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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, September 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion: Ecobank, MasterCard Enter New Card Deal

Source: Ventures Africa

Sequel to a multi-country licensing agreement made between MasterCard and Ecobank in January, both institutions have signed another deal that will see the use of MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards at Ecobank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in 28 African countries.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 — Latin America

Coca-Cola Life Markets As 'Healthy Coke' In South America: Is It Really Better For You?

Source: Latin Times

Coca-Cola Co. is introducing Coca-Cola Life -- a mid-calorie cola that was released in Argentina and Chile last year -- to the Mexican market in September. Each 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola life contains half the calories of a regular Coke, with 64 calories and 16 grams of sugar. According to the Wall Street Journal, the product has tested well (in both flavor and concept) with Mexicans.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

Unilever: In search of the good business

Source: The Economist

SLEEPING in the open on top of his mansion was a nightly routine for William Lever, founder of what is now Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods giant. When Paul Polman became chief executive of the soap-to-ice-cream-maker in 2009 (joining from a Swiss rival, Nestlé), the Dutchman spent a night in Lever’s rooftop bed as part of a total immersion in the history of his new firm. It helped persuade him, a year later, to launch a “Sustainable Living Plan”, the name for his attempt to make Unilever the pre-eminent example of how to do capitalism responsibly, just as it had once been under Lever.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen and Dow Chemical Advance Technical Assistance Initiative to Support Social Enterprises Across Africa

Source: Press Release

Acumen, with support from Dow, Unilever and Barclays hosts their second annual Technical Assistance (TA) Initiative Summit from May 5-7 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Summit is the second gathering in support of Acumen’s TA Initiative aimed at accelerating the development and distribution of crucial products and services in agriculture, water, sanitation and energy across East and West Africa.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Opportunity International & The MasterCard Foundation Plan To Help 7M Out of Poverty With $22.7M Partnership

Source: Forbes

Opportunity International is a non-profit microfinance organization established in 1971. Over the last 42 years OI has provided $6 billion in microfinance loans and has reached over 5 million clients in 22 countries. In 2009, The MasterCard MA -1.08% Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with OI and co-funded a $16 million project to expand access to saving accounts and agricultural loans in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

MasterCard prepares for African growth

Source: Business Report

MasterCard was eyeing a slice of the expected exponential growth from the emerging African market in coming years, particularly as mobile payments surged, Aaron Oliver, the head of emerging payments in the Middle East and Africa for the multinational firm, said yesterday.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

AmEx Pushes Tech to Bank the Unbanked

Source: FinExtra

America's unbanked and underbanked spent $78 billion on fees and interest in 2011; $30 billion in overdraft fees. Meanwhile, 93% of branch closures over the last five years have been in low-income neighbourhoods.
Thursday, January 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Efforts to Advance Financial Inclusion of Children and Youth Get Boost

Source: The Financial

MasterCard and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) announced a global strategic partnership aimed at advancing financial capabilities of children and youth, according to MasterCard
Friday, January 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ecobank, MasterCard Seal Deal on Financial Inclusion

Source: This Day Live

MasterCard Worldwide Wednesday sealed a landmark deal with Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), which will see 60 per cent of Africa’s population have access to financial services.
Thursday, January 09, 2014 — No Region Specified

Opinion: Business can do what governments can't - solve the world's biggest problems

Source: The Guardian

Only multinational corporations have the resources to solve the world's most daunting problems
Tuesday, January 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Deutsche Bank Reaches $100 Million Commitment Target for its Client-Centric Microfinance Fund

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deutsche Bank announced today it has reached the USD 100 million commitment target for Global Commercial Microfinance Consortium II ("Consortium II"), a first-ever fund to support the growth of microfinance institutions ("MFIs") that pursue a high level of client care, transparency of operations and pricing, and product innovation.
Friday, December 20, 2013 — No Region Specified

Why won't corporations invest in socially conscious startups?

Source: The Guardian

Though social impact investing is a growing asset class, corporations aren't buying into the promise of sustainability – yet.
Friday, December 20, 2013 — No Region Specified

MasterCard takes controlling stake in mobile remittance service

Source: Banking Technology

MasterCard has teamed up with mobile payment solutions provider eServGlobal and Belgacom’s carrier services unit BICS to extend the capabilities of their international mobile remittance platform HomeSend. The three firms have set up a joint venture which uses the HomeSend platform, in which MasterCard will have a controlling share.
Monday, December 16, 2013 — No Region Specified

Microlender Kiva gets $3M grant from Google; Aims to tackle microfinance 2.0

Source: Forbes

Late last week Google’s philanthropic arm announced it had chosen to give online microlender Kiva a Global Impact Award, which comes with a grant of $3 million.
Thursday, December 05, 2013 — No Region Specified

USAID chief meets corporate leaders at the White House

Source: Devex

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah met corporate leaders — including the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Mike Duke: Unilever, Paul Polman; and Nestlé, Paul Bulcke — at the White House on Wednesday to discuss supply chain management within the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

What General Electric's Big Bet On Crowdfunding Looks Like

Source: Seeking Alpha

If you're closely watching the developing situation around crowdfunding, one of the themes you start to see is that expertise matters - and therefore the whole crusade to provide a platform for funding but little else may need to be reevaluated. Because investors that only provide capital and not industry knowledge and contacts are shortchanging the entrepreneur.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Coke, pressed by Oxfam, pledges zero tolerance for land grabs in sugar supply chain

Source: Washington Post

Coca-Cola has agreed to review its top sugar suppliers to ensure that the company does not buy from large plantations that were assembled using “land-grab” tactics that evict small farmers or local residents, the company announced this week.
Friday, October 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Coca-Cola, Partners Team up to Solve Major Global Problem

Source: The Motley Fool

Coca-Cola recently announced a cross-industry collaboration to deliver safe drinking water to global communities that struggle to access this most basic resource. A partnership with Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies, IBM, and NRG Energy, among others, the new EKOCENTER partnership will provide a fundamental necessity to rural communities around the world. That's great for people, but is it any good for business?
Friday, September 27, 2013 — No Region Specified

E-Bay to buy Braintree to boost PayPal's mobile presence

Source: Reuters

EBay Inc. will buy payments service Braintree Payments Solutions LLC for $800 million in cash, making a big bet to secure the pole position in the race to get consumers to pay for goods and services on smartphones.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Western Union expands mobile transfer network

Source: Mobile Payments Today

An old-line American cash-based money transfer operator is expanding its channel offerings and embracing mobile in a big way.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 — South Asia

BASF to develop 'base of pyramid' products at India R&D unit

Source: DNA

At a time when foreign investors are shunning India due to uncertain economic scenario, BASF, world’s biggest chemical company, is still bullish on the country. The company is setting up its research and development (R&D) hub in the country to develop products for lower income segments as well as emerging middle class, or the ‘base of pyramid’. It sees a market potential of of 100 million euros, or Rs 850 crore, by 2020 for the products developed at the R&D hub.
Monday, August 19, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

SC Johnson and Partners Help Rwanda Pyrethrum Farmers Boost Incomes, Build Sustainable Supply

Source: Press Release

SC Johnson, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture announced the Rwanda Pyrethrum Program, a Global Development Alliance (GDA) public-private partnership designed to help Rwanda pyrethrum farmers boost incomes while creating an environmentally and economically sustainable raw materials source. The three-year extension of the initial 28-month program focuses on increasing both production and quality of pyrethrum and on strengthening and expanding the capacity of the cooperative organizations that the farmers rely on to market their crops.
Monday, June 10, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Google's Next Cloud Product: Google Blimps To Bring Wireless Internet to Africa

Source: Forbes

Not content with offering super-fast broadband in Austin and Kansas City, Google has plans to use blimps to deliver wide-area wireless internet connectivity in Africa and other emerging markets, according to reports in the the Wall Street Journal and a post on Google’s Africa blog.
Monday, May 06, 2013 — South Asia

Unilever Wagers Billions on India Economic Revival

Source: Bloomberg

In 1888, when Queen Victoria ruled India, the company that would become Unilever (UNA) decided the country was the future. More than a century on, it’s staking $5.4 billion that it still is. The Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove shampoo and Lipton tea, successor to one of the first multinationals in India, plans to spend as much as 292 billion rupees ($5.4 billion) to increase its control over Indian unit Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUVR)
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Coca-Cola turns to solar energy to increase sales

Source: Business Day

Coca-Cola has turned to solar energy to consolidate its market share and boost sales through provision of subsidised solar kits to soda kiosks in order to extend their operating hours. Speaking Wednesday during the launch of a partnership with energy solutions provider, One Degree Solar, Managing Director Nairobi Bottlers Patrick Pech said the project will go a long way in helping retailers and kiosk owners extend their operating hours, reduce operating costs and enable them record higher sales.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 — No Region Specified

Glaxo Starts India Venture to Develop Emerging Market Vaccines

Source: Bloomberg.com

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) agreed to form a joint venture in India to produce a six-in-one vaccine that will immunize children in developing countries against infectious diseases including polio.
Monday, January 21, 2013 — No Region Specified

Early lessons from Walmart’s sourcing from women entrepreneurs

Source: Devex

When it comes to making the case for empowering women entrepreneurs, it’s “mission accomplished,” according to Isobel Coleman, director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy Program, who has researched the issue for many years. Speaking at a December 2012 panel on supply chains, she said most development experts now agree that including women entrepreneurs in global supply chains is “one of the great levers of change” and that “putting more money in the hands of women entrepreneurs” leads to positive outcomes for families, communities and nations. The only question now, she said, is how to accomplish the task.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 — South Asia

Panasonic lanterns 'to regain market'

Source: BDNews24

Osaka, Dec 10 (bdnews24.com) – Electronics giant Panasonic will launch solar lanterns for un-electrified areas in developing countries by early next year as it shifts its businesses to eco-technologies to bring back the losing markets by 2018, its 100th anniversary.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

AfDB, Citi and IFC Enter New Agreement to Support Trade Finance in Africa

Source: Citi Press Release

London - October 4, 2012 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Citi and International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, have agreed to provide a $175 million thre-year revolving credit facility covering short-term trades for exporters and importers in Africa. This agreement builds on the success of a previous similar program launched in 2010 to help boost economic growth in the region.
Friday, September 28, 2012 — South Asia

Unilever takes HUL strategies like small packs, cheaper variants to developed markets

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: During a 2009 India visit, Paul Polman, CEO of Anglo-Dutch consumer goods major Unilever, couldn't conceal his delight with the Indian subsidiary's strategy of offering brands with multiple price and packaging options, helping consumers trade down or up depending on the state of the economy.
Thursday, September 06, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How door-to-door business can empower rather than repress women

Source: The Guardian

It's easy to criticise business for expanding into developing countries. But if it helps poor and isolated women, is it all bad?
Friday, August 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A continent goes shopping

Source: The Economist

AFRICAN consumers are underserved and overcharged, reckons Frank Braeken, Unilever’s boss in Africa. Until recently, South Africans who craved shampoo made specially for African hair, or cosmetics for black skin, had little choice besides costly American imports. Unilever spotted an opportunity: its Motions range of shampoos and conditioners is now a hit.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 — Asia Pacific

TISS, DBS Bank tie-up to support social entrepreneurship

Source: First Post

Singapore-based DBS Bank and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) joined hands to launch a programme which will support social entrepreneurship.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley and Other Banks Get Serious About Sustainable Investing

Source: Institutional Investor

NO ONE CAN ACCUSE MORGAN STANLEY OF MERELY flirting with sustainable investment products. The April launch of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Investing with Impact Platform and a similarly named firmwide initiative make it one of a handful of banks to institutionalize socially responsible investing.
Thursday, June 14, 2012 — No Region Specified

USAID and Citi partnering to bring mobile money to world's unbanked

Source: Mobile Payments Today

The U.S. Agency for International Development, tasked with the administration and distribution of international aid from the U.S. government, announced it is forming a new partnership with Citi. The partnership is aimed at providing financial inclusion for the world's un- and underbanked by encouraging "mobile money" technology in developing countries. It was announced at the USAID Frontiers in Development forum held at Georgetown University.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 — No Region Specified

Dell awards $50,000 to top student social innovator, Apl.de.ap rocks the Moody Theater

Source: Cuture Map Austin

Entrepreneurship is the answer to almost every single problem we have in the world today. So says Daniel Epstein, founder of the Unreasonable Institute, as he spoke in front of the crowd of 200-plus gathered at the Moody Theater Tuesday night for the Dell Social Innovation Challenge awards.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley offers impact investing for masses

Source: Market Watch

By launching your Investing with Impact Platform, you can change the world — literally.
Friday, April 27, 2012 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley Offering Advisors Sustainable Investing Platform

Source: Financial Advisor

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is launching a platform for its financial advisors to offer clients investments with positive social and environmental impact in what appears to be a major push to offer sustainable investing to mainstream investors. Although many broker-dealers allow their advisors to offer sustainable investments to retail clients, few have specific advisor platforms for that purpose. MSSB made an announcement today about the new platform at the U.S. State Department-sponsored Global Impact Economy Forum.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 — No Region Specified

Get an MBA, Save the World

Source: Foreign Policy

If you want to work in international development, go work for a big, bad multinational company.
Monday, April 02, 2012 — South Asia

Asian Innovation: Frugal Ideas Are Spreading from East to West

Source: The Economist

Multinationals are beginning to take ideas developed in (and for) the emerging world and deploy them in the West.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 — South Asia

The New Rules of BoP Marketing

Source: Forbes India

About three years ago, PepsiCo drew up a new blueprint for long-term growth in India. It spoke of the need for significantly widening reach, aiming for the new consuming class across urban and rural India — and more importantly, creating a whole new set of locally developed products for the masses.
Friday, October 28, 2011 — No Region Specified

Big Pharma Giving Away Drug Patents to Help Cure Tropical Disease

Source: Fast Company

Intellectual property is crucial for pharmaceutical companies to survive; without it, their pricey blockbuster drugs can be replaced with cheap generics. And yet, big companies like AstraZeneca, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Sanofi, and Merck are willingly putting some of their intellectual property information in a public database . The pharmaceutical industry hasn't gone crazy--it's just participating in an in...
Monday, October 17, 2011 — No Region Specified

Inefficient Developing World Stoves Contribute to 2 Million Deaths a Year

Source: ScienceDaily

An international effort to replace smoky, inefficient household stoves that people commonly use in lower and middle income countries with clean, affordable, fuel efficient stoves could save nearly 2 million lives each year, according to experts from the National Institutes of Health. In a commentary in Science , the NIH scientists noted that indoor air pollution from such inefficient stoves affects about 3 billion people -- nearly half the world's population. In addition to ...
Friday, August 26, 2011 — Latin America

How a Pharmaceutical Giant is Battling Malnutrition on the Ground in Haiti

Source: Fast Company

All too often, corporate philanthropy involves dropping a wad of money on organizations that are doing work on an issue that the corporation "cares" about, and then saying goodbye. But sometimes, corporations actually bring their know-how and human capital to bear on a problem, in addition to just giving money. The global pharmaceutical company Abbott is taking the second path, focusing on long-lasting initiatives that can grow local economies in struggling areas. Case in point: Abbott's ...
Thursday, August 04, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Miniature Lab Can Diagnose Disease in the Field

Source: Guardian.co.uk

People who live in the poorest and remotest parts of the developing world often have their lives cut short by disease -- preventable or curable disease. The first essential step to fighting these diseases is correctly identifying them. But in the developing world, disease detection is often prohibitively expensive. In a brilliant cross-pollination of engineering, physics and ...
Thursday, February 10, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'Best Chance' to End Polio - Bill Gates Promotes Vaccines and Food Programs to Attack Poverty

Source: allAfrica.com

Washington, DC - The likelihood that few African countries will meet any of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, aimed at reducing severe poverty by 2015, has prompted a spate of studies, books and debates that examine development assistance. Many argue that aid, in general, has done more harm than good. Since leaving an operational role at Microsoft in 2008, Bill Gates has devoted full time to the premise that international assistance, sp...
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