Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Viewpoint: Iran Nuclear Deal Will Bolster Global Health

Source: The Boston Globe

National security and regional stability have dominated the political debate over the Iran nuclear accord in recent weeks. Less discussed, however, are the far-reaching, positive implications for public health that will come when sanctions are lifted, as the deal calls for, and Iran’s medical system can begin to cooperate with the West again.
Monday, September 14, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Why the ‘People’s Agenda’ for Sustainable Development Is Also the Business Agenda

Source: The National

The 193 member states of the United Nations last month unveiled a new global agenda for sustainable development. The 15-year plan, titled Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is set to be formally endorsed by world leaders in New York this month and will come into force at the beginning of next year.
Friday, July 17, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Iran Nuclear Deal: Lifting Sanctions Could Transform Business For Pharmaceutical Companies, Ease Financial Roadblocks

Source: International Business Times

European and U.S. pharmaceutical companies have always been allowed to sell medicines and medical devices in Iran, even if they've been hesitant about doing so. But the nuclear deal reached Tuesday could be transformative, not so much by peeling back legal restrictions on the pharmaceutical industry, but rather by tearing down financial roadblocks that could make it significantly easier for companies to do business in Iran in a sector that analysts say is teeming with growth opportunities.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

IBM Introduces Watson to Africa and the Middle East

Source: PC World

With the help from the city of Abu Dhabi, IBM will offer its Watson-based data analysis services to the Middle East and North Africa.
Thursday, June 25, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Surviving Pakistan's Slums: The Extraordinary Story of Mohammad Sabir

Source: DAWN

Every morning at sunrise, five-year-old Muhammad Sabir stepped out of his house, sagging a garbage bag to his shoulders, filling it with aluminum, plastic, paper scraps or anything he could find to sell. Salvaging trash to survive, he picked up snippets of newspapers and tried to read them.
Monday, May 11, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Uncertainty Over Vaccine Procurement Worries Donors

Source: DAWN

Pakistan may be facing a serious interruption in vaccine supply as provinces are showing unwillingness to pay for vaccine imports, following the expiration of the current National Finance Commission (NFC) award next month.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

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

Source: Huffington Post

Tuning in to news channels, browsing through social media sites, or engaging in a chit-chat with one of Egypt's ever-so talkative taxi drivers can leave even the biggest optimist heavy-hearted. High illiteracy rates in Egypt's primary and middle schools, blood-covered hospital beds shared by multiple patients, and increased suicide rates among men unable to provide for their families are tragically common and familiar headlines. While the core of our economic and social problems have long been recognized, very little has been done to address them.
Friday, February 6, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Egypt, MasterCard Sign MoU to Drive Financial Inclusion

Source: BiztechAfrica

The Government of Egypt, represented by The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and MasterCard have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a strategic collaboration that will help drive financial inclusion and maximize government efficiency.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Dubai's Dumyé Named in World's Best Social Enterprises

Source: Arabian Business

A Dubai-based Arab-American designer turned social entrepreneur has won a chance to compete for a share of a $1 million fund and represent the region at a global finals for social entrepreneurs in San Francisco.
Friday, January 23, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Cleft Lip Surgical Tool Simulator to Be Showcased at WISH in Qatar

Source: Sowetan LIVE

The recent innovation, that will definitely put a smile to a lot of people’s faces, literally, is the cleft lip and palate and palate surgical tool.
Monday, January 19, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Social Investor, Social Activists and Social Ventures Talk Back: What's Happening in MENA?

Source: Entrepreneur

In analyzing the capital flow for social enterprises, the picture behind this reality around the world adjusts depending on what region you go to. In the western markets such as the U.S. or Europe, capital structures are becoming more inclusive for social enterprises. But what’s happening in regions such as MENA?
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Finance: Egypt's Small Borrowers Have Big Potential

Source: The Africa Report

A new law permitting non-bank for-profit lending institutions may unleash a revolution in microfinance by allowing more actors and innovators to get involved.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Roadmap: Microfinance Industry Eyes 10m Customers By 2018

Source: The Express Tribune

Perhaps this is the reason why Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) Chairman Nadeem Hussain believes that an impressive growth of 20-25% per annum for the past many years has still not made the country’s microfinance industry ‘relevant’ in the fight against poverty.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

UAE Fund To Provide $200 Million In Loans To Microfinance Projects In Egypt

Source: Ahram Online

A United Arab Emirates state investment fund announced on Monday it would provide $200 million in loans for microfinance projects in Egypt, a move it said would create more than 120,000 jobs by 2020.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Dubai-Based Social Enterprise Shines Bright For Africa

Source: The National

It started with a plea to help 60,000 orphans in the company’s care. The children, who were being looked after in Zimbabwean orphanages set up by the telecoms operator Econet Wireless, could not study at night because there was no power and lighting, and many were getting sick from breathing in the chemicals emitted from candles.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

DFID, Gates Foundation to set up digital financial services unit in Pakistan

Source: Daily Times

The United Kingdom (UK) government’s Department for International Development (DFID) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to set up a digital financial services (DFS) unit in Pakistan.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Dubai entrepreneur’s 100% Mad scheme to give away $1bn

Source: The National

Launching a social enterprise that will revolutionise the way we donate money to charity is a tall order. But the Dubai-based businessman Tariq Qureishy, 50, aims to raise US$1 billion in the next two years, and give the entire amount to charity through his social venture 100% Mad.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Microfinance Struggling to find its feet in Middle East

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Microfinance has blossomed in recent years, helping fill a funding need for businesses too tiny and risky for traditional banks. Curiously perhaps, while microfinance has been a big hit across parts of Asia and South America, its start in the Middle East and North Africa hasn’t been as auspicious.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Dozens of children feared dead after being injected with 'tainted’ measles vaccine in Syria

Source: The Telegraph

As many as 36 children were reported to have died excruciating deaths last night after receiving tainted measles vaccines under a UN-sponsored programme in the rebel-held north of Syria.
Thursday, September 4, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Microfinance in Jordan isn’t helping to empower women

Source: The Guardian

Foreign donors need to reconsider how their money is being used, as profits are taking precedence over sustainability
Friday, August 15, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

In Tehran, a Taxi's Metamorphosis Is Kafkaesque

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The husband-and-wife team of Mehdi Yazdany and Sarvenaz Heraner were cruising the streets of Iran's sprawling capital in search of targets.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Pakistani businesswoman Sadaffe Abid makes it her mission to empower women

Source: The National

Sadaffe Abid is one of Pakistan’s most successful businesswomen. She was the chief executive of the Kashf Foundation, one of the largest microfinance institutions in Pakistan, growing it from a pilot project in two rooms, to serve 300,000 female clients with micro-loans. Ms Abid also co-founded the Buksh Foundation, a Pakistani start-up that enhances financial access to micro entrepreneurs. After 13 years in micro-financing, Ms Abid now splits her time between Dubai and Pakistan, conducting leadership training focused on developing high-potential female professionals and entrepreneurs and emerging talent.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

OPINION: How to Close the Health Gap Between Rich and Poor

Source: The Daily Star Lebanon

With aggressively scaled-up health investments, 10 million lives could be saved annually, beginning in 2035.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Thomson Reuters release Islamic Social Finance Report

Source: CPI Financial

Thomson Reuters has released the Islamic Social Finance Report 2014 in collaboration with the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Computer Access for the Poorest at $7 a Head

Source: Times of Israel

Israeli start-up Keepod believes it has a low-cost way to bring the billions living in poverty into the digital age.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

U.S. Telemedicine Initiative Tackles Diabetes Epidemic in Libya

Source: HuffPost Impact

A Libyan-American steering group has been created to manage local outreach, and get as many retinal cameras into primary care situations as possible.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Israeli hackers with a conscience

Source: Haaretz

Tel Aviv hackathon aims to show that technology can help the world's poorest people - and make a profit.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

A data-driven perspective on Islamic finance

Source: Global Arab Network

In an effort to add some empirical rigor to ongoing debates surrounding Islamic finance, a new working paper and Findex Note explore differences in the usage of formal financial services between Muslims and non-Muslims, and the usage of and preference for Sharia-compliant banking products.
Monday, November 4, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Qatar-based social initiative, Silatech hosts US events on innovative entrepreneurship

Source: Gulf Times

Founded by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser,Silatech has hosted two major events in the US with a view to increasing awareness and informing US policy towards youth in the Arab world.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

The difficulty of starting up a social enterprise in a warzone

Source: The Guardian

With youth unemployment across countries like Egypt, Somalia and Syria still hovering between 60% and 70%, there has never been a more relevant time to encourage social entrepreneurship. In some developing countries, where there is no central government stable enough to accept foreign aid, it can be responsible for up to 90% of job creation.
Friday, August 16, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

What you need to know about the Middle East’s new social entrepreneurs

Source: Devex

Many things amazed me in my travels across the growing tech startup ecosystem in the Middle East over the past two tumultuous years.
Monday, August 5, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

East Africa: The Superfood With the Potential to Save Hundreds and Thousands of Children's Lives

Source: AllAfrica

Imagine a food that is free, nutritious and has the potential to save thousands of children's lives.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

PepsiCo will support 200,000 Arab social innovators

Source: Gulf News

PespsiCo will provide practical and educational support to social entrepreneurs across the Arab world.
Monday, July 1, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Comment: The Middle East plague goes global

Source: SBS World News Australia

A scary virus is sweeping Saudi Arabia. Six million religious pilgrims are about to descend on the country from across the world. The result could be disastrous, write Laurie Garrett and Maxine Builder.
Monday, June 17, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Egypt: World Bank Provides $1.25 Million to Support Job Creation in Upper Egypt

Source: AllAfrica

The World Bank group and its partners are investing more than $1.25 million in the Egypt Development Marketplace program that addresses job creation, poverty alleviation and rural development, said a press release issued by the World Bank.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Global Leaders Unite to End Polio -- But Where Is the U.S.?

Source: Roll Call

Last month, the U.S. government stood on the sidelines as much of the world united for the final push to eradicate polio. Now, Congress has a chance to put us back on track.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Unhealthy Hospitals

Source: Time Magazine

The future of Afghanistan begins at the end of next year, after U.S. combat troops depart and Afghan forces take over for keeps.
Friday, April 19, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Entrepreneurship: IBA Karachi and UAF to collaborate

Source: The Express Tribune

Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) have decided to join hands to promote agricultural entrepreneurship and product commercialisation.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Beyond Profit: A Talk With Muhammad Yunus

Source: The New York Times

Today, in a ceremony at the United States Capitol, Congressional leaders will present the founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, with the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his “efforts to combat global poverty.”
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Pakistan's social entrepreneurs eager to unlock innovation potential

Source: The Guardian

A changing mindset can help the country establish an enabling environment in which social enterprises can flourish
Friday, March 15, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Life of Pi to bridge the funds gap

Source: The National

A new company is attempting to help bridge a US$3.5 billion (Dh12.85bn) funding gap for the Middle East's poorest entrepreneurs by linking them to microcredit loans bankrolled by the social media generation.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Egypt: Empowering Women Challenges Poverty - CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation

Source: All Africa

The Chief Executive Officer of Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monique Villa, said on Monday that helping women know and defend their rights tackles the very root of poverty.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Why the Arab awakening depends on social entrepreneurs

Source: The Guardian

For two years, I have resisted use of the term Arab Spring to describe the events that have been unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa. It is an unrealistic label to use, its application verging on naïve, even lazy, in this situation. Spring is a time where something with strong roots, carefully nurtured, flourishes and grows. We are not there yet; I hope that we may be soon.
Monday, February 4, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

In Pakistan, Savings Circles Beat Banks

Source: Bloomberg Business Week

Ali has been selling wall clocks and wristwatches in a crowded Karachi market for 15 years. He’s been participating in savings circles with fellow shopkeepers for just as long, and has used the proceeds to buy a car and acquire a new store. Now he’s a few months away from getting 400,000 rupees ($4,100) from a savings group of 16 shopkeepers into which he’s been paying 1,000 rupees a day for almost a year. He plans to put a down payment on an apartment. “This system is flawless,” says Ali, 35, who goes by one name. “You can never save this way without this binding commitment of making payments every day or every month. At banks there are hassles and procedures that waste time. This is simple. The organizer comes to collect the money himself, and because of the trust element, it’s a given that we’ll get the money.”
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

Where social problems and business solutions meet

Source: Jerusalem Post

Israeli entrepreneurs seek to lure companies into the nascent field of development technology.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

The Latest Way to Solve Poverty in the Middle East

Source: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

In the last two years, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has increasingly focused on supporting social entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa region as a way of tackling the region’s socio-economic challenges that cause poverty.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Egypt: Impact Investing Is Key to Inclusive Development in Egypt

Source: All Africa

Demographic pressures and years of under investment in meeting social needs suggest that Egypt will not be able to provide jobs, housing and basic services without adopting a wide strategy for inclusive development. Impact investing should be encouraged as one of the strategy's pillars.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Symbiotics’ impact bond issuance platform lends 10 million dollars to AccessBank in Azerbaijan

Source: Press Release

Azerbaijan’s leading microfinance bank, AccessBank, received 10 million dollars through MSME Bonds, Symbiotics’ impact bond issuance platform, on November 20, 2012.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Observing the Arab Spring, African Bankers Devise Economic Strategies

Source: Knowledge@Wharton

The African Development Bank (AfDB) was established in 1964 to guide the continent onto a path of sustainable pan-African economic growth and reduce poverty. Heading its efforts is Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and vice president at the multilateral bank, which is temporarily headquartered in Tunisia.
Monday, November 5, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Is the Philanthropy Model Broken? Changemakers Discuss Social Entrepreneurship in Dubai

Source: Wamda

In Dubai, a city that is sometimes referred to as ‘soul-less’, over 150 social changemakers from across the Gulf gathered at the Capital Club in DIFC a couple of weeks ago to discuss how our models of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy can evolve.
Friday, October 26, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Mideast, North Africa trail behind globe for working women

Source: ANSAmed

(ANSAmed) - Rome, October 26 - Just 22% of those who work in the Middle East and North Africa are women. The average is 27% in Egypt, Jordan, Lybia, Morocco and Tunisia.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Egypt’s NBD allocates EGP 200 million to finance micro-enterprises

Source: CPI Financial

National Bank for Development (NBD) has allocated EGP 200 million towards providing funding for small and micro enterprises, and designed a comprehensive range of funding programmes that are Shari'ah-compliant.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

North Africa: Japan's Unicharm Corp. to Bring Affordable Hygiene Products to 36 Million Low-Income Women

Source: All Africa

New York/Tokyo — Japanese consumer products giant Unicharm Corp. has pledged to bring affordable diapers and sanitary products to 36 million low-income women in the Middle East/North Africa and Asian regions as part of the Business Call to Action (BCTA), a global initiative to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development through the development of inclusive business models.
Monday, October 15, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Israel’s Rather Different Social Network

Source: Wall Street Journal

ISTANBUL—One of the more unusual presentations at the Webit conference here was from Israel Venture Network, a 10-year social entrepreneurship network targeting some of Israel’s deprived and excluded citizens, in a talk given by the former tech Chief Executive Isabel Maxwell.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Building a New Pyramid

Source: Forbes India

Today, more than a year after the downfall of the Mubarak regime, Egypt needs to build a new pyramid -- a huge task involving parallel processes of political, economic and social reform. It needs leadership that can inspire the nation. Can Egypt find the leadership it needs?
Thursday, July 19, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Endeavor to launch a new country affiliate in Saudi Arabia

Source: Endeavor Blog

New York, July 18, 2012 – Endeavor announced today that it will launch a new affiliate office in Saudi Arabia, expanding its efforts to select and service high-impact entrepreneurs in the Middle East.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Endeavor Catalyst invests in AirTies as first MENA region company

Source: Endeavor Blog

NEW YORK, July 18, 2012 — Endeavor, the world-wide leader in selecting, mentoring and accelerating high-impact entrepreneurs, announced that it has closed an investment round with AirTies, an innovative Turkish developer of wireless networking equipment with worldwide sales, as the third investment of Endeavor Catalyst.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Investing for social impact reaps more than financial returns, says Al Tamimi

Source: CPI Financial

For Al Tamimi Investments (ATI), channelling its private capital for social benefit is reaping more than financial returns for its businesses. ATI was founded in 2006 by Emirati business leader Essam Al Tamimi and Rachael Wunsch, an accomplished venture capitalist from Australia. Using personal capital gained from the success of his law firm Al Tamimi & Company, ATI sought to invest in businesses that would enrich and bring value to the UAE community.
Monday, July 2, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

New youth savings program launched in Yemen


Silatech and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) have signed an agreement with Al-Amal Microfinance Bank (AMB) and Al-Kuraimi Islamic Microfinance Bank (KIMB) in Yemen to provide financial access to tens of thousands of young Yemenis through an innovative new youth savings program.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Middle East Social Entrepreneurship Faces Challenges, but No Shortage of Volunteers

Source: Arabic Knowledge@Wharton

The Arab Spring brought tumult to the Middle East, but the demonstrations have also ushered in new aspects to civil life in Arab society. Egypt this past week saw its first free presidential elections in its history as a result, and Arab youth across the region have used new media as an unfiltered way to express themselves and organize as they never could before.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Microfinance Giant Launches Venture Capital Fund For East Africa

Source: Forbes

Accion, an international microfinance and investment firm, has launched Venture Lab, a $10 million investment vehicle which will provide seed capital and management support to financial inclusion startups worldwide, with a particular focus on East Africa and India.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

GroFin Expands Pool of SME Funding to $323 million, Enters Three New Countries

Source: Press Release

GroFin, the multinational pioneer of growth finance working to create real impact through the support of small and medium businesses, has announced a growth in funds under management from $260 million to $323 million.
Monday, March 12, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Kiva and Silatech Launch Online Entrepreneur Micro-loans


Online micro-lending platform Kiva has announced a partnership with Qatar's Silatech to develop an online funding programme for young Arab entrepreneurs.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

SMES In Egypt, Jordan to Benefit from $500 Million in U.S. Loans

Source: Devex News

The Overseas Private Investment Corp., an independent agency of the U.S. government, secured $500 million for a lending facility , of which half will be provided to Egypt and the rest to Jordan. OPIC will guarantee loans by local banks to SMEs, microfinance institutions and other approved borrowers. By filling in the gap in access to credit by SMEs in Jordan and Egypt, the initiative aims to spu...
Monday, July 18, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Arab Spring, Start-Up Summer?

Source: The New York Times

Like so many other young people in Cairo, Yasmine el-Mehairy saw no future in Egypt . What she saw was a dead end. Then came Tahrir Square. Six months after an uprising led by people like her ousted Hosni Mubarak and overturned the established order of the Arab world, Ms. Mehairy has joined the ranks of Egypt'...
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Thursday, June 23, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Going Mobile: Egypt Gears Up for Cellphone Banking

Source: Ahram Online

Hani swears his wages were under the satellite box. They were just 400 Egyptian pounds (US$67) -- payment for a month of piecemeal work rigging TV dishes in the northern Cairo district of Shubra El-Kheima - but now they'd gone. Sitting in his dank single room, located up a muddy alley a half-hour's walk from any major commercial enterprise, Hani toys with the broken padlock from his door and vows to find a safer place for his money. At 36 years old Hani has never had...
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Thursday, June 2, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Electrifying Entrepreneur: The Founder of Afriq-Power is Upgrading Mali


Daniel Dembélé wants to electrify Africa . Trouble is, so do foreign multinationals. For the past five years, the 31-year-old Malian social entrepreneur has been trying to keep one step ahead. In 2006, he installed locally produced solar panels in a school in Banko, Mali. With children able to study after dark for the first tim...
Friday, April 29, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Google Exec. Wael Ghonim Takes Sabbatical to Fight Poverty

Source: Los Angeles Times

Wael Ghonim never sought to become the public face of the Egyptian revolution. But the Google executive who helped organize the political uprising on social media was thrust into the spotlight in February after he was arrested and beaten by government forces during the protests that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. Since then, Ghonim has been traveling the globe to spread word of Revolution 2.0, tapping the power of the Internet and social media to foment revolution. He has...
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Sa?d Business School: US Marines Call on Social Entrepreneur in Afghanistan

Source: The Financial

When Connie Duckworth received a call from the office of Commanding General of the Marines First Expeditionary Force operating in Afghanistan, she was surprised to say the least. Ms Duckworth is a social entrepreneur working in poor rural communities in Afghanistan well beyond the theatre of war. The Marines, however, had heard about her approach to developing sustainable economic growth within these communities and wanted to learn more. Ms Duckworth's social venture ARZU has been w...
Sunday, March 20, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

USAID, IYF To Promote Entrepreneurship Among Palestinian Youth

Source: Devex

A $15 million initiative to improve entrepreneurship , civic engagement and employment opportunities for young people in the Palestinian territories has been launched in Ramallah in the West Bank. The four-year program is a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the International Youth Foundation. Dubbed the "Youth Entrepreneurship Development" program, it aims to help young people between 1...
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Monday, March 7, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

PPAF Sets Up Wind Turbines, Solar Panels for Power Generation

Source: Business Recorder

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), in partnership with Aga Khan Planing and Building Services- Pakistan (AKPBS-P), has set up wind turbines and solar panels to provide environmentally friendly electricity to approximately 6,500 people in 29 villages of district Thatta in Sindh province. According to PPAF sources, the AKPBS-P, with the support from PPAF, the World Bank and the contribution by the village residents in the form of unskilled labour, installed 29 wind t...
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Monday, March 7, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

The Middle East's Other Boom: Entrepreneurship

Source: The Daily Beast

Just as 1960s counterculture was responsible for the '80s high-tech explosion, the revolutionary wave sweeping the Middle East will trigger a boom in entrepreneurship-but this time the change will be measured in months, not decades. Like many people, I have been watching the events unfolding in the Middle East with a jaw hovering somewhere near the floor. And curiously enough, many of the thought...
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Thursday, February 24, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Why We Need Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

Source: Inc.

The tremors shaking the Middle East have not fully subsided, but the ominous question already looms: What comes next? Much of the media focus has been on political reform, as tyrants are toppled and drama unfolds with the suspense of a Hollywood movie, but the demands of protestors have been clear: They want political and economic reform. Very little attention, as yet, has been paid to the...
Monday, February 14, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

In Egypt, Will an Economic Revolution Follow?

Source: Inc.

The popular uprising in Egypt has quickly been accorded a conventional explanation: The people want democratic government. This is not necessarily wrong, but it risks ignoring deep-seated trends in Egypt that, if neglected in the coming political transition, will only boil over again. Specifically, Egypt suffers from a stagnant economy and it should not be surprising that a lack of economic opportunity contributed to ...
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Monday, February 14, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Egypt Plans Stimulus to Revive ?Sudden Stop? Economy

Source: Bloomberg

Ashraf Abdel-Wanis had plenty of reasons to join tens of thousands of fellow Egyptians in their successful push to oust President Hosni Mubarak. At 39, he last worked five years ago in a sugar factory and now gets by mainly on his wife's $50 monthly salary and his mother's pension. "The Egyptian family's nutrition consists of beans, lentils and beans," he said in an interview in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the plaza at the heart of almost three weeks of protests. "If they'...
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Monday, January 31, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Citi, Citi Foundation join hands with PMN

Source: Daily Times

KARACHI: Citi and the Citi Foundation have joined hands with the Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) to launch Phase II of their flood relief efforts. Citi, the Citi Foundation and Citi Alumni have contributed over $425,000 toward the recent flooding disaster in the country. As part of Citi Pakistan's Phase II of flood relief efforts, they have launched a 'Microfinance and Disaster Management Capacity Building Programme' for the microfinance industry with the PMN. Through these pr...
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Monday, January 24, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Islamic Micro Lenders Set Up Global Network


LAHORE: Islamic Microfinance Network (IMFN) has been set up to assemble the international Islamic Microfinance organisations on one platform, a statement said. The IMFN head office is in Lahore and its regional offices will be in Ghana, Mauritius and Middle East. According to IMFN official the board members of IMFN are Farida Tariq, Chairperson, Amjad Saqib, Vice Chairman, and Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer. Kawako Yasuma, CEO, Ghana Islami...
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Combating Poverty With Clean Energy

Source: IDN-InDepthNews

ABU DHABI (IDN) - Fighting poverty by promoting sustainable development and mitigating climate change is one of the priorities of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for 2011. With this is view, he is calling for a global revolution that would benefit some 1.6 billion people in developing countries still lacking access to electricity. Addressing the Fourth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on January 17, Ban said: "Our challenge is transformation. We need ...
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Thursday, November 4, 2010 — North Africa and Near East

IFC to Push Yemen Microfinance

Source: Reuters

DUBAI, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The World Bank is increasingly focusing on microfinance and small business loans in Yemen as the spike in violence this year is making it hard to find viable projects for investment, a senior official told Reuters. International donors are finding it harder to locate investment projects in the impoverished Arab state, crippling its efforts to diversify its economy away from hydrocarnons, said Raymond Conway, who represents Yemen at the International Finance Corp...
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Monday, May 10, 2010 — North Africa and Near East

Islamic Microfinance - Best Tool for Poverty Eradication

Source: Arab News

Islamic microfinance is a nascent industry. It has spurred very few studies and fewer experiments so far. However, it has demonstrated huge potential both in terms of fighting poverty and drawing more clients mainly in developing countries. The interest-free Islamic microfinance can be defined as provision of financial services to those people who are denied access to the financial market. It empowers people who can carry out p...
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010 — North Africa and Near East

World Bank Loans $300m to Egypt to Promote Finance for Small and Medium Enterprise

Source: The Financial

The World Bank 's Board of Executive Directors on March 9 approved a $300 million loan to support access to finance for small and micro entrepreneurs whose role is vital in Egypt's job creation and economic growth. "The Enhancing Access to Finance for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Project will...
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Friday, March 12, 2010 — North Africa and Near East

World Bank Supports Micro and Small Enterprises in Egypt

Source: My News

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved a $300 million loan to support access to finance for small and micro entrepreneurs whose role is vital in Egypt's job creation and economic growth. The Enhancing Access to Finance for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Project will support the government's priority program to encourage the sustainable expansion of this sector. It is estimated to account for over 99 percent of Egyptian enterprises, 85 percent of non-...
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010 — North Africa and Near East

Damascus Turns to Microfinance to Combat Poverty

Source: Business Today Egypt

A regional front-runner in microfinance legislation, Syria is still struggling to find a sustainable model to finance its rural poor. Currently, NGOs geared toward poverty alleviation dominate Syria's microcredit market, but further expansion of their role is inhibited by outdated government regulation. The entry of more private players is needed to increase market competition ...
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010 — North Africa and Near East

Women on the West Bank Fight Poverty with Enterprise

Source: SOS Children

Nearly a year after the war in Gaza, women in the West Bank are overcoming poverty by running their own co-operatives. With help and funding from several aid agencies, women have been able to set up their own small businesses providing training and marketing assistance...
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009 — North Africa and Near East

Abraaj Capital to Buy Riyada Ventures, Focus on SME investments

Source: AltAssets

Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital has agreed to acquire all of Riyada Ventures as it moves into the venture capital space. Riyada Ventures, which was set up in the Jordanian capital of Amman in 2005, will be integrated by Abraaj into its newly launched regional SME and entrepreneurship initiative. Khaldoon Tabaza will continue as the CEO of the new business line of Abraaj. Tabaza has worked in the MENA venture capital industry since 2000, p...
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 — North Africa and Near East

Citadel eyeing slice of $2.3trn market

Source: Business 24/7

With the global economy turning on its head in the past year, private sector investors have the unprecedented opportunity to participate in a rapidly growing consumer market comprising the world's 3.7 billion limited-income earners. "The billions of individuals who claim the smallest pool of the world's wealth represent, collectively, a rapidly-growing consumer market, an underutilised productive sector, and vast entrepreneurial energy," said Hisham El Khazindar, Co-Founde...
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Thursday, June 11, 2009 — North Africa and Near East

Bottom line for Palestinian entrepreneurs: Reinvent the economy

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Ramallah, West Bank - Under pressure from visiting US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, Israeli cabinet ministers mulled easing a siege on the Gaza Strip that was designed to weaken Hamas. Amid US-Israeli disagreement over the Gaza blockade, West Bank settlements, and other issues involved in restarting the peace process, there is one point both sides agree on: The promises to boost the Palestinian economy during the recent round of talks stretching the final ...
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009 — North Africa and Near East

World's 3.7 billion limited-income earners represent rapidly-growing consumer market

Source: Eye of Dubai

Private-sector leaders in the world’s emerging markets have compelling opportunities to invest in businesses that improve life for large swaths of the population, said Hisham El-Khazindar, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Citadel Capital, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading private equity firm . El Khazindar was addressing high profile Arab businessmen and decision makers at a Harvard University Arab Alumni Association panel that discussed subjects relat...
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Friday, June 9, 2006 — North Africa and Near East


KUWAIT: For the world's poor getting a loan to start up a business is almost impossible, because of the strict rules most banks follow including the necessity to borrow against collateral. However, microfinancing - though not a totally new financing concept - is growing more popular now that it helps the poor and yet manages to get a bit of cash for the lenders. Microfinance can be defined as the provision of comprehensive financial services to micro-entrepreneurs. Still, the i...
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Thursday, March 2, 2006 — North Africa and Near East

Base of the Pyramid: Sustainable Business from the Bottom up


Martin Fisher and Upendra Bhatt are two of the most important people you've never heard of. And that's fine by them. They would rather be popular among poor Kenyans and Indians than featured in the Western press. What do they do that's so important? They are social entrepreneurs: Fisher's KickStart and Bhatt's Aavishkaar harness the poor's ingenuity and entrepreneurship to build profitable businesses serving basic needs; from efficient irrigation and kerosene stoves to I...
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Wednesday, December 7, 2005 — North Africa and Near East

AMD Intros Minicom PIC to Turkey

Source: The Inquirer (UK)

The cheap box that AMD hopes will allow more people to surf the web was introduced in Turkey today by Dogan Online. AMD said that only nine per cent of people in Turkey have net access. The box Dogan is pushing is bundled with Internet services from, which is a division of the firm and will be sold through micro financing programmes. It will be sold at 19.95 Turkish New Lire ($14.72) a month. In old Turkish Liras that's 19,993,625....
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Wednesday, December 7, 2005 — North Africa and Near East

IFC's Partnership With CAWTAR Strengthens Research on Women's Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region

Source: IFC (Washington, DC) PRESS RELEASE

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tunis-based Center of Arab Women for Training and Research to promote research on women's entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa. This project will help meet demand from development institutions and women's organizations for more research on the importance of women's entrepreneurship for private sector development. It will ...
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 — North Africa and Near East

Nokia and Grameen Foundation USA Join Forces to Bring Affordable Telecommunications to Rural Village

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Nokia and Grameen Foundation USA today announced a collaboration to bring affordable, accessible telecommunications to rural villages in Africa through microfinance. This collaboration builds on GFUSA's global Village Phone initiative that helps people living in rural areas start self-sustaining businesses while providing affordable telecommunications to their communities. Access to affordable and reliable telecommunications services is a lifeline for rural communities and a crit...
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005 — North Africa and Near East

A responsible profit from the war on malaria

Source: Financial Times

?Business is for profit, and profit is for a purpose,? he says. ?This makes business sustainable and profit responsible.? When he was 19, Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen left school, went hitchhiking and wound up in Cairo, where he met a couple of Nigerian wheeler dealers. They told him about some ?easy business? importing trucks, but he eventually decided he would be better off without partners. ...
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Wednesday, August 31, 2005 — North Africa and Near East

Housing Microfinance 'To Take Off in Africa'

Source: Business Day

The trend of providing microloans to poor people to buy houses is likely to rocket in the next few years as an alternative to conventional bank mortgages, says low-income finance expert David Porteous . While delegates to the African Microfinance Conference in Cape Town agreed that housing microfinance was gaining ground across Africa, commitments by the large South African banks could provide a fresh twist to this tale. Un...
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