN & Vodafone Interconnect Their Mobile Money Services

Source: CNBC Africa

In a move focused at deepening financial inclusion in East Africa, MTN and Vodafone have agreed to intersect their mobile money services.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why Researchers Say Fake and Low-Quality Drugs Are a ‘Global Pandemic’

Source: The Washington Post

Fake and substandard drugs are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths around the globe each year, and the persistent lack of reliable medicines in poor countries threatens to roll back decades of efforts to combat malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other conditions, researchers said Monday.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Google Wallet Funds Are Now FDIC-Insured

Source: Yahoo!

Google (GOOGL) is making a big change to its mobile payment service, Google Wallet, Yahoo Finance has learned. Funds that are left in Google Wallet will now be FDIC-insured, which means Google users’ money is now a whole lot safer — and they probably never even knew it.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — South Asia

India’s ICICI Bank Launches ‘Tap n Pay’ NFC Based Contactless Payments

Source: Trak.in

ICICI Bank today announced launch of new innovative NFC (Near Field Communication) based contactless payment system in partnership with Tech Mahindra. Called “Tap n Pay”, it allows users to make over-the-counter payments without using any cash or card. The users have to just tap the NFC enabled tag or mobile phone at the merchant’s point-of-sale device to make payments.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Cookstove That Could Save 4 Million Lives Per Year

Source: Mashable

Growing up, Phil Ferranto never thought about how people cooked around the world. He took it for granted, like many of us do, thinking most people had access to some type of stove to feed their families.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

How the World Bank Should Help the Planet's Poorest: Pay Them

Source: Bloomberg

Last weekend the World Bank issued a report on the dramatic rise in global access to financial services. From 2011 to 2014 alone, 700 million people worldwide opened a bank account or joined a mobile money service.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Solar Crowdfunding: In Need Of A Kickstart

Source: Forbes

Solar power is going intergalactic. In an announcement late last month, SolarCity SCTY +1.77%, the country’s largest installer of rooftop solar arrays, announced that private space company SpaceX had scooped up $90 million of its corporate bonds.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — South Asia

Why Is Apple Inc.'s Mobile Payment System Struggling in the World's Largest Smartphone Market?

Source: The Motley Fool

China is a great market for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) . In fiscal Q1 2015, the company reported $16.1 billion in revenue from the greater China region (which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan), up 70% year over year.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Year of Mobile Payments

Source: TechCrunch

Ask most people what the state of mobile payments is today, and they’ll tell you it’s just kicking off. With Facebook announcing the option to send money to friends via Messenger and the release of Apple Pay last year, 2015 has excitedly been dubbed “The Year of Mobile Payments.” Yet what most people don’t realise is that these services are already lagging 10 years behind.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IFC, MasterCard in $250M Risk Sharing Pact to Drive Financial Inclusion

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and MasterCard have signed an agreement to establish a risk-sharing facility, which is expected to provide millions of people in emerging markets access to electronic payments, a crucial next step in their ongoing collaboration to increase universal financial access by 2020.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Innovative OS That’ll Bring PCs to the Developing World

Source: WIRED

Much has been made about the mobile “revolution” in the developing world, the way that smartphones have enabled the citizens of so many poorer countries to leapfrog into the 21st century without having to bother with all the awkward technological steps in between.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Signs Ebola Spreads in Sex Prompt a CDC Warning

Source: The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines on Ebola transmission on Sunday night, urging survivors to abstain from all forms of sex or use condoms every time “until more information becomes available,” rather than three months as previously recommended.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bitcoin Survey: 1 in 4 Bitcoin Users Defrauded by Exchanges

Source: Crypto Coins News

It is always interesting to learn about the Bitcoin community with a good ‘ole survey every few months, and this Spring is no different. Bitcoin in Ireland is producing this global survey and intends to get feedback from over one thousand Bitcoin owners over the next couple of months. We have the preliminary results of a sample of about one hundred and fifty respondents so far.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Basic Surgeries Can Avert Deaths in Developing Nations

Source: Science and Development Network

Basic surgeries such as delivering babies via caesarean section are some of the most cost-effective health measures in developing countries, potentially averting 1.5 million deaths each year.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Visa's Plan to Connect 500M to Financial Mainstream

Source: PYMNTS

Visa’s CEO Charles Scharf has got a plan to connect half a billion additional consumers to the financial mainstream in the next five years.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Under Fire In India, Facebook’s Internet.org Launches in Indonesia

Source: TechCrunch

Facebook’s ‘free web’ Internet.org program has expanded into Indonesia, a country with a 250 million population, marking its second largest launch in Asia to date.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

Missoula Author's Book Details Big Data Initiative on Global Health

Source: Missoulian

What if you had a map that told you what sickened, killed or affected the health of every person across the world? And how would you make it?
Monday, April 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: MTN Launches Mobile Money School Fees Payment Service

Source: allAfrica

MTN Rwanda has partnered with 21 schools from across the country to enable parents pay school fees using the telecom's mobile money platform.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — South Asia

Report: India's Microfinance Sector Poised to Grow Robustly in Next Five Years

Source: VCCircle

The microfinance sector, which is seen as a vehicle of financial inclusion, has seen a boom over the past year as government has laid more emphasis on financial inclusion. The sector is expected to grow robustly in the next few years as large players consolidate their position in their market.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — South Asia

Number of Women Tobacco Users Rising

Source: The Times of India

The number of women consuming tobacco products has doubled over 15 years, according to a report by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
Friday, April 17, 2015 — South Asia

Here's Why Facebook's Internet.org Is Crumbling in India

Source: Mashable

A group of Internet companies have withdrawn support from Internet.org, the buzzy Facebook-backed service that aims to bring people in developing countries online, following a backlash in India over net neutrality.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Microfinance Company Equitas Finance Plans IPO, Looks to Raise Up to Rs 1,500 Crore

Source: The Economic Times

Chennai-based microfinance company Equitas Finance is said to be planning an initial public offering (IPO) that could mean substantial returns for exiting private equity and venture capital funds. The company that's 98% owned by a dozen private equity and venture capital funds is looking at raising around Rs 1,200-1,500 crore by selling a stake of up to 25%, said three people involved with the plan.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

MasterCard to Collaborate With the Alliance for Financial Inclusion

Source: Finextra

Today, MasterCard and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) signed a strategic partnership agreement that will enable a close collaboration within AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue Platform (PPD).
Friday, April 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria Is Projected to Be the First African Country to Hit $1 Trillion in GDP by 2030

Source: Quartz

Nigeria’s economy will more than double in the next 15 years, according to projections from the United States Department of Agriculture. Today, with an annual GDP of around $500 billion, Africa’s largest economy is 27th in the world. By 2030 it is expected to climb up to 19th place just ahead of the Netherlands.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — South Asia

Clean Cookstoves Could Change the Lives of Millions in Nepal

Source: Inter Press Service

When 26-year-old Laxmi married into the Archaya household in Chhaimale village, Pharping, south of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, she didn’t think she would be spending half the day in the kitchen inhaling smoke from the stove.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why Water Is Key to Beating Poverty

Source: CNN

Extreme poverty is one of humanity's grave injustices. Across the world, more than 1 billion people live on less than $1.50 a day for all their needs -- food, housing, medicine, water, sanitation, everything. What's more astonishing is that 748 million people around the world do not have access to clean water. And 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation -- that's one out of every three individuals on the planet. Think about that for a second.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Hospitals As Debtor Prisons

Source: The Lancet

In low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), systematic research regarding the prevalence and personal consequences of patients who are unable to pay their medical bills has been scarce. However, news headlines frequently tell a simple story of detention—eg, “Kenyan mothers too poor to pay for treatment locked up in hospital”. Similar reports are found in Burundi, Ghana, India, Liberia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money to Power Global Remittances

Source: Spy Ghana News

Global remittances will grow slowly in 2015, but accelerate again in 2016/17: global remittances are projected to reach $586 billion in 2015, at a slower growth rate of 0.4% due to economic conditions. However, remittances are expected to accelerate again to reach an estimated $636 billion in 2017.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Equity Crowdfunding Hits $662 Million in 2015

Source: CNBC

Booming investments in real estate are leading the way among equity-crowdfunded projects, which rose to $662 million in the first quarter of 2015, a big jump from the $483 million recorded in the final quarter of 2014.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bamboo Finance Announces the First Close of Financial Inclusion Fund II

Source: Insurance News Net

Bamboo Finance, a private equity firm specializing in investing in business models that benefit low-income communities in growth markets, today announced the first close of $31 million in its second financial inclusion focused fund with investments from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA-CREF) and AXA-IM.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — South Asia

Village Women Run Safe Water Franchises in Arsenic-Hit India, Bangladesh

Source: Reuters

Rural housewives in countries such as India and Bangladesh, where ground water has high levels of arsenic, are being encouraged to set up businesses to sell safe water to save lives in their communities and earn some income.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Social Impact Bonds Spread to New Zealand

Source: The National Business Review

The Ministry of Health is well down the track to pilot the country's first social impact bond, originally mooted 18 months ago, which would pay out on measurably improved social outcomes such as reductions in alcohol and drug use or recidivism.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — South Asia

Policy Gridlock, Red Tape Still Hindering Investments in India: Standard & Poor’s

Source: The Financial Express

Flagging off “developing challenges” from the ground, global rating agency Standard and Poor’s on Thursday said a policy logjam and “red tape” have hindered investments in India.
Friday, April 17, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: First Ever in India: MoneyOnMobile Enables Mobile Money Order via SMS

Source: PR Newswire

MoneyOnMobile (MOM), India's leading mobile payment solutions provider, has announced the introduction of one of its kind instant 'Mobile Money Order' service via SMS. This is the first time inIndia that "mobile money order via SMS" has been offered. MoneyOnMobile had earlier announced the launch of its app-based domestic Mobile Money Order service for customers in January 2015.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — South Asia

Canada, India Fund 5 Innovations to Improve Health in India, With Focus on Mothers and Children

Source: Phys.org

Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, and the Grand Challenges India initiative of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, today announced an investment of $2.5 million (CAD) in five health innovations in India. Many of these novel projects aim to improve maternal, newborn and child health (known as 'MNCH'), which is Canada's flagship development priority, and a tremendous challenge for the Government of India.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Condom With the Most Studs in the World

Source: PSI Impact

Is there such thing as a perfect condom? The type of condom that’s effective, yet comfortable? One that adds excitement instead of interrupting the heat-of-the-moment?
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — South Asia

New Ways of Delivering Healthcare

Source: India Today

One of the biggest barriers to realising the national agenda of "healthcare for all" is tackling the existent complex, disorganised and expensive system of healthcare.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Microinsurance Program Lets People Trade Their Garbage for Free Health Care in Indonesia

Source: Aquila Style

In what is an innovative first for the region, a company in Indonesia is now offering to recycle your trash for two free visits to the doctor. Now, how clever is that?
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — South Asia

China Is Fertile Ground for Growing Internet Finance

Source: Caixin Online

The recent establishment of private Internet banks has ushered the banking industry into an era where banks need no brick-and-mortar offices. Technologies like big data make this possible, yet there is disagreement over how much potential Internet finance has.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Viewpoint: Health Can Tackle (and Measure) Inequities

Source: Devex

We know that globally there are sufficient funds available to provide basic health services to everyone, everywhere.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

The IRS’s Secret, Successful Low-Income Savings Program

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

While April 15th is generally referred to as “tax day,” that’s true for less than 20 percent of filers. For most working households tax day falls in February or early March. It’s the day when they receive their refunds, not when they file.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Massive Drop in Number of Unbanked, Says New Report

Source: The World Bank

From 2011 and 2014, 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions, or mobile money service providers, and the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped 20 percent to 2 billion adults, says a new report released today.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Slow Global Spread of Savings Accounts

Source: The New Yorker

Last year, researchers travelled around the globe to talk about personal finance with a hundred and fifty thousand people, representing a range of socioeconomic classes, and living both in cities and in remote, rural parts of more than a hundred and forty countries.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Ethiopian Financial Services Industry Is Slow on Mobile Banking

Source: AFKInsider

Ethiopia’s heavily regulated financial service sector is one of the least developed on sub-Saharan Africa with over 80 million people from a population of 94 million still unbanked, despite the rapid economic growth the horn of Africa nation has experienced over the last decade.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

2014 Mobile Money Transfers Up By 80 Percent in Zimbabwe

Source: allAfrica

The value of mobile money transfers rose by 80 percent to $1,4 billion in 2014 against the prior year in tandem with the now widespread use of cell phones in Zimbabwe.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Gender Gap Persists for Bank-Account Holders

Source: The Wall Street Journal

A persistent gap between the portion of men and women who have bank accounts is confounding experts despite huge leaps in access to banking services and the financial system globally.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — South Asia

India's Social Entrepreneurs Promised "Maximum" Support From Minister

Source: Pioneers Post

The Indian government will put its ‘heart and soul’ into supporting social entrepreneurship – the minister for science, technology and earth sciences has pledged.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — No Region Specified

Entrepreneur and Artist Aim to Curb Global Infant Mortality Rate

Source: Fox News

When Jane Chen and Drue Kataoka met at the Forum of Young Global Leadersin 2012, they quickly formed a friendship based on their shared passion for carrying out socially impactful work. They both came from significantly different backgrounds — Chen is the co-founder of Embrace, a startup that hopes to curb high worldwide infant mortality rates by way of the low-cost Embrace infant warmer, while Kataoka is a visual artist whose often interactive work aims to bridge the perceived gap between art and technology. Flash forward three years, and the two women have launched a unique collaboration that combines Chen’s business and Kataoka’s art to raise awareness of and ultimately decrease high global infant mortality rates.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — No Region Specified

Shhh! Don't Tell Institutional Investors, but Sustainability Drives Returns in Real Assets

Source: The Huffington Post

ImpactAlpha.com - Dave Chen and his team at Equilibrium Capital in Portland, Ore., don't generally pitch pension funds and other institutional investors on the firm's thesis that environmentally and socially beneficial practices can drive operational efficiencies, reduced risk and above-market, or 'alpha,' returns.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Airtel Money Hits Over 1 Million Transactions in a Month in Ghana

Source: 97.3 Citi FM

Airtel Ghana, multiple award winning company has attained another great milestone with its Convenient, Secure and Instant mobile money service.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

$1.4 Billion Fund Targets Eco-Social Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Africa Outlook

The Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA) has announced the launch of five dedicated investment funds that will target high growth industries while promoting economic and social development in Angola and the Sub-Saharan region.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — No Region Specified

WHO Demands Disclosure of All Clinical Trial Results

Source: Reuters

The World Health Organization called on Tuesday for the release of clinical trial results for all drugs, vaccines and medical devices - whatever the result - in the latest salvo against the withholding of data.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — South Asia

Ikea Launches Range Made by Worker Co-operatives

Source: Co-operative News

IKEA has launched a new range of products created by women’s co-operatives in rural India.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — No Region Specified

A Patch That Delivers Vaccines, No Needles Necessary

Source: Popular Science

Special packaging lets the patches go without refrigeration for 10 weeks, far longer than vaccine solution.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — South Asia

India’s MoneyonMobile Sees 27% One-Month Jump in Transaction Processing

Source: PYMNTS

MoneyOnMobile is continuing to ignite India’s mobile money scene — topping 131 million users in March, the company announced yesterday (April 14).
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — No Region Specified

Now It's Easier Than Ever to Invest in Stocks for Social Good

Source: Co.Exist

With a new online brokerage aimed at millennials, you can pick a theme—like "Improve Education" or "No Glass Ceiling"—and invest. The catch is you'll still be supporting big, conventional conglomerates.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Disease Detection Gets a Boost With Plans for a CDC in Africa

Source: NPR

In 1946, a malaria outbreak across the Southern U.S. catalyzed the formation of what would eventually become the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Paytm Crosses 50 Million Digital Wallets

Source: Live Mint

Mobile payment processor Paytm said on Monday that it now has over 50 million wallets on its platform and is expected to touch 100 million by 2015.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bain Capital Hires Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to Lead Its Social Impact Fund

Source: Bloomberg

Bain Capital, the $75 billion private equity firm founded by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, hired former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to lead a social impact fund.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: TriLinc Global Impact Fund Makes Impact Investments in Africa and Latin America

Source: Market Watch

TriLinc Global Impact Fund announced today that it has approved a total of $9.2 million in trade finance facilities to companies in South Africa, Kenya, and Argentina, bringing total financing commitments as of March 31, 2015 to $76.7 million for business expansion and socioeconomic development through its holdings in Africa and Latin America.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can 'Supergeeks' Save Kenya's Babies?

Source: BBC

Lack of basic equipment could explain why Kenya is struggling to reduce maternal mortality rates.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Charities Seek Donations in Bitcoin

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Charities are often open to all sorts of donations, whether in money or in kind. Now they’re turning to a new source: donations of bitcoin.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Pharmaceutical Company Operates With the Heart of a Nonprofit, Soul of Social Enterprise

Source: MintPress News

A San Francisco-based pharmaceutical company is bringing a new contraceptive to the U.S. market. The product is Liletta, an intrauterine device (IUD), which, like any other IUD, is long-lasting and highly effective at preventing pregnancy when inserted properly.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

National Commission to Issue Electronic Identity Cards to Six Million Nigerian MFI Members to Boost Financial Inclusion

Source: Leadership

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is collaborating with the Association of Non-bank Micro Finance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN) to register its six million members into the national identity management system and issue them electronic identity card for effective financial inclusion.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Consumers Trust Their Bank Most to Provide a Mobile Wallet

Source: Business Insider

When it comes to mobile wallets, journalists and bloggers have focused on offerings from tech companies like Apple and Google, but consumers are more likely to trust their own bank as a provider, a new ING International Survey of 10,169 mobile users shows.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Islamic Financial Services Board Adds Financial Inclusion to Islamic Banking's To-Do List

Source: Reuters

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) is adding financial inclusion to the industry's to-do list, launching initiatives aimed at widening the reach of sharia-compliant banking to include poorer people.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

Group Hopes Recycled Hotel Soap Helps Save Lives Worldwide

Source: Associated Press

Shawn Seipler is on a mission to save lives with soap. It began about seven years ago as a tiny operation with a few friends and family in a single-car garage in Orlando, Florida, where they used meat grinders, potato peelers and cookers to recycle used soap into fresh bars.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Insurers Must Adapt to 'Informal' African Market

Source: EurActiv

Insurance companies are struggling to gain a foothold in Africa, where populations tend to favour community insurance schemes called tontines. These are often informal agreements between trusted friends and family members. EurActiv France reports.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — South Asia

How Foundations Like Ronnie Screwvala's Swades Are Helping Entrepreneurs Emerge From Rural India

Source: The Economic Times

For Ronnie Screwvala this was an unusual success story. At a community centre in Khamgaon, a village 166 km south of Mumbai, he engaged a group of 25 rural women, all dressed in pink, aged between 30 and 40, in a discussion on sanitary napkins with great enthusiasm.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Ikea’s Newly Designed Refugee Shelters Are a Game Changer

Source: TakePart

The units are spacious, have solar panels, and can last an average of three years.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

How to Serve Remote Customers Who Live on Less Than $2 a Day

Source: Forbes

The worlds of business and charity are increasingly merging. Social enterprises engage in activities that don’t perfectly fit in either of these worlds. Blending the two is a powerful tool: the solutions are often more effective, more innovative, and above all more sustainable.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How Bitcoin Could Revolutionize Remittance in Africa

Source: The Next Web

A host of local companies are looking to disrupt the remittance market in Africa by undercutting traditional money transfer operators while also offering businesses new ways of accepting payments on a continent with low credit card penetration and an over-reliance on cash.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Scientists Developing Latex Replacement That Self-Lubricates, Delivers Viagra and Feels Better Than Nothing At All

Source: The Independent

A group of scientists in Australia is developing a series of condoms which it claims could feel even better than wearing nothing at all.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Medtech Business Opportunities: There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom

Source: Plastics Today

There is a huge underserved market for medical technology—roughly two-thirds of the global population—that is largely ignored by the medtech industry. That market sits at the base of the pyramid (BoP), and it is composed primarily of populations in the emerging global markets. A report from global business consultancy PWC, "Quality healthcare for all: Starting from a strong base," considers this market to be a tremendous opportunity for companies to do good, both in business terms and for the human condition. "There may be no better place to look than the BoP healthcare market to seek new business," write PWC analysts. "Companies that do may find huge revenue potential combined with the opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people through access to better healthcare."
Monday, April 13, 2015 — South Asia

'We Aim to Bring Affordable and Convenient Healthcare for Every Individual in India'

Source: The Financial Express

After the successful launch of a free pick and drop service to all hospitals, diagnostics and pathology labs in Delhi, UBER and OXXY expanded it to Mumbai on World Health Day, with the additional benefit of online. While Uber provides the free ride, OXXY allows customers to compare prices of tests/ surgeries/ treatment as well as avail of discounts at medical centres. Pankaj Gupta, Founder, OXXY reveals company’s plans to Usha Sharma.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — South Asia

What’s Tripping Healthcare in India and How Startups Are Tackling It

Source: Tech in Asia

Today, in India, banks send alerts on financial risks instantaneously, ecommerce companies use tech tools to coax users to buy, and social networking sites are creating personality profiles of its users. However, hospitals still do not have the technology to predict and alert us about critical health risks. Most of them don’t even have digital systems to capture medical data to create a health history.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Assessing Impact Investing and Borrowing in Old Age

Source: The New York Times

Socially responsible investing in its basic form doesn’t go far enough for some people. After all, countless mutual funds already avoid shares of companies that produce addictive or dangerous products — like tobacco, alcohol or firearms.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

Where Is the Rockefeller Family Reinvesting Its Former Oil Holdings?

Source: Barron's Impact Investment Blog

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund—the $866 million-asset foundation started in 1940 by John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s five sons—announced in September that the family would divest itself of all their coal, tar-sands, and fossil-fuel investments held in the fund’s endowment. The eight Rockefeller family trustees on the board decided the fund needed “to better align its endowed assets with its mission” of combating climate change.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — South Asia

Coming of Age: Institutional Investors See Investment Merit in India’s Non-Banking Finance Companies and MFIs

Source: Business Line

Institutional investors in the debt market are gradually gaining confidence about looking beyond traditional government and highly-rated corporate debt to bonds and other debt instruments issued by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs). NBFCs and MFIs are also helping create this new market, either by issuing debentures or pooling their debt assets.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — South Asia

China's Financial Repression and Alibaba's Banking Arbitrage

Source: Forbes

There’s much stock market excitement about the various Chinese internet companies, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi, and their move into what is essentially online banking. Will they be able to capute significant percentages of the market, just how dang big is that market anyway and which of them is going to do best? We, here at this particular part of Forbes, don’t do technology nor stock markets, but macroeconomics. And truth of the matter here is that all of those things are going to depend upon the Chinese Goivernment’s macroeconomic policy making. Specifically, how much are they going to relax the country’s current financial repression and how much are they going to allow these companies to arbitrage around it? Absolutely nothing else is going to have an effect as large as that one single decision.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya Commercial Bank Launches Islamic Banking

Source: Spy Ghana News

Kenya Commercials Bank (KCB) Group on Thursday launched its Islamic Banking unit as it seeks to tap into the growing demand for Islamic financial products across the East African region.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: Mudra Bank Is Just What India’s Microfinance Sector Needed

Source: Business Line

Mudra Bank can provide some cohesion and impetus to this fragmented space, besides the right kind of regulation.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Press Release: Xpress Money and MTN Partner to Offer Mobile Remittances in Ghana

Source: Zawya

In a move that further strengthens Xpress Money's alternate channels portfolio, the money transfer company announced its partnership with MTN Ghana - a telecom giant in Ghana. Xpress Money customers remitting to Ghana will now be able to transfer money directly into the Mobile Wallets of registered MTN Mobile Money users in the country.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Aid Agencies Urge Kenya to Let Somali Remittances Resume

Source: Reuters

Aid agencies urge Kenya to allow Somali money transfer firms to resume operations, expressing concern that halting remittances will hurt struggling families and relief operations in Somalia.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

Researchers Find Cheap, Effective Hepatitis Treatment

Source: Voice of America

Researchers have discovered that an inexpensive allergy medicine can treat hepatitis C, a serious liver disease.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

GE Is Taking the Axe to Its Finance Arm in a Landmark Strategy Shift

Source: Fortune

Shares surge in reaction to radical restructuring for the world’s fourth-most valuable company as it returns to its industrial roots.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

Wells Fargo Selects Clean Technology Startups for Innovation

Source: 3BL Media

$10 million program to help four winning companies develop energy-efficient smart glass, cooling, battery and smart metering technologies.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

Press Release: Global Impact Investing Network Publishes Landscape Report on Impact Investing Industry in South Asia

Source: Global Impact Investing Network

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), in partnership with Dalberg Global Development Advisors, today published the full release of The Landscape for Impact Investing in South Asia, a “state of the market” analysis of the impact investing industry in the region. The most comprehensive study of impact investment activity in South Asia to date, the full report includes a chapter for each of the six countries studied—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

Eight Months on, Two Charts Raise Questions About India’s Financial Inclusion Scheme

Source: Scroll.in

Two of every three bank accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana have zero balance. Not a single insurance claim was settled during the last year.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

As WHO Drafts Its Global Health Strategies, a Need to Reconsider Viral Hepatitis Response

Source: Devex

The World Health Organization recently announced that it was seeking input on the three global health sector strategies — HIV and AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infection — it was drafting until April 30. The strategies, which will cover 2016-2021, will be finalized at the 69th World Health Assembly in 2016.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

India Has Third-Highest Number of Obese People, Reveals Study

Source: DNA India

India has the third-highest number of obese and overweight people (11 % of adolescents, and 20 % of all adults) after US and China, a recent study mapping global malnutrition trends has revealed.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

Vaccination Reminder Band Tipped to Boost Global Child Inoculation Rates

Source: The Guardian

Ankle band that changes colour to remind parents when vaccines are due comes through trials in Pakistan.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — South Asia

Indian E-Commerce Giant Snapdeal Buys Bill Payment Service FreeCharge

Source: TechCrunch

Snapdeal, the SoftBank- and eBay-backed online commerce company in India, has completed what it called “one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of the internet industry in India” after it announced the acquisition of online transaction serviceFreeCharge.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Are Wealthy Donors Squashing Debate on Inequality?

Source: Inside Philanthropy

Here's a scary picture that fits nicely into a growing populist critique of philanthropy: Wealthy donors are using the power of the purse to muffle debate about economic inequality.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Push for Banks for All Leaves Some Still Outside

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Firozaben, a nurse at an upscale clinic here, opened an account at the state-owned Bank of Baroda Ltd. in December, attracted by the promise of an overdraft provision and accident- and life-insurance policies—all for no fee, courtesy of a government program to bring India’s masses into the banking system.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

2 New Ebola Vaccines Pass Important Early Test, Researchers Say

Source: The New York Times

Two new Ebola vaccines have passed an important test, protecting monkeys against the strain of the virus responsible for the current deadly outbreak, researchers reported on Wednesday. Only one dose was needed, and there were no apparent side effects.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M-PESA Foundation Opens New Academy

Source: BiztechAfrica

The M-PESA Foundation has announced that it is constructing a state of the art, mixed boarding high school that will seek to provide a first class, unique education to gifted but economically disadvantaged children from all counties of Kenya.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: Tuberculosis - Taxis' Deadly Passenger

Source: allAfrica

Millions of South Africans rely on minibus taxis daily, but South Africa's most widely used mode of public transport could also be ferrying a deadly passenger.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Banco Santander Announces Commitment to Launch Social Economy Initiative With Georgetown University

Source: Market Watch

Banco Santander, through Santander Universities, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding with Georgetown University, to support a new initiative on the social economy. The initiative will focus on issues of social banking, social finance, and social entrepreneurship. This Memorandum was signed by Ana Botin, Executive Chairman of Banco Santander and John DeGioia, President of Georgetown University.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — South Asia

Biocon Recognized for Outstanding Contribution to Public Health by WHO – India

Source: The Financial Express

Biocon’s integrated healthcare initiatives is constantly engaged in improving the quality of life of several thousand communities in India.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

Study: Large Majority of Ultra-High Net Worth Investors Don’t Take Social Impact Into Consideration

Source: Millionaire Corner

Younger wealthy investors have a greater interest in socially responsible investments than older investors.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Study: Only 2.8 Percent of Nigerian Adults Have Microfinance Accounts

Source: National Mirror

Despite the huge numbers of Microfinance Banks, MFBs, operating in the country and regulatory authorities’ efforts to use them as channels for financial inclusion, investigations have confirmed that only 2.6 million of the adult population had MFB accounts.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Could a Test for Malaria Be as Easy as a Breathalyzer?

Source: Public Radio International

More than half a million people die of malaria every year, most of them children under the age of five in Africa. And in the areas where it is most endemic, it remains relatively expensive to diagnose. But a group of scientists in Missouri are working on a groundbreaking method to test for the disease that, if successful, could save time, money, and most importantly, lives.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

More Thinking About Contest Philanthropy: Market-Based Approaches

Source: Nonprofit Quarterly

In the wake of the Council on Foundation’s modification of its original plan to host a “pitch competition” at its annual meeting this year, two people associated with the Case Foundation wrote a blog post on the foundation’s website to defend the notion of nonprofits “playing by market-based approaches” or rules—as though they don’t all the time because of the structure of the U.S. economy. Trying to make their point that the criticism of the COF competition was a nonprofit reaction against the wisdom of “markets…[that] have this uncanny way of being candid, sending demand signals that companies need to pay attention and adapt to in order to thrive, if not survive,” the two authors stretched some points that were made in the criticism of the COF program.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya Shuts Down Somali Remittance Firms, Freezes Accounts

Source: Reuters

Kenya has suspended the licences of 13 Somali remittance firms following the massacre at a Kenyan university last week, Somalia's central bank governor said on Wednesday, and Kenyan media reported that dozens of bank accounts had been frozen.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — No Region Specified

Blue Diversion Toilet aims to improve sanitation with built-in filtration system

Source: Dezeen Magazine

Austrian design firm EOOS and water research institute Eawag hope to improve sanitation levels in areas of extreme poverty with a mobile toilet that contains its own water filtration system.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Mobile Wallet Leader MobiKwik Raises Close to $25 Million in Funding, Targets Another $100 Million By End of 2015

Source: The Financial Express

Mobile wallet company, MobiKwik, which has over 15 million users and 25,000 merchants, has announced that it raised close to $25 million in a Series B round led by Tree Line Asia. Cisco Investments, American Express and the existing investor, Sequoia Capital were part of the fund raising drive.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — No Region Specified

MIT Scaling Development Ventures: Bridging Innovation and Impact

Source: MIT News

This marks the third year that international development, entrepreneurship, and public service programs at MIT have come together to organize the MIT Scaling Development Ventures conference. Each year, the conference brings together perspectives from the international development and business communities to examine the best ways to bring poverty-alleviating solutions to market at scale. This year’s conference takes place at MIT on Saturday, April 11. Registration is free for members of the MIT community.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — South Asia

The Social Media Network Saving Lives, No Internet Needed

Source: TakePart

At one of India’s most prestigious tech universities, IIT Delhi, assistant professor in technology for development Aaditeshwar Seth has been spearheading a social media network for the country’s rural and largely poor population—no Internet required.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — No Region Specified

These Printable Tests for HIV And E.Coli Will Bring Diagnosis Anywhere in the World

Source: Co.Exist

Cheap, simple diagnostic kits have the potential to revolutionize health care in the developing world. If we can put non-technical tests in the hands of normal people, we can test for diseases more efficiently without building out formal clinic networks. That should help get treatments to people in a more timely way.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — South Asia

Prime Minister Modi Launches MUDRA Bank, Expected to Benefit 5.77 crore Microfinance Institutions in India

Source: IBNLive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched MUDRA Bank under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. This will provide credit of up to Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs and act as a regulator for 'Micro-Finance Institutions' (MFIs).
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — No Region Specified

Papua New Guinea Commits to Digitising All Government Payments

Source: Finextra

The Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance with endorsements from Minister for Finance, James Marape and Minister for Treasury, Patrick Pruaitch.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Planning Lessons From Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Source: Livemint

That Narendra Modi is a skilful orator is not news, but to hear him in person and to see him use ground-level common sense to drive home financial lessons to an auditorium full of bankers is quite an experience. The venue was the 80th birthday party of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai. And in case you were wondering, as I did, as to why celebrate 80 years rather than the global norm of 75 or 100, Modi said that 80 years is special to Indians because it marks the sahastra darshan or the 1,000 viewings of the full moon by a person who turns 80.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

African Hub Set Up to Boost Research Autonomy

Source: Nature

African scientists look set to gain greater control over research in their own countries, if an ambitious plan for a regional hub to award grants and develop research capacity bears fruit.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Central Bank to Investigate MTN

Source: Mobile Money Africa

Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials are planning a major investigation into MTN Mobile Money dealings following an expose by The Independent.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Equity Bank MVNO Moves in on Kenya's Mobile Money Market

Source: ITWeb Africa

Mobile virtual number operator Finserve Africa Limited (trading as Equitel) has made its mark in the Kenyan mobile money market, overtaking veterans such as Orange Money during October and December of last year.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — South Asia

Rajasthan’s Karma Healthcare Bags Funding to Bring Telemedicine to Villages

Source: Tech in Asia

Indian rural healthcare startup Karma Healthcare has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-series A round from impact fund Ankur Capital and an unnamed international VC firm.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

Budget Cuts and Vaccine Fears Threaten Health Progress

Source: Science and Development Network

Cuts to global health research budgets and people’s wariness of vaccines could hamper efforts to improve health around the world, two separate reports have warned in the run-up to World Health Day, which is marked today.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — South Asia

How to Stop Worrying and Love the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Source: The Washington Post

China launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in October of 2014 and has met with nothing but opposition from the United States. Officially, the objection cited by the United States is a lack of clarity about AIIB’s governance, as well as concerns about whether the AIIB will adhere to strict environmental and labor standards in its operations. It is clear, however, that U.S. opposition also derives from fears that the AIIB — spearheaded by China and part of China’s “New Silk Road” strategy — will diminish U.S. leadership in the region.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

Oral Antibiotics Are Found to Save More Infant Lives

Source: The New York Times

While vaccines, mosquito nets and other health measures have saved millions of children younger than 5 in the last decade, death rates from pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis among babies in the first weeks of life have remained stubbornly high.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India to Hike Limits for Priority Sector Lending, Allow Inter-Bank Bond Investments

Source: VCCircle

Indian banking regulator has proposed to hike the eligibility criteria to classify a loan as priority sector lending (PSL) which is expected to particularly boost microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the country.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

World Bank President Outlines Strategy to End Poverty, Welcomes New Development Partners

Source: The World Bank

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today announced a broad strategy to end extreme poverty by 2030, and he welcomed emerging players such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, established by the BRICS countries, as potentially strong allies in the economic development of poor countries and emerging markets.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

MIT Alum Hopes to Spread Tech-Boom Excitement in Young, Increasingly Connected Middle East

Source: BetaBoston

Some of the Middle East’s most promising entrepreneurs and deep-pocketed investors gathered at the Habtoor Grand Hotel here last month for the sixth edition of the ArabNet Digital Summit, one of the largest forums for the Middle East’s burgeoning startup industry.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

Michael Bloomberg Fights Big Tobacco in Uruguay

Source: BBC

Michael Bloomberg is a man on a mission. This, of course, isn't the first "noble cause" he's latched on to but the "evil" of tobacco is something he feels particularly strongly about.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — South Asia

No Distance Left to Run: India Post Shutters the Traditional Money Order Service

Source: MediaNama

As Bob Dylan would croak, “oh the times they are-a changing”. India Post is quietly retiring its traditional money order service which facilitated pan-India door-delivery of funds to a payee from over 155,000 post offices, reports IANS. Shikha Mathur Kumar, the deputy director general for finance confirmed to the publication and added that India Post will be pushing the electronic money orders (eMO) and instant money orders (iMO).
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

Driving Financial Inclusion at 4G Speed

Source: The Huffington Post

Base-of-the-pyramid financial services providers in emerging markets are increasingly using data analytics to pioneer new products for reaching the unbanked. Alifinance in China is using the underlying transaction data of vendors on the giant online platform Alibaba to underwrite small business loans. M-Shwari in Kenya leverages M-Pesa's mobile money data for short-term, unsecured credit. Cignifi analyzes cell phone usage to provide credit as well as savings propensity scores. Lenddo uses online social network data for credit risk assessment. Similarly, a number of companies including Tiaxa and MODE use cell phone data to extend immediate nano-credits to prepaid customers who run out of airtime balances.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — South Asia

Here Are Nine Ways to Deal With Delhi’s Air Pollution—But You May Not Be Able to Afford Any of Them

Source: Quartz

Delhi’s air pollution hit new highs last winter, giving the city, at least briefly, the worst air quality readings of any place on earth.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Saving Lives By Making Malaria Drugs More Affordable

Source: Medical Xpress

Forty percent of all malaria-caused deaths in sub-Saharan Africa occur in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization. The private sector "supply chain" manages 74% of the drug volume in Congo and 98% in Nigeria where malaria-stricken patients rely on "drug shops" and other for-profit retail outlets to get life-saving medicine.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Could Your Facebook Profile Get You a Mortgage?

Source: Co.Exist

In the developing world, using people's social graph to determine creditworthiness is opening up billions of new people to the benefits of credit—and a chance at the middle class.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — Asia Pacific

New Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine 'A Historic Moment for Global Health'

Source: Devex

As I prepare for retirement this month and reflect on my four years as the director of the neglected infectious diseases team here at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the things I am most proud of is to have been part of a global team that has been working to get a new Japanese encephalitis vaccine to the millions of people who need it.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Can Lead the Way in Mobile

Source: Business Day

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the future of Africa is mobile. And it does seem that the good news for mobile in Africa keeps on rolling in. This month a bullish MTN Group announced a 20% jump in net profit in 2014 from the previous year, with sales growth in Nigeria and other major markets such as Cameroon and Uganda. The company announced that it would invest R30bn this year to grow its infrastructure in the 23 countries where it operates.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Obgyn Training in Sub-Saharan Africa Bolstered By New Collections Shared Both Online and Offline

Source: University of Michigan Health System

U-M’s 1000+ OBGYN Project provides free access to educational materials to support ob-gyn training in Africa for improved maternal, newborn care.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Heifer Awarded $750,000 From Starbucks Foundation to Support Coffee Farmers in Tanzania

Source: Market Watch

Heifer International was awarded a Starbucks Foundation grant of $750,000 to help fund the Mbozi Farmer Livelihood Improvement Project in Tanzania, which will help improve livelihoods and quality of life for smallholder coffee growing communities in the East African country.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Study: Zambia’s Malaria Success Story Masks Basic Health Failures

Source: Humanosphere

A new study reveals that while Zambia has made great progress against malaria over the past decade or so it was losing ground on many other health needs like basic child immunizations and maternal health care.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — South Asia

10 Impact Investors in India That You Should Know

Source: e27

Out of the total 1.3 billion population in India, around 80 per cent are living in poverty. There are some companies in India — both in the tech and no-tech segments — helping this large segment to address various problems related to irrigation, lending, travel, education, etc., by providing cost-effective solutions. These impact ventures are getting financial assistance in the form of grants or funds from various investment firms, called Impact investors.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Singapore, Indonesia Lead Growth in Sustainable Investing in Asia

Source: Eco-Business

While Asia still lags Europe and the United States in sustainable investing, the market for funds employing such strategies is healthy and expanding rapidly in the region, with Singapore and Indonesia leading the growth.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Source: Voice of America

It’s been declared dead countless times in the West, but in Kenya's start-up scene Bitcoin is all the rage. Kenyan companies have been attracting funding lately to build cheap Bitcoin-based remittance services that some think could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Why the Ivy League Needs the Hult Prize

Source: The Huffington Post

How do we get Ivy League students interested in changing the world? Fluorescent pink posters with one simple message: "Do you want to win $1,000,000?"
Friday, April 3, 2015 — South Asia

Report: Over 700 Million in Asia Already Bank Digitally

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

According to a new report from McKinsey & Company, smartphones and high speed Internet access are transforming banking habits in Asia where over 700 million people already regularly conduct transactions online.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — South Asia

Crucial Vaccines Out of Reach for Many in Rural India

Source: Business Today

The Union health ministry's ambitious Mission Indradhanush to immunise children against various diseases faces a major challenge as the Hib vaccine to safeguard the little ones from deadly infections like meningitis, pneumonia and severe throat conditions remains out of the reach in vast areas of the country.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

Cellphones for Women in Developing Nations Aid Ascent From Poverty

Source: The New York Times

Here is what life is like for a woman with no bank account in a developing country. She keeps her savings hidden — in pots, under mattresses, in fields. She constantly worries about thieves. She may even worry about her husband taking cash she has budgeted for their children’s needs. Sending money to a family member in another village is risky and can take days. Obtaining a loan in an emergency is often impossible.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

The Healthiest (and Least Healthy) Countries in the World

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

World Health Day is on April 7, and people around the globe are turning their attention to health issues. The global infant mortality rate of 33.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013 has followed a long-term downward trend. Similarly, life expectancy has improved dramatically in recent decades. The improvements were uneven, however, and health conditions continue to vary widely between nations.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

FICO to Announce New Credit Scoring Formula for High-Risk Consumers in the U.S.

Source: Yahoo!

FICO, creator of some of the most widely used credit scores in the U.S., will reportedly announce a new scoring formula designed to help high-risk consumers access credit, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The model will incorporate consumers' payment history on things like utility, cellphone and cable bills, in addition to how often a consumer changes addresses.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Does Social Entrepreneurship Mean to Actor Adrian Grenier?

Source: Fortune

The Entourage actor talks entrepreneurship and his upcoming stint as a judge in a start-up pitch contest.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Prime Minister Modi Asks Reserve Bank to Prepare 20-Year Financial Inclusion Roadmap

Source: Business Line

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the Reserve Bank of India to prepare a 20-year roadmap for deepening financial inclusion in the country.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — South Asia

Chinese Pharma: A Global Health Game Changer?

Source: Council on Foreign Relations

The twenty-first century shift in geoeconomic power toward Asia has also spurred a rebalancing in global pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) investment toward emerging economies. China is currently the world’s second-highest investor in R&D and is poised to overtake the United States in R&D spending by 2023. Determined to become a world leader in the pharmaceutical sector, China spent $1.17 billion on promoting life and medical sciences in 2012—nearly ten times its 2004 level of investment. With U.S. funding for medical research on the decline, the surge in Chinese funding has prompted many policymakers to ask if the country's pharmaceutical industry could be the next game changer for global public health and access to medicine (ATM).
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

GlaxoSmithKline and Merck Ebola Vaccines Succeed in Phase II Liberian Trials

Source: FiercePharma

Two Ebola vaccines, one developed by the NIH and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and the other by Merck ($MRK) and NewLink ($NLNK), have sailed through Liberian trials and, based on the results, may now advance to Phase III trials.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — South Asia

The US Is Warming Up to China's Big New Development Bank

Source: Business Insider

Washington appears to have softened its stance towards the new Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, backing down from its earlier resistance and saying it is now ready to welcome the institution.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — South Asia

Wheel of Fortune

Source: Bangalore Mirror

The entrepreneur hopes to empower the differently-abled by manufacturing vehicles that offer mobility, quality at a reduced cost and even aid in employment.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Superslick Coatings Conquer Ketchup, But What About Ebola?

Source: NPR

The videos are almost unbelievable. Ketchup slides out of the jar and you don't even have to give it a thump. Glue slips out of the bottle without a molecule left inside. And what about getting that last smidgen of toothpaste from a used tube? No problem.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Simpler Antibiotic Regimen Helps Sick Babies in Developing Nations

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Newborns and young infants in developing nations who have suspected severe bacterial infections can be effectively treated outside a hospital, two new studies suggest.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Marketing: The Missing Ingredient in Social Entrepreneurship

Source: The Huffington Post

I have been asked to teach a course in Marketing for the esteemed Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship Program at USC. While I look at this as a great opportunity. I also recognize it is an enormous challenge. Why? Even though many profess a deep knowledge of these subjects, both are not well understood. Business people tend to look at social entrepreneurs as bleeding heart do-gooders that waste their time chasing after lost causes. Moreover, social entrepreneurs tend to view profit-seeking business people as money-grubbing and selfish with little concern about the greater good. Even worse, they tend to view marketers as slimy, sleazy liars. So why do intelligent people wanting to use their intelligence to solve the world's social problems tend to shun marketing?
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — South Asia

Alibaba Rival JD.com Launches Crowdfunding Site for Startups in China

Source: TechCrunch

China’s largest e-commerce companies are eager to leverage their millions of users and hoards of data for new projects. For example, Alibaba’s other businesses include healthcare management, financial services, and cloud data. Now JD.com, its smaller but still formidable rival, is branching out into crowdfunding for startups.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Crowdfunding Nearly Tripled Last Year, Becoming a $16 Billion Industry

Source: Entrepreneur

If crowdfunding’s been hot for awhile, last year, it was damn near on fire.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Case Foundation, B Lab Team Up to Make Measuring Impact More Mainstream

Source: Forbes

The Case Foundation and B Lab recently announced a joint effort to encourage more businesses, especially those that aren’t triple-bottom line enterprises, to consider their social and environmental impact.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Why We Should Be Worried By the World Bank Shoveling $36 Billion to ‘Financial Intermediaries’

Source: Oxfam International

Everyone’s heard of the World Bank, but far fewer people know of its private sector arm, the International.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

MCE Social Capital Reaches $100 Million in Loan Guarantees for Social Good

Source: MCE Social Capital

Launched in 2006, the nonprofit impact investing firm has used its innovative loan guarantee model to generate economic opportunities for nearly two million people living in poverty.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — South Asia

India to Add More AIDS, TB Drugs to Essential Medicines List

Source: Reuters

India is likely to add more HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis drugs to its list of essential medicines that are subject to price caps, people directly involved in the process said, in a move to improve affordability of drugs to treat the deadly diseases.
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.
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 — 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.
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

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.
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 — 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

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 — 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 — 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

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.
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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
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.
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

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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
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

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

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 — 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.
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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
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

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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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

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 — 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.
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