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
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.
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.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

Bangladesh Introduces Cash Incentive for Poor Pregnant Women and Children


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:
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.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — South Asia

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

Source: Ennovent

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

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.
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.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

3 Ways to Fight Financial Exclusion

Source: World Economic Forum

Inclusion is one of the hottest development topics of 2015. Being excluded, financially or socially, perpetuates unemployment, inequality and poverty. With 1.8 billion young people in the world, and this number growing most rapidly in the countries with the highest rates of exclusion, we can’t afford to hesitate in addressing this problem.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

5 Things You Didn't Know About Philanthropy

Source: Huffington Post

One of the greatest challenges for philanthropy today is the very term itself --philanthropy.
Thursday, February 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

51 Breakthrough Technologies to Defeat Poverty

Source: Fast Company

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

Whole Foods Market Launches Campaign to Fight Global Poverty Through Microcredit

Source: Investor's Business Daily

Whole Planet Foundation is kicking off its 2015 Prosperity Campaign at Whole Foods Market with the goal of raising $5 million for microlending programs worldwide—enough to help 135,000 people lift themselves out of poverty and start a new life.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Impact Investors Can Learn From Microfinance

Source: Devex

What has microfinance achieved for the world’s poor? Estimates vary widely, but 300 million people are estimated to be direct beneficiaries of the microcredit movement, and more than $68 billion may be currently invested in the industry, according to a 2010 estimate from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, a unit of theWorld Bank.
Monday, February 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

Platforms, Not Products, Are the Way to Bring Financial Services to the Poor

Source: Quartz

In recent years, the banking and finance industries have not done a lot to earn the trust of consumers in the West. But in poor countries, basic financial services can be transformative.
Monday, February 9, 2015 — Latin America

Study to Offer Microloans to Tijuana Sex Workers

Source: U-T San Diego

A study that looks at links between poverty and high-risk behavior among Tijuana sex workers will offer loans to a group of 60 women this year. The dollar amount is small— initially about $200 per participant — and the researchers hope that the women will use the money to launch small businesses and find an additional source of income.
Monday, February 9, 2015 — South Asia

Time For Indo-US Collaboration in Social Impact Investing: A 5-Point Agenda

Source: The Huffington Post

With President Obama concluding a successful visit to Delhi, the Indo-US bilateral agenda is now poised to move ahead on nuclear and renewable energy, defence collaboration, trade and investment and several other important issues. However, we at Asha Impact, a social investing and public policy organisation, believe one major issue was not explicitly addressed, both in the official dialogue and the extensive media coverage. An issue that both countries can seize upon to effectively leverage the convergence between India's overriding objective of inclusive growth and the United States' strategic interest in seeing India succeed in its development path.
Monday, February 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

BlackRock to Ramp Up Impact Investing

Source: Reuters

BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) is planning an array of new investment products that will allow clients to invest in addressing large societal issues, such as global hunger or poverty, an executive at the New York-based firm said.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 — Latin America

IDB to support BoP families in the Dominican Republic with access to credit for home improvements

Source: Inter-American Development Bank

Loan of up to $5 million has mobilized an additional $5 million through a B-loan syndication.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Can Mobile Banking Revolutionize the Live of the Poor?

Source: The Verge

In the village of Sori along the banks of Kenya’s Lake Victoria, fishing has long been the lynchpin of the local economy. Jobs here are largely divided by gender: men catch the fish, and the women process the meat, take it to market, and handle finances.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 — No Region Specified

Governments hold key to unlocking billions for social good - G8 report

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Governments can unleash billions of dollars to tackle social problems more effectively if they take bold steps to reduce barriers to investing for both profit and social good, a task force set up by the world's richest nations said on Monday.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

African Development Bank promises Kenya $500 million loan for infrastructure projects

Source: Standard Digital

African Development Bank (AfDB) will loan Kenya Sh45 billion ($500m) this year to finance major infrastructure projects in the country.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — South Asia

How One Man Brought Health Care to India's Poorest Populations

Source: Entrepreneur

Shelley Saxena, a mobile technology entrepreneur in Atlanta, had a head start when he launched Sevamob, a distribution system for low-cost preventive health services across India. But that didn’t save him from having to make a few strategic pivots as his new business grew.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: The Aspen Institute Appoints Ida Rademacher as New Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security

Source: PR Newswire

The Aspen Institute is pleased to announce today that Ida Rademacher has joined the Institute as the new Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security, effective immediately. In this role, Rademacher will lead the Initiative into a new phase of engagement with leaders from the financial services, government, and independent sectors to explore how the rapidly evolving financial system and public policies can work together to improve the financial security and financial well-being of all Americans. Rademacher's work will expand the Initiative on Financial Security's efforts to bring to the national forefront a solutions-focused discussion of how America can address growing wealth inequality and household financial insecurity.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

'We Don't Think Charity Is the Way to Resolve Global Inequality' Says Oxfam International Boss

Source: The Independent

The James Ashton Interview: The executive director of Oxfam International, was in Davos last week campaigning to close the huge gap between the world’s haves and have-nots.
Monday, January 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Brandee McHale Named President of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship for Citi

Source: Market Watch

Today, Citi announced that Brandee McHale has been appointed President of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship for Citi, effective February 1st. Ms. McHale will succeed Pamela Flaherty, who is retiring at the end of January after 46 years with Citi. Ed Skyler will remain Chairman of the Citi Foundation.
Thursday, January 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Microcredit Does Not Live Up to Promise of Transforming Lives of the Poor, Six Studies Show

Source: Innovations for Poverty Action

Microcredit—providing small loans to underserved entrepreneurs—has been both celebrated and vilified as a development tool. Six new studies from four continents bring rigorous evidence to this debate, finding that while microcredit has some benefits, it is not a viable poverty alleviation tool.
Thursday, January 15, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Helios Investment Partners raises US $1 billion African investment fund

Source: Disrupt Africa

Pan-African private investment firm Helios Investment Partners has raised over US$1 billion for a third Africa-focused fund, with the firm claiming the fund is the largest in existence dedicated to African private equity.
Thursday, January 8, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Dirty Money and Development

Source: Live Mint

Dirty money—MNCs’ undeclared profits, the proceeds of corruption, etc.—can play a large role in ending poverty.
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — South Asia

Myanmar anticipating a leap-frog in development through financial inclusion

Source: OECD Insights

An overview of the Financial Access Landscape and the usage of financial services by consumers in Myanmar.
Thursday, December 18, 2014 — South Asia

World Bank commits over $1 billion to Bangladesh

Source: Dhaka Tribune

The fund would benefit almost 36 million people by improving the quality of primary education, building coastal communities’ resilience to natural disaster, and increasing the nutrition and cognitive development of children.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — South Asia

75% of Jan Dhan accounts empty: Indian financial inclusion scheme may be missing its objective

Source: First Biz

Initial indications from the data on Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) are that the grand financial inclusion scheme of the Narendra Modi government has failed to achieve its original objective - to encourage the country's vast unbanked poor population to use bank accounts for cash transactions.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — South Asia

India Post keen to become a universal bank

Source: Economic Times

India Post is interested in turning itself into a universal bank like many of its peers across the world and a committee under former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian is looking into the matter, a senior department official said today.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Accion and MasterCard Foundation Partner to Strengthen Board Governance in Africa

Source: PR Newswire

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion today announced a $6.1 millionpartnership with The MasterCard Foundation to launch the Accion Africa Board Fellowship program.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Trillion-Sensor Vision, Results Shared

Source: EE Times

UCSD researchers show latest efforts
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

3-D Printed Plastic Could Replace Not-Very-Good Corrugated Iron Roofs In The Developing World

Source: Fast CoExist

The modular system might an ideal alternative for the rusty, non-insulated roofs that are pervasive in poorer countries.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ten global organizations join MIT D-Lab's Practical Impact Alliance

Source: MIT News

Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and others sign on to the Practical Impact Alliance, a collaborative initiative aiming to scale poverty solutions worldwide.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: For-profit health care: Eliminate, tolerate or stimulate?

Source: Devex

Search online for the role of for-profit organizations in health care and you’ll find millions of results, including an abundance of studies, conferences and discussions among providers, advocates and various other actors. It’s an important debate about a complex issue — one that remains largely unresolved in countries around the globe.
Monday, October 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

Development Finance Institutions Come of Age

Source: Forbes

In a world where private enterprise drives jobs and prosperity, DFIs expand the frontiers of what is viewed as a profitable investment opportunity around the world.
Monday, October 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: How Pay-for-Success Funding Might Help Low-Income Students

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Policy makers, college administrators, and parents are all searching for ways to help needy students graduate. But one option is missing from the debate: pay-for-success financing.
Friday, October 3, 2014 — South Asia

Philanthropic capital should be invested more strategically for poverty alleviation: Country Director, Acumen Pakistan

Source: Business Recorder

Farrukh H Khan is the Country Director & CEO of Acumen Pakistan and one of the leading independent business and financial advisors in the country.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

Indian MFIs demand more incentives for working as business correspondents

Source: Business Standard

According to survey by microfinance institution network (MFIN), published in February this year, nine out of 14 MFIs closed their operation as BCs in the recent past.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

India's Welcome Reform Of Its Ghastly Food Aid Program

Source: Forbes

India is making essential changes to the way that it operates its food aid program for the poor.
Friday, August 8, 2014 — South Asia

India has big plans for healthcare and pharma

Source: PM Live

The rumblings of an Indian healthcare earthquake have been gathering pace for some years but the arrival of a new government with a mandate of progressive reform promises to make the earth move for pharma.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

PEPFAR and CIFF Launch $200 million Accelerating Children's HIV/AIDS Treatment Initiative (ACT) to Save Lives

Source: PEPFAR

Today, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), launched Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT).
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank Group Commits US$ 5 Billion to Boost Electricity Generation in Six African Countries

Source: World Bank

The World Bank Group today committed $5 billion in new technical and financial support for energy projects in six African countries-- Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania—which have partnered with President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

Red Cross experiments with a very different money remittance approach

Source: PYMNTS

When Red Cross workers are helping with disaster relief in the middle of war-torn areas or natural disasters, the last thing they need to deal with are money-transfer headaches to secure critical supplies and services.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How other countries are scrambling for Africa alongside the U.S.

Source: The Washington Post

This week in Washington, dozens of African heads of state are converging for a landmark series of meetings with U.S. officials and businesses.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: New World Bank safeguards are pushing more money out the door at the expense of the poor

Source: Devex

Last week, the World Bank released a draft of its proposed new environmental and social safeguards.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurs Need to Think Beyond the Business

Source: Huffington Post

In the past few years, the social enterprise space has evolved rapidly from a concept that required explanation to a trend everyone is eager to join.
Monday, August 4, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Obama's Africa legacy moment?

Source: Devex

U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to three African countries last summer might have been dubbed the “trade not aid” tour.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial market urged to target youth savings business

Source: Ghana Web

A global poverty alleviation group has come up with suggestions on how financial services providers in developing countries can tap into the huge youth savings market.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banking For The Poor: Will This Be Bill Gates' Greatest Philanthropic Achievement?

Source: Forbes

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has given away more than $28 billion, comfortably making him the world’s greatest living philanthropist.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: New Report on Integrated Health and Microfinance in India Shows the Way Forward

Source: Digital Journal

On July 29, 2014, Freedom from Hunger, the Microcredit Summit Campaign, and the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar released a new report titled "Integrated Health and Microfinance in India, Volume II: The Way Forward." The report was released in advance of the South Asia Conference on Policies and Practices to Improve Nutrition Security in New Delhi, India.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: The paradox that is Indian healthcare

Source: The Hindu Business Line

The best and the worst of facilities exist cheek by jowl. This glaring contradiction needs to be addressed
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

5 ways to deliver nutrition through cash crop standards

Source: Devex

Nutrition security is an essential part of improving farmer livelihoods.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Sweden resumes aid to Uganda after suspending it over anti-gay law

Source: Reuters

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Sweden has resumed financial aid to Uganda after suspending some assistance in March over a law widely condemned by donor nations that increases punishment for homosexuals.
Monday, July 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Skoll Centre Venture Award winners: Tree-planting Quad-Copters and Farmers’ Transport Logistics

Source: Skoll Centre

Two new social ventures with founding teams from the University of Oxford have been chosen to receive this year’s Skoll Centre Venture Awards. The winners are Biocarbon Engineering, focusing on replanting one billion trees annually through the use of quad-copter technology, and Linkage, which aims to help smallholder farmers in Kenya to improve their selling practises and supply chain using an Uber-like logistics and transport system.
Friday, July 25, 2014 — South Asia

Challenges lying ahead for impact investing

Source: Economic Times India

Having started as an impetus for microfinance nearly a decade ago, impact investing today influences a wide array of sectors and supports innovative business models.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — No Region Specified

Nearing A Deadline, Is The World Going To Meet The Millennium Development Goals?

Source: Fast CoExist

The latest UN appraisal shows progress, but in some areas, such as child mortality and biodiversity loss, we're falling short.
Friday, July 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

What if everything we know about poor countries' economies is totally wrong?

Source: Vox Media

As China and India continue their fairly rapid paces of economic growth, a greater and greater share of extreme poverty is going to be concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. But if we're going to make progress there, we need to have good numbers about how various economies are faring, how income is distributed within them, and so forth.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 — South Asia

Setting a High Bar for Poverty in India

Source: The New York Times

NEW DELHI — It is not uncommon for Indians to stand in a line to receive alms from a politician as he gives away clothes, pots and laptops that would make Apple laugh. This is a custom that has survived from a time when the theater of charity was enough to make the poor feel grateful. But they have since come to regard such alms as political buffoonery and now expect substantial assistance from the government.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania: Missing Link Between Economic Growth, Poverty Reduction

Source: AllAfrica

THE much celebrated economic growth in Tanzania and other African countries that are said to make good progress can only have a meaning if there will be myriad poverty alleviation indicators.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — South Asia

Five Questions For Professor Jagdish Bhagwati On The Indian Economy And Prime Minister Modi's Next Steps

Source: Forbes

Jagdish Bhagwati, university professor at Columbia University and senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, has been described as the most creative international trade theorist of his generation. He has been a leader in the fight for freer trade for decades.
Monday, May 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Chamber speaker champions Yunus investing model to ease social problems

Source: Palm Beach Daily News

Muhammad Yunus has devoted himself to aiding the impoverished. The Bangladeshi economist, known as the father of microcredit and microfinance, continues to search for remedies to the economic woes of Third World nations. The microfinance and microcredit concepts that he pioneered in the 1970s have since moved 20 million families in his native country out of poverty and earned him a Nobel Prize in 2006.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION via Tony O. Elumelu: CSR as an anti-poverty instrument

Source: The Hindu Business Line

In 2000, the United Nations made the historic announcement of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They were very specific and had a timeline of 15 years for delivery. Progress on most of these objectives has been encouraging, but as we look towards the next round of development goals, we must recognise how the world has changed since 2000.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

Can innovation end global poverty?

Source: Irin News

Can the seemingly intractable problems of global poverty be addressed by the latest wonders of science and technology? Last month, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the launch of its new Global Development Lab, which will bring together entrepreneurs, corporations, NGOs, universities, research institutions, and USAID personnel “to discover, incubate, and scale breakthrough development innovations in sectors like water, health, food security and nutrition, energy, and climate change,” in the words of Andrew Sisson, its acting executive director.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Microcredit Impact Revisited

Source: Huffington Post Impact

A few years ago, a storm was raging in the microcredit world. Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer of the idea behind giving small working capital loans to groups of mainly poor women based on social collateral, had promised that microcredit would end poverty and "put it in the museums." But in an influential 2010 study, a group of researchers who spearheaded the concept of randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) in development economics, found no evidence that microcredit was making poverty history.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

Opinion: How Rising Food Prices Can Bring About the End of Poverty

Source: The Globe and Mail

One of the world’s cruellest dilemmas is that the great majority of its starvation and malnutrition cases are found among farmers.
Monday, April 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Why Giving Cash Helps Alleviate Poverty

Source: Foreign Affairs

Every year, wealthy countries spend billions of dollars to help the world’s poor, paying for cows, goats, seeds, beans, textbooks, business training, microloans, and much more. Such aid is designed to give poor people things they can’t afford or the tools and skills to earn more. Much of this aid undoubtedly works. But even when assistance programs accomplish things, they often do so in a tremendously expensive and inefficient way.
Monday, April 28, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank to Spend $8 Billion on Nigeria Over Four Years

Source: Bloomberg

The World Bank said it will provide Nigeria with projects worth $8 billion targeting job creation, social services and governance as part of its new country partnership strategy with Africa’s largest economy.
Friday, April 25, 2014 — No Region Specified

ADB to propose new poverty threshold for developing Asia

Source: Business MIrror

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) intends to propose a new poverty threshold for developing Asia to better reflect the state of poverty in Asia-Pacific region.
Thursday, April 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why are Africans Getting Ripped off on Remittances?

Source: World Bank Blogs

Four factors combine to drive up charges. The first is limited competition.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

ICD boosting activity in Africa to widen Islamic finance appeal

Source: Reuters

The private sector arm of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank [ISDBA.UL] plans to increase its activities in Africa, part of plans to widen the appeal of Islamic finance across the region, its chief executive said.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Microfinance Faces Uncertainty in Bangladesh

Source: The Diplomat

The Bangladesh government should reevaluate its pursuit to regulate and nationalize the operations of the Grameen Bank.
Monday, April 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

“Correlation is not causation”: Roodman takes issue with World Bank study

Source: David Roodman

The issue is standard. Correlation is not causation. The Economist makes a strikingly confident statement about how one thing affects another. The problem is that in families and villages, everything affects everything. Taking more microloans can make people wealthier or poorer. Being wealthier or poorer can make people take more microloans. The arrows go in circles. Statistics can measure correlations. How do we make the leap to causation?
Monday, April 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

MasterCard funding Grameen Foundation initiative to bring financial services to the unbanked in Kenya

Source: Tech President

MasterCard is funding a Grameen Foundation initiative to bring financial services to the poor and the unbanked in Kenya.
Friday, April 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

Here’s How You Help the Poor Without Soaking the Rich

Source: Time

We have to clear our minds of a fallacy about poverty alleviation: Helping the poor does not mean welfare. This isn’t to say that we don’t need welfare. Ignoring the unfortunate who can’t put enough food on the table or afford proper education or healthcare is not just cruel, it’s bad economics.
Friday, April 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

Rehabilitation and attack: microcredit helps the poor after all

Source: The Economist

FOR years the reputation of microfinance—which gives tiny loans to the poorest—rose and fell in tandem with relations between Grameen Bank and the Bangladeshi government. In 2006 the bank and its head, Muhammad Yunus, won the Nobel peace prize for reducing poverty and Mr Yunus toyed with setting up a political party, supposedly with the government’s blessing. Since then several studies have found limited or no benefits from microfinance, and in 2011 (for different reasons) a new government forced Mr Yunus to resign from the bank he had founded.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Opinion: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

Source: SBS

There is always hope that scientific innovations will help solve global problems. So can scientists help solve the globe’s ultimate problem: eliminate extreme poverty?
Monday, April 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

New-concept flood insurance could help Bangladesh's poor

Source: Irin News

A new insurance scheme in which pre-determined flood thresholds trigger speedy compensation offers hope for poor people in flood-prone Bangladesh, experts say.
Monday, April 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Investing in Africa: the imperative to invest sustainably

Source: How We Made It In Africa

There is no one way to do business in Africa. But through exploring both the opportunities and the challenges experienced by companies operating successfully in Africa, a number of key lessons can be unearthed.
Monday, April 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Indigenous leaders empowering communities through social enterprise

Source: The Guardian

Initiatives such as a healing centre in the Amazon forest are helping indigenous groups protect and manage their own land.
Friday, April 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

How Do You Measure the Bottom Line for Impact Investing?

Source: CSR wire

Since 1993, when I was at the Yale School of Management, to my work with the Calvert Funds and Foundation and now with my company Honest Tea, I’ve been a part of hundreds of discussions and debates about how to evaluate the return on an impact investment.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Microfinance institutions cannot end mass poverty in Uganda

Source: The Observer

Microfinance institutions in Uganda have over time increased especially after the liberalisation of the economy in the 1990s. Since independence, the government has initiated credit funding, anticipating a significant reduction in household poverty. However, recent studies indicate that poverty is more of a socio-cultural problem that manifests itself economically to its victims.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

Tanzania: Microinsurance Must Be Promoted Aggressively

Source: All Africa

TANZANIA is currently working on the best approach to increase the micro insurance coverage so that low income earners can easily access it as well as other financial services.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

eKutir’s VeggieLite gains Gates Foundation grant

Source: Press Release

eKutir’s new project VeggieLite is a recipient of Grand Challenges India 2014, supported by the Gates Foundation, USAID and DBT, the Indian government’s anti-poverty scheme.
Monday, April 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

New report: Social Impact Bonds could boost development and job creation in South Africa

Source: Biz Community

Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) hold tremendous potential for government to increase effective support for struggling entrepreneurs in South Africa, according to a new report presented to the National Treasury, the Jobs Fund, and the dti.
Monday, April 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

Capital Commitment to support Early-Stage Businesses in East African Communities

Source: The Wall Street Journal

JPMorgan Chase and the UK Department for International Development will kick start promising businesses in East Africa through a new joint investment in Novastar Ventures. The new $5 million investment by JPMorgan Chase will be matched by an additional $15 million from DFID as part of its first ever Impact Investment Fund. Launched in 2013, the fund is managed by the CDC, the UK's own Development Finance Institution.
Monday, April 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

India’s Bandhan aims to replicate its microfinance model as a full-fledged commercial bank

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Having started commercial micro-finance operations in 2005, Bandhan Financial Services Pvt Ltd is now set to become a full fledged commercial bank, headquartered in Kolkata. In an interview to Business Line, Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh explains why Bandhan bank will bring a common man’s perspective into banking.
Friday, April 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

C S Ghosh: Tied to the bottom of the pyramid

Source: Business Standard

Chandra Shekhar Ghosh has come a long way - from Tripura to Bangladesh to West Bengal to now the national scene. The microfinance organisation Bandhan, which he founded in 2001 and helped grow, has won the right to become a full-fledged commercial bank that can and will have its branches from Srinagar to Thiruvananthapuram in the not too distant future.
Friday, April 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

Here is why the World Bank withheld aid to Uganda

Source: The Washington Post

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stopped by The Washington Post on Thursday to chat about some of the changes under way as the bank moves to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Throughout discussions about energy projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, deficits in Indonesia and private sector growth in Burma, one key concern kept coming up: What role should the World Bank play when conflicts arise in member nations?
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 — No Region Specified

Claims processing time critical to microinsurance success in Nigeria, stakeholders say

Source: Business Day

For effective take-off and maximisation of microinsurance opportunity in Nigeria following the release of operational guidelines by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), operators must work on claims processing time for the project to succeed.
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Grameen Foundation announces funding boost for microfinance activities in Latin America

Source: Xperedon

US charitable foundation Grameen Foundation has announced new $500,000 match funding backing to aid its Last Mile Initiative, that’s helping lift communities from rural poverty, including farmers in Colombia and Guatemala...
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Rise of social impact investing lays to rest the notion that greed is good

Source: South China Morning Post

Do we really invest to make money? Yes, if you make money the old-fashioned way. You look at the trade-off between risk, return and liquidity and make the investment if it yields a return that you feel happy with, relative to the risk, with the liquidity you want.
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

‘Learning together’ to grow a business in the plains of Tanzania

Source: PBS NewsHour

When Hailey Chalhoub and Eliza Madden, both 22, were sent to Tabora in northeastern Tanzania to help its residents with a nascent food processing business, they had their marching orders: make a profit.
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banks Outshine Agriculture, Manufacturing in GDP Input in Rwanda

Source: All Africa

Prime Minister Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi, yesterday, presented to both chambers of Parliament highlights of the performance of the service industry with focus on financial institutions, noting that the country is on course to achieving its targeted financial inclusion.
Thursday, March 27, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

International Finance Corporation Proposes $1.5 B Annual Investment in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

The International Finance Corporation IFC), which is the private sector arm of the World Bank, has unfolded plans to commence an annual investment of $1.5 billion in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.
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 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Innovative business model introduced to benefit oil palm farmers

Source: Ghana Web

B-BOVID, an agribusiness based on social entrepreneurship principles, is introducing a unique profit-sharing concept to its oil palm enterprise which, will greatly benefit local farmers and their communities.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 — No Region Specified

Microfinance 2.0: Different Methodology Could Reshape Industry

Source: The Guardian

A recent paper published by Harvard Business School and EY advocates for taking a more scientific approach to evaluating the impacts of microfinance programs.
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 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Insurers are Looking to Kenya’s Low-Income Earners for New Business

Source: Standard Digital Business

Low-income earners have traditionally been underserved when it comes to being provided with avenues to manage the risks they face every day.
Monday, March 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Maker of Toms shoes expands into coffee roasting


Toms, the Los Angeles company known for its comfy, eco-friendly footwear and its shoes-donating ways, is tiptoeing into an unusual product line: coffee.
Monday, March 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile money platform backs 'Yolanda' recovery efforts in the Philippines

Source: Sun Star

Mobile money is playing an increasing role in disaster recovery efforts as shown by the initial projects undertaken in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. This development has caught the interest of relief agencies of the United Nations, as well as other international humanitarian agencies, who are studying the experience of the Philippines in disaster response.
Thursday, March 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Literacy Crucial to Nigeria's Economic Growth

Source: allAfrica

Financial literacy among Nigerians especially the young people will foster economic growth and development even as the country seeks the attainment of financial inclusion in the economy,
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Empowering People With Cooking Stoves

Source: Techli

Imagine spending 30 percent of your income on cooking fuel, inhaling the equivalent of 20 cigarettes daily while preparing meals for your family, and having to send your daughter to collect fuel for hours every day. What sounds like a far-fetched scenario is the reality of millions of people around the world in countries like Nepal, Darfur and Haiti.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Sustainable Investing Comes of Age in South Africa

Source: Business Day South Africa

In recent years, the idea of analysing companies using more than just financial indicators has moved into the mainstream.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Chinese NGO Aims to Tackle Poverty in Burma Through Microloans

Source: Democreatic Voice of Burma

A Chinese NGO is set to implement micro-finance programs across Burma in a bid to tackle rural poverty.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Saving for Change: How Small Sums Drive Big Advances in Cambodia

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

Many rural villagers cannot access financial services from microfinance institutions (MFIs) despite the growth in the sector.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Accion Supports Sale of Mibanco to Financiera Edyficar

Source: Press Release

Accion, a leader in microfinance and financial inclusion, today announced its support for the sale of Mibanco to Financiera Edyficar, which is owned by Grupo Credicorp, following the regulatory approval of the sale obtained this week.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — South Asia

Women entrepreneurs struggle for funding in India

Source: Live Mint

A majority of women entrepreneurs in India cannot access institutional finance for many reasons, including the fact that fewer of them have title rights on property that can be used as collateral.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

The World Bank Gets An Overhaul — And Not Everyone's Happy

Source: NPR

The World Bank, the largest international development institution, is undergoing a sweeping reorganization, the first of its kind for the bank in nearly a generation. The bank, based in Washington, has laid out a new set of goals, but they're accompanied by deep budget cuts and the elimination of a whole layer of senior management jobs.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: GiveDirectly? Not So Fast.

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

GiveDirectly is the current flavor of the month, and every couple of days someone asks us what we think of it. GiveDirectly does unconditional cash transfers—it sends money via mobile payment straight to the poorest people in Kenyan villages. It’s a brilliant approach to cutting out corruption and waste: 93 cents of every donated dollar goes to recipients as cash, and those recipients reliably spend it on food, housing, health care, education, and business investment.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

American Express Spotlights the Issue of Financial Exclusion in Davis Guggenheim Doc "Spent"

Source: Fast Co.Create

Part of a larger Amex initiative to address financial inclusion, Spent: Looking for Change reveals the dismal state of basic banking service access for many Americans.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 — South Asia

India Has Millions of Female Entrepreneurs and They Need Easier Access to Money

Source: The Wall Street Journal India

While there may not be many women occupying the executive offices of India, the country is home to literally millions of female entrepreneurs, in charge of their own tiny businesses, according to estimates by the International Finance Corp.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Islamic Microfinance can eradicate poverty in Muslim world

Source: Pakistan Observer

Half of global poverty resides in Muslim world while the Muslim population is 24% of the total global population, if the dangerously increasing poverty in the Muslim community is not controlled soon then it will be alarming. These concerns were addressed by Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics while speaking at Islamic Microfinance Symposium held at Tunis and organized by Tunis Association of Islamic Economics with association of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and German Donor Agency GIZ.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing: Building on Strong Foundations in the U.S.

Source: Huffington Post Impact

Impact investing in the U.S. has a rich history and established communities of practice -- spanning community finance, socially responsible investment, micro-finance, housing finance, environmental finance, small business finance in underserved "emerging domestic markets," sustainable development and, more recently, social finance, which explicitly ties investment returns to social outcomes using tools like "pay for success."
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Making Money While Making The World A Better Place

Source: Forbes

For those who may not be as familiar with the term, impact investments “are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.”
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.
Monday, March 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

Women in Kenya stay united to reap benefits from micro-loans

Source: Coastweek

Women in Kenya are reaping huge from micro-lending institutions because of their ability to form groups and stay united. The women, majority who are in groups commonly known as chamas, are the biggest beneficiaries of micro-loans in the East African nation.
Monday, March 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

Digital survey could change global impact investing priorities

Source: MaxImpact

Impact investing is all about meeting needs. It places capital in businesses that provide human essentials such as water, power, food, education and healthcare. At the same time, it helps meet the needs of the planet and its non-human inhabitants by fostering business approaches that protect ecosystems and conserve natural resources.
Monday, March 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

This Social Enterprise Runs A Global Crowd-funding Platform; Eyes $3-5 Million In Series B Funding

Source: Business Insider

Welcome to Milaap Social Ventures, a social enterprise operating from Bangalore and Singapore, which has developed an online crowd-funding platform to help the unbanked and the underprivileged masses in India. Simply put, Milaap (it means 'connecting together' in Hindi) offers an RBI-approved micro-lending platform that allows the organisation to receive 'loans' from all over the world.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

US Foundation Endowments - A Missing Piece to Maximizing Impact

Source: HuffPost Impact

A handful of foundations leverage their shares in public equity investments to directly engage the companies they hold in their portfolios.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Matching capital with ‘space’ in unlocking Nigeria's microinsurance potential

Source: Business Day

Nigeria prepares to unlock its microinsurance potential given the country’s huge population of 170 million people and a demographic structure leaning towards the mass poor.
Friday, February 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

World Bank postpones Uganda loan over anti-gay law

Source: Reuters

The World Bank on Thursday postponed a $90 million loan to Uganda's health system over a law that toughened punishment for gays, an unusual move for an institution that typically avoids wading into politics.
Friday, February 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Kiva Partners with Vittana to Bolster its Student Loans Program


Kiva is one of the microfinance pioneers, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses secure loans from backers who give as little as $25. The platform, which has been around since 2005, has collected over $500 million in loans from its million-strong community.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Sustainable investment performance criticisms ‘out-of-date’

Source: Blue&Green Tomorrow

Arguments that sustainable investment approaches are too simplistic and don’t offer competitive returns have been labelled as “out-of-date” by Kevin Parker, chief executive of Sustainable Insight Capital Management.
Friday, February 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

New Grant to Aid Businesses Creating Jobs, Services for Poor

Source: Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and development partners will use a new $3.6 million grant to support around 20 private sector businesses in Asia targeting poor and low-income communities.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 — South Asia

Crowdfunding Platform Nyaya Raises Cash for Healthcare for Nepal’s Poor

Source: South China Morning Post

In December, the New York-based NGO officially launched its Crowdfund Health portal to solicit donations to fund health care for the poor.
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Accion to partner with Lagos on poverty alleviation

Source: All Africa

Accion Microfinance Bank (AMfB) said it is collaborating with the Lagos State government on a poverty eradication scheme. According to a statement, members of staff of the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, led by the Director of Commerce Mr. Hakeem Adeniji, indicated this when they paid a courtesy visit to the head office of Accion recently.
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ugandan startup making it simpler for African migrants to send money home

Source: How We Made It In Africa

A Ugandan startup is looking to change the way people transfer money from abroad by enabling remittances directly to mobile phone wallets. Redcore Interactive operates Remit, a platform that enables real-time debit and credit card and mobile money transfers from across the world to registered mobile money users in Uganda.
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Google and SolarAid partner to explore impact of solar technology on poverty alleviation in Africa

Source: Press Release

February 2014: Today Google has announced their continued support of international development charity SolarAid and their work distributing solar lights in rural Africa, by funding a two year evaluation on the impact of solar lights on poverty alleviation.
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

UNAIDS and Lancet Commission to put forward recommendations on AIDS and global health for the post-2015 debate

Source: UNAIDS

The UNAIDS and Lancet Commission: Defeating AIDS – Advancing global health is meeting in London on the future of AIDS and global health in the post-2015 era—the recommendations will be published in The Lancet later this year.
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Column: E-nabling financial inclusion

Source: The Financial Express

The imperative for financial inclusion is both a moral one as well as one based on economic efficiency. Should we not give everyone that is capable the tools and resources to better themselves, and in doing so, better the country?
Thursday, February 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Absolving the 'Original Sin' of Microfinance

Source: The Guardian

Micro-lenders have traditionally been vulnerable to unstable local currencies, but new groups are helping them hedge
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom Deal to Allow Diaspora to Send Money to M-Pesa Accounts

Source: Human IPO

According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), last year’s diaspora remittances reached US$1.3 billion (KSh112 billion), up from US$1.17 billion (KSh101 billion) in 2012.
Monday, February 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

West Africa: Breaking the Cycle of Youth Unemployment, Poverty

Source: All Africa

Youth unemployment and underemployment are among the main barriers to development in West Africa, say experts. Not only does the exclusion of young people from the labour force perpetuate generational cycles of poverty, it also breaks down social cohesion and can be associated with higher levels of crime and violence among idle youth.
Friday, February 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

Don't charge to enlarge: the effect of interest rate changes on microfinance access

Source: The Economist

A STORY in the finance section this week looks at what has happened to microfinance interest rates. To summarise briefly: we argue that as microfinance for the very poorest borrowers has expanded, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have had to raise their rates. As MFIs target poorer, less reliable customers, they need to charge higher rates to cover increased defaults and steeper funding costs.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banking for All - Drive to ensure world's poor have access to accounts

Source: This Is Money

For banks, there is the chance to harvest the deposits of millions of new customers and establish a presence in small but fast-growing markets.
Friday, January 31, 2014 — No Region Specified

Poor service: Tiny loans are getting more expensive

Source: The Economist

INTEREST on the minuscule loans made by microfinance outfits has always been high, but over the past few years it has become even higher. A recent paper, using data on over 1,500 microfinance institutions (MFIs) from around the world, shows that for the smallest loans, typically less than $150, the average rate climbed steadily from 30% in 2004 to 35% in 2011.*
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

'Micro-insurance Impacts Significantly on Social Indices'

Source: This Day Live

The Micro-insurance Network, the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO’s) micro-insurance innovation facility, has said that micro-insurance has impacted positively on the standard of living of low income earners across the world.
Thursday, January 23, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Sector Can Help Bolster Africa’s Economy, Panelists Say

Source: Dealbook - The New York Times

One of the stated aims of this year’s World Economic Forum is inclusion. A panel discussion on Africa’s future, one that included two sitting presidents from that continent, did its best to emphasize that theme.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 — South Asia

Microfinance as a tool for empowering conflict-affected communities

Source: Daily FT

At a recently-held seminar organised by the Pathfinder Foundation in Colombo, a paper and three presentations were publicised under the theme ‘microfinance as a tool for empowering conflict-affected communities’.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

How social enterprises are combatting modern slavery

Source: The Guardian

Rich McEachran explains how social enterprises are a sustainable solution to modern slavery worldwide
Monday, January 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

From Corner Store to Microfinance

Source: The Wall Street Journal

With a master's degree in social work and a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy, Antoinette Temporiti spent 30 years counseling individuals and families. She specialized in working with young adult victims of sexual abuse and loved her career. But a trip to Africa in 2004, when she was 54 years old, set her on a new path.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 — No Region Specified

More jobs? Forget IT, look at healthcare instead

Source: Firstpost

Finance and information technology may be the sectors everybody wants to be in. But when it comes to jobs creation in a growing economy like India, these sectors are turning out to be laggards as they are less labour-intensive. Health and construction sectors are the ones that have the potential to create more jobs.
Friday, December 20, 2013 — No Region Specified

Rwanda targeting 80% financial inclusion by 2017

Source: Rwanda Eye

In order to achieve the country’s economic transformation and poverty reduction, Rwanda has set its goal on increasing financial inclusion to 80 percent by 2017, through deepening and broadening the financial literacy of Rwandans.
Friday, December 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

Fighting Poverty with Unconditional Cash

Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Rather than building schools and clinics, or donating solar lights and cows, is the best way to fight global poverty simply to give poor people money? That’s the question a group of smart economists are testing, and their answers could stand the multi-billion dollar aid industry on its head.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 — Asia Pacific

Post-typhoon expansion of micro-insurance coverage for the poor sought in the Phillipines

Source: Inquirer News

The recent devastation caused by supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas underscored the importance of expanding coverage of micro-insurance to the marginalized communities in the country.
Monday, December 2, 2013 — No Region Specified

A Goat Or An ATM?

Source: Business World

Financial inclusion efforts in India have achieved much but remain hobbled by the lack of an effective impact assessment framework.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 — South Asia

HCBL Bank targetting beggars for financial inclusion

Source: Business Standard

Probably the only bank catering to this segment, so far
Thursday, November 21, 2013 — No Region Specified

5 ways to fight resistance to sustainability

Source: GreenBiz

To avoid discouragement and burnout, we need to address this resistance proactively, yet patiently.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 — No Region Specified

A new focus for USAID: Ending extreme poverty

Source: Devex

On Thursday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is set to give a speech at the Brookings Institution on the goal of ending extreme poverty, planned to put a bit more policy oomph behind U.S. President Barack Obama’s call in the State of the Union address earlier this year for America to join with its allies to end $1.25 poverty in two decades.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microcredit has been a disaster for the poorest in South Africa

Source: The Guardian

The finance model was supposed to help the country's disenfranchised, but has just pushed them further into debt
Monday, November 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

3 Ways That Business Can Alleviate Poverty

Source: The Huffington Post

Business has become a dirty word. Doing business with the poor seems taboo, shocking, unthinkable. But what if business could improve the lives of the world's poorest people?
Thursday, November 14, 2013 — No Region Specified

Operation Hope Summit: Reaching the Bottom of America's Pyramid

Source: Global Atlanta

Rather than casting the poor as lazy or ignorant, society should be looking for ways to redirect their latent talents and connect them with opportunity.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 — No Region Specified

World Bank says expanded access to banking services comes with risks

Source: Chicago Tribune

In a new report, the World Bank warns that while some services, like low-fee accounts, clearly benefit the poor and small firms, others - such as microcredit, microinsurance, and debt relief - can do more harm than good.
Monday, November 11, 2013 — No Region Specified

The Benefits of No-Strings-Attached Cash

Source: Council on Foreign Relations

What if I suggested that the best way to fight poverty is simply to give money to poor people, no strings attached? You’d probably say I was crazy. But over the past decade, lots of studies suggest that cash transfers are in fact an efficient way of actually tackling poverty.
Friday, October 11, 2013 — No Region Specified

World Bank chief calls for an end to poverty

Source: China Daily

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim set an interim target on Wednesday to reduce global poverty to 9 percent by 2020. If achieved, it would mark the first time the rate has gone down to single digits. The target was based on a World Bank analysis of global poverty trends toward reaching a goal set in April of ending extreme poverty by 2030, extreme poverty being people who live on $1.25 a day or less.
Thursday, September 5, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Fighting Poverty, and Critics

Source: New York Times

Nina Munk’s new book, “The Idealist,” is about the well-known economist Jeffrey Sachs and his “quest to end poverty,” as the subtitle puts it. I know: That subtitle sounds like classic book-industry hyperbole, but, in this case, it’s not. That really is what Sachs has been trying to do. The question of whether or not he is succeeding is where things get tricky.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 — No Region Specified

Rethinking microfinance's role in fight against poverty

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Much has been said about microfinance. Heralded once as the ultimate tool for alleviating poverty worldwide, it was badly hit by accusations of illegal and immoral practices in India’s Andhra Pradesh in 2010-2011 and, since then, has lost some of its shine.
Friday, July 26, 2013 — No Region Specified

The consensus on raising people out of poverty is surprisingly recent

Source: The Economist

On July 17th India released its latest poverty figures. They tell an encouraging tale: just under 22% of Indians were below the poverty line in 2011-12, down from over 37% in 2004-05. With an election not far off, these statistics will not go unchallenged.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 — South Asia

Poverty alleviation: Villagers thrive by using alternative energy

Source: The Express Tribune

Farmers in Ahmadwala, a village some 40 kilometres to the west of Lahore, are no longer worried about power outages affecting their livelihoods.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 — No Region Specified

Changing lives, a hen at a time

Source: Standard Digital

Helping hand: Three years ago, four campus students started a revolutionary project that has begun to alleviate poverty in rural areas nyan communities of giving visitors a hen.
Monday, June 3, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

From base of social pyramid, only way is up

Source: The Japan Times

Firms serving Africa's poorest paving way for mutual growth
Friday, May 31, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Best and Simplest Way to Fight Global Poverty

Source: Slate

Proof that giving cash to poor people, no strings attached, is an amazingly powerful tool for boosting incomes and promoting development.
Thursday, May 30, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Best and Simplest Way to Fight Global Poverty

Source: Slate

Poverty is, fundamentally, a lack of money. So doesn’t it make sense that simply delivering cash to poor people can be an effective strategy for alleviating it?
Monday, May 20, 2013 — South Asia

Instilling soft skills in chauffeurs

Source: The Hindu Business Line

In the travel industry, the bottom of the pyramid is the driver.” Ram Badrinathan, Founder & CEO, GlobalTHEN.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The hottest frontier

Source: The Economist

Strategies for putting money to work in a fast-growing continent.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 — No Region Specified

How to Plan when you don’t know what is going to happen? Redesigning aid for complex systems

Source: Oxfam International

They’re funny things, speaker tours. On the face of it, you go from venue to venue, churning out the same presentation – more wonk-n-roll than rock-n-roll. But you are also testing your arguments, adding slides where there are holes, deleting ones that don’t work.
Monday, May 13, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Venture Capital to invest US$20m this year

Source: Ghana Web

The Venture Capital Trust Fund will invest US$20million in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in different sectors of the economy this year, building on a portfolio of investments currently valued at close to US$60million.
Monday, May 13, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Us Family Biz Icon Launches Africa Fund

Source: Campden FB

Dr John Coors, fourth-gen chief executive of ceramics company CoorsTek and a member of the Coors brewing dynasty, is behind the launch of an investment group targeting Africa that plans a new approach to investing in the continent.
Friday, May 10, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Venture Capital Trust Fund signs MoU with GIMPA to establish Centre

Source: Ghana Business News

Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) to establish a Centre for Impact Investing in the country.
Thursday, May 9, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Where Private School Is Not a Privilege

Source: The New York Times

In the United States, private school is generally a privilege of the rich. But in poorer nations, particularly in Africa and South Asia, families of all social classes send their children to private school.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — South Asia

Ramadorai new chairman of NSDC

Source: Live Mint

S. Ramadorai took over the post from M.V. Subbiah, who was heading NSDC since 2008.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — No Region Specified

A Microlender Backs Startups to Bring More Than Loans to the Poor

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Microlending has lost a lot of its shine in the seven years since Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for delivering small loans to help poor women start businesses.
Monday, May 6, 2013 — No Region Specified

What is the best way of innovating for social change?

Source: Financial Times

There are many different ways – organisationally speaking – that you can save the world.
Friday, May 3, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Banishing poverty through banking

Source: The Guardian

Access to financial services could pull millions of people out of poverty, so where does microfinance fit in?
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IFC, Others Invest $20m In Ghanaian Microfinance Bank

Source: Ventures Africa

The IFC, the German Investment and Development Corporation (DEG), and the African Capitalisation Fund (ACF) have together invested about GH¢46 million ($20 million) into one of Ghana’s leading microfinance banks, UT Bank.
Monday, April 15, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank: Africa's economic growth to outpace average

Source: BBC

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa should significantly outpace the global average over the next three years, according to the World Bank.
Friday, April 12, 2013 — South Asia

World Bank proposes multi-billion plan to reduce poverty in India

Source: The Hindu Business Line

The World Bank has come out with a multi-billion ($12-20 billion) four-year plan aimed at bringing down poverty levels in seven low-income Indian States.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New apps transforming remote parts of Africa

Source: Associated Press

For generations, breeding cows in the rural highlands of Kenya has hinged on knowledge and experience passed down from parents to children. But Mercy Wanjiku is unlike most farmers. Her most powerful tool is her cell phone, and a text messaging service called iCow.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 — No Region Specified

World Bank chief calls for ending extreme poverty by 2030

Source: Reuters

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called for a commitment by the international community on Tuesday to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people living in developing countries.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 — South Asia

Sheetal Mehta Walsh, on the Rise of Social Entrepreneurship

Source: The Next Women

Sheetal Mehta Walsh, is the founder of Shanti Life, a unique microfinance platform serving the poor in Gujarat villages and slums so that they can create sustainable businesses.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 — Asia Pacific

IDB's assignment: A proposal to reform private sector operations

Source: Devex

The Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting has concluded with a lot of promise for businesses in the region, from the establishment of a new Chinese cofinanced fund to a plan to streamline the activities of the bank’s private sector windows.
Monday, March 18, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

LAPO Boss: Microfinance Industry Needs Intellectual Leadership

Source: The Guardian

LIFT Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) operated as a pro-poor non-government organisation (NGO) more than two decades before it was licensed a microfinance institution in 2010. The same year it was recognised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a micro lender, it paid out N21.9 billion loans.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 — South Asia

World Bank promises big push to poverty alleviation schemes in India

Source: The Hindu

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on Wednesday indicated an assured annual funding of $3-5 billion for the next four years to push development projects and poverty eradication programmes.
Friday, March 8, 2013 — No Region Specified

Trade-offs in FY14: A case for the Global Fund

Source: Devex

Amid an increasingly complex fiscal environment in Washington (i.e. the newly-triggered sequester and the soon-to-expire FY13 continuing resolution), I can’t help but think about the tough trade-offs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must be considering as they finalize the 2014 budget request to Congress, expected to be released in mid-March.
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.
Friday, March 1, 2013 — Asia Pacific

Growth and Poverty

Source: Inquirer News

The ten years of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave the Philippines a much faster economic growth at around 4.8 percent annually. The only decade-long gross domestic product (GDP) growth higher than this was recorded in the 1950s.
Friday, February 22, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: Closing the Gap - Meet Aims to End Extreme Poverty

Source: All Africa

When 17-year-old Sona Traore represented the Child Protection Network of Liberia at a civil society event organized in conjunction with a three-day United Nations meeting in this capital city earlier this month, she knew she was not speaking for Liberian children alone.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: Global Fund News Flash - Issue 14

Source: All Africa

The Global Fund plans to launch its new funding model in the coming days.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

I promote farming to get people out of poverty

Source: Daily Monitor

Following the success of Upland rice that Professor Gilbert Bukenya promoted throughout the country while he was Vice President, he is planning a similar exercise in the near future. He talked to Daily Monitor's Dorothy Nakaweesi about that and more.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 — Latin America

Brazil's Rousseff says extreme poverty almost eradicated

Source: Reuters

President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday raised the monthly stipend of 2.5 million people living below the poverty line to make good on her promise to eradicate extreme poverty in Brazil, a nation with enormous income gaps between rich and poor.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 — No Region Specified

Entrepreneurship: One Answer to Poverty

Source: Huffington Post

In his State of the Union address President Barack Obama placed a spotlight on global poverty and the 1.2 billion people on the planet who stay alive on around $1 per day.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 — No Region Specified

John Kerry to USAID: 'Deeply, deeply committed'

Source: Devex

John Kerry did not detail his plans for development cooperation, but his message to colleagues at the U.S. Agency for International Development on Friday may have been as important: He fully supports their work and will fight for their cause in upcoming budget battles and hot spots around the globe.
Friday, February 15, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa calling: rewarding patient investors

Source: Financial Times

In the 1970s, it was Idi Amin’s expulsion of Asians from Uganda. In 1980s, it was a malnourished child in Ethiopia, struggling just to stand up. In the 1990s, it was piles of mutilated corpses in Rwanda. For many in the west, these remain the defining images of Africa – despots, disasters and despair.
Thursday, February 14, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Obama in SOTU: Eradicate extreme poverty in 20 years

Source: Devex

In a Feb. 12 speech focused on improving the lot of the U.S. middle class, Obama also vowed to help stabilize countries such as Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Mali, and help to spread democracy from the Middle East to South-East Asia.
Monday, February 11, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

EU budget deal freezes foreign aid spending

Source: Devex

After tense negotiations in Brussels, European leaders reached a historic budget-cutting deal on Friday – but appeared to have spared foreign aid. The consensus reached today could have potentially negative consequences on the ability to achieve global anti-poverty goals, especially in Africa,” said Natalia Alonso, head of Oxfam’s EU office.
Friday, February 8, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Microsoft’s ‘4Afrika’ launch, a surprising game-changer

Source: Devex Impact

In the next three years, the Microsoft Afrika Initiative aims to “help place tens of millions” of smartphones in the hands of African consumers, bring 1 million small and medium-size African businesses and nonprofits online, train 100,000 African university graduates (and find jobs for 75,000 of them), and pilot low-cost wireless broadband in Kenya using “white-space” spectrum.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 — South Asia

Diaspora-driven development: how to turn wealth to health in Bangladesh

Source: The Guardian

A large number of Bangladeshi expatriates are unskilled labourers so cash transfers will still dominate the way they contribute to development back home. However, due to high tax on remittances and high money transfer fees, many chose to use informal channels. The Daily Star, a Bangladesh English language broadsheet reported that up to 24% of remittances are brought into the country through informal channels. Reducing tax, as well as transfer fees by organisations such as Western Union could encourage more people to use formal channels and hence increasing government revenues
Monday, January 14, 2013 — No Region Specified

Deal leaves risks for global health to fall or be pushed off the cliff

Source: Science Speaks Blog

Will the U.S. government's fiscal cliff deal mean steep drops in global health and research funding?
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 — No Region Specified

Inequality and accountability key to post-2015 development, report says

Source: The Guardian

Save the Children outlines its proposals for the development agenda after the millennium development goals expire in 2015
Thursday, December 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

5 development innovations to watch in 2013

Source: Devex

Although this year had welcome news about poverty rates falling across the globe, almost two and a half billion people still get by on less than $2 a day. Innovative solutions for tackling global poverty are needed as much as ever. Here are five development innovations to watch in 2013:
Thursday, December 13, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How to Light Africa Within a Decade

Source: Forbes

Today, when the sun goes down in Africa, over 150 million homes will not turn on the lights. The reason is simple: they don’t have electricity. Instead, they will extend their day by the dim light of kerosene lamps. Families will huddle around these lamps, inhaling the lung-burning equivalent of two packs of cigarettes each from kerosene fumes.
Friday, December 7, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Global Impact Investing Network Receives GBP 10.5 Million Commitment from UK's Department for International Development

Source: Press Release

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) announced today that the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) will provide GBP 10.5 million to support the GIIN’s role in developing and growing the impact investing market in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

AfDB, researchers launch $63 m initiative to lift Africans out of poverty

Source: Africa Science News

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and researchers have launched the US$63.24 million AfDB-funded initiative aimed to raise agricultural productivity and also lift millions of Africans out of poverty.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 — South Asia

Pakistan to follow Brazilian model in tackling poverty

Source: The Express Tribune

ISLAMABAD: Emulating the Brazilian model of zero hunger and with support from donors, the Pakistan government has expressed the resolve to alleviate poverty and hunger from the country.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 — No Region Specified

Fantino’s private-sector foreign aid: It can work, if he gets the details right

Source: The Globe and Mail

The world’s poorest, sacrificed to the whims of the almighty market. Charities and non-governmental organizations carrying the water for profitable mining companies. Profits before people. These are just some of the critiques levelled against the federal government’s foreign-aid pivot, recently formalized in an address by new International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 — South Asia

‘Rising Star’ Leila Janah on Fighting Poverty

Source: Wall Street Journal

Leila Janah is trying to find a way to connect women and young people living in poverty to dignified work via the Internet. Her company Samasource, which she founded in 2008, provides free, specialized technology training via 16 centers in nine countries, including India, Pakistan, Kenya, Haiti and Uganda.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 — No Region Specified

One billion raise a stink

Source: Al Jazeera English

Sanitation is not merely a development wish list, but a fundamental requirement that directly affects people's survival.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: Development Targets Ride on Vitamins

Source: All Africa

One hundred and ninety million - that's more than the populations of Germany, France and Poland combined. It is also the number of children affected by vitamin A deficiency around the world.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Child marriage perpetuates cycle of poverty for young people

Source: Deseret News

In the developing world, one in 10 girls is married before the age of 18. One in seven is married before 15. Tino Borantu of Ethiopia was married at age 9.
Monday, November 26, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Enter the iShack, a possible answer to improving Africa’s slums

Source: How We Made it in Africa

For those who aren’t familiar with South Africa’s informal settlements, it is estimated that seven million South Africans live in shacks in the country’s many “squatter camps” located around all major cities.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 — South Asia

Justrojgar Joins With Upaya Social Ventures to Create Service Sector Jobs for the Very Poorest

Source: Press Release

Equity Investment Will Create New Corporate, Domestic Employment Opportunities For Those Living At The Base Of The Pyramid
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 — No Region Specified

GADCO Announces Investment from AATIF Fund sponsored by KfW, Deutsche Bank and the German Government

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Global Agri-Development Company (GADCO), the FMCG agri-food company operating in sub-Saharan Africa, is pleased to announce an investment from AATIF (Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund), the public-private partnership funded by the German Government, KfW, and Deutsche Bank.
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 12, 2012 — No Region Specified

The Paradox of Property Rights and Economic Development

Source: Council on Foreign Relations Blog

Recent weeks have seen simmering property rights conflicts around the world: Burmese citizens marching in protest against the government’s seizure of their lands for a hotel zone; Vietnamese villagers contesting the confiscation of their land for an EcoPark satellite city project; and violent clashes breaking out in Panama City over a controversial law allowing the sale of state-owned land in the port city of Colón—Latin America’s largest duty-free zone.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Study paints sad picture of women in poor countries

Source: Standard Digital

Women perform more than half of all economic activities in developing countries but only a third of their work is captured by statisticians, a new report says. This means women are likely to miss out on business, industrial and social development opportunities arising from globalisation.
Friday, November 2, 2012 — No Region Specified

Santa Clara University Welcomes Applications from Investment-Ready Social Enterprises

Source: Market Watch Press Release

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov 01, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Applications are now open for Santa Clara University's Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI(TM)), an 11-year-old program that helps social entrepreneurs create greater impact in their poverty-alleviating missions.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 — South Asia

Bill on property rights to slumdwellers in the works

Source: Hindustan Times

Millions of slum dwellers across India could soon aspire to become home owners. The Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry is all set to finalize the draft Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Bill which, once enacted by states, would for the first time give landless slum-dweller living in an urban area long term legal entitlement to a “dwelling place.”
Friday, October 26, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Group mitigates poverty with alternative building technology

Source: Creamer Media's Engineering News

JSE-listed energy and chemicals group Sasol’s enterprise development vehicle, ChemCity, believes alternative building technology (ABT) has the potential to curtail unemployment and poverty – two of South Africa’s most pressing issues.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Technology a pathway out of poverty

Source: Tech Central

It will take a century for a poor household to tweet its way out of poverty. That’s a very long time for anyone wondering where their next meal is coming from. But it’s a significant new finding because it proves once and for all that social media and access to information and communication technology (ICT) is a pathway out of poverty.
Thursday, October 18, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Handheld Poverty Fighters: Building the Killer Apps of Global Prosperity

Source: GOOD

Among many in the development space, connective technologies are either the cheat code to global prosperity or a false prophet obscuring the real challenges effecting the world’s poor. Officials as high-ranking as Secretary Hillary Clinton have called the spread of cheap cell phones and laptops a driving force against poverty even as many of their most promising applications are failing to deliver on scale.
Monday, September 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Hunger: The Problem Left Behind

Source: New York Times

THE drought-induced run-up in corn prices is a reminder that we’re nowhere near solving the problem of feeding the world. The price surge, the third major international food price spike in the last five years, casts more doubt on the assumption that widespread economic development leads to corresponding gains in agriculture.
Friday, September 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Uganda, Villages Reap Benefits of “Machine” Energy

Source: National Geographic

Immaculate Kongai said she was quick to spot the potential of the Multifunction Energy Platform (MFP) as soon as it arrived in Usuk, her village in northeastern Uganda. Kongai grows and sells sorghum to local beer brewers, and has earned a reputation as a shrewd local entrepreneur. When the MFP—or, as she calls it, "the machine"—first showed up three years ago, she said she saw a chance to "make a lot more money" for her family.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 — Latin America

Haiti insurance firm receives $2 million in equity to expand services to the poor

Source: Montreal Gazette

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A non-profit set up by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush after the 2010 earthquake has given $1 million in equity to an insurance firm based in Haiti.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 — No Region Specified

Sure, We Can Build a Better Toilet. But Will People Use It?

Source: Wired

The Gates Foundation’s plan to build a better toilet has inspired optimism for the future of sanitation in the developing world.
Monday, September 10, 2012 — No Region Specified

The 2012 Social Entrepreneur Awardees

Source: World Economic Forum Blog

When Klaus Schwab and I created the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship back in 2000, no one knew what social entrepreneurs were. They were uncommon and unsung heroes in their respective countries and communities, working in relative obscurity to test out new approaches to tackle profound market failures. When they came to Davos, few participants attended the session ‘Meet the Social Entrepreneurs’. Their voices – and the voices of the bottom billion of humanity, the poor people they serve – were often not heard.
Friday, September 7, 2012 — No Region Specified

Solar lighting: Lighting the way

Source: Economist

Energy technology: Cheaper and better solar-powered electric lights promise to do away with kerosene-fuelled lanterns
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Oando seals pact with LAPO on access to cooking gas

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

Following its plan to switch millions of Nigerians from biomass to a clean and sustainable cooking gas, Oando Marketing Plc has entered into an agreement with Lift Above Poverty Organisation Microfinance Bank (LAPO) to provide soft loans for low-income households in Nigeria to purchase Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Thursday, August 30, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New alliance for food security would accelerate agricultural development -Namoale

Source: Business Ghana

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an initiative to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through sustained agricultural growth, was on Wednesday launched in Accra.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 — Europe & Eurasia

Reverse innovation brings social solutions to developed countries

Source: The Guardian

Social entrepreneurship often focuses on finding solutions to problems in the developing world. But, as the European Union battles with the ongoing recession and the US experiences rising levels of poverty, social enterprise solutions are increasingly appropriate in advanced industrial countries as well.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Haircuts Can be Serious Business for Myanmar Women

Source: The Jakarta Globe

Khin May Phyo, 18, fought back tears as she bickered with the barber over the length of her haircut. “If you want to make 20,000 kyat [23 dollars], then it has to be cut here,” said Kay Aye Mon, chopping the girl’s waist-length hair at the base of her neck with her palm.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 — Europe & Eurasia

Unilever sees 'return to poverty' in Europe

Source: The Telegraph

Unilever will adopt marketing strategies used in developing countries in order to drive future growth in Europe, as the head of its European business warned that poverty will rise in the region as a result of the debt crisis.
Monday, August 27, 2012 — South Asia

Is a Youth Revolution Brewing in India?

Source: The New York Times

Among the world’s major countries, India has the youngest population, and the oldest leaders. A startling four-decade gap between the median age of India’s people and that of its government officials most recently reared its head with a heavy-handed and widely-maligned crackdown on free speech on the Internet.
Thursday, August 16, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund Announces Duncan Onyango as New Director of Acumen Fund East Africa

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Nairobi, Kenya, August 15, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty across Africa and in South Asia, today announced Duncan Onyango as the new Director of Acumen Fund East Africa. Mr. Onyango joins from Rift Valley Railways having served as Group Chief Finance Officer. He replaces Biju Mohandas who is leaving Acumen after five years of leading Acumen’s local office and building the portfolio to its current size of $29 million in cumulative investments. Mr. Mohandas will play an informal role through this transition.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Avon's 'Lipstick Evangelism' Shows Promise in Poverty Fight

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Lipstick may be the newest weapon in the fight against global poverty. A recent study (PDF) by University of Oxford researchers suggests that selling Avon (AVP) cosmetics have helped women in South Africa become financially independent. Other businesses are mimicking Avon’s model of direct sales as a way to alleviate poverty in developing countries.
Thursday, August 9, 2012 — South Asia

Government assisting SMEs development to reduce poverty

Source: Pakistan Observer

Islamabad—The government has made strategic shift in its strategies to assist infrastructural development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to enhance productivety and exports of this particular sector to help reduce poverty in the country.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 — No Region Specified

US intelligence predicts poverty plummet by 2030


ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Poverty across the planet will be virtually eliminated by 2030, with a rising middle class of some two billion people pushing for more rights and demanding more resources, the chief of the top U.S. intelligence analysis shop said Saturday.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

U-M researcher deals with hope, not charity, in far corners

Source: Detroit News

On the east side of Nairobi, in a slum called Mukuru, Ted London went looking for outhouses and found a Steve Yzerman hockey jersey.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 — No Region Specified

Is Wall Street a Good Training Ground for Social Entrepreneurs?

Source: Forbes

Luanne Zurlo is the founder of Worldfund, an organization dedicated to improving education in Latin American countries. We recently featured one of her collaborations with the Rassias Center for language. Here we return to Luanne to learn more about her, and about her involvement in this organization that facilitates the education of so many Latin Americans.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A promising strategy for SA's development

Source: Financial Mail

By focusing on key sectors, government believes it can reduce unemployment from 25% to 15% by 2020. The priority sectors are infrastructure development, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, the “green” economy, and tourism — as identified in the November 2010 New Growth Path.
Monday, July 30, 2012 — South Asia

Acumen Fund Invests INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) in Edubridge Learning

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Mumbai, India, July 25, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture fund addressing poverty across Africa and South Asia, today announced a INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) equity investment in Edubridge Learning Private Limited, a growing company that provides vocational skills training for low income youth across Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Growing Rwanda Out of Poverty

Source: Forbes

For the last few years, development wonks and international organizations have had the “Green Revolution for Africa” on their radars. Leaders in Africa have recognized that the first Green Revolution (spurred by the work of agronomist Norman Borlaug) resulted in massive improvements in health and productivity around the world, and are now looking to do the same on the so-called “Dark Continent”.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 — South Asia

Grassroots entrepreneurship helps alleviate poverty

Source: The Financial Express

Bangladesh has positioned itself in global community as a forward-looking nation, with firm footprint on path of steady, accelerating growth and development towards rapid poverty elimination and eventual prosperity. Bangladesh has achieved fairly steep decline in poverty over the past two decades from 57.0 per cent in the 1990s to 31.5 per cent in 2011. According to the latest projections of the Planning Commission, poverty will come down further to 26.4 per cent in FY 2012-13.
Monday, July 2, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Using Call Centres to Bridge Poverty Gaps Among Unemployed Youths

Source: AllAfrica

Due to the recent economic recession, more people have become unemployed adding to the security problems that are plaguing the country. Evelyn Okoruwa writes on how call centres could bridge poverty gap by providing makeshift jobs for the country's teeming youths.
Monday, June 18, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Business fighting poverty

Source: The Guardian

For nearly 100 years, Africa has been a key driver of Anglo American's business success. Almost 40% of our assets remain in South Africa. Three of our seven main business groups (platinum, iron ore and thermal coal) and two of our key associates (diamonds and manganese) operate out of South-ern Africa. These are all globally competitive businesses and we are investing in them: $20bn in capital expenditure in South Africa over the last 10 years, and a future growth pipeline of almost $15bn.
Friday, May 25, 2012 — South Asia

Yes, Microfinance Does Work. Here's How...

Source: Huffington Post

By now, anyone with an interest in microfinance or poverty alleviation has read the criticism. There are tragic crises in Andhra Pradesh, the regrettable stepping-down of Muhammad Yunus from Grameen, and provocative headlines in the media claiming to refute microcredit's effectiveness. However, I feel strongly that if readers listen only to the white noise, they'll do themselves and the microfinance industry a disservice and, more to the point, they'll be misled.
Friday, May 18, 2012 — South Asia

Hope springs a trap

Source: The Economist

THE idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician. Yet this was the central thrust of a lecture at Harvard University on May 3rd by Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty. Ms Duflo argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival.
Friday, May 18, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Owning a mobile phone does not move you to the middle class

Source: New Vision

James Ogule, who lives in Namugongo, a Kampala surburb, thinks the vendors selling matooke (plantains) by the road to his house should not be considered middle class. The vendors spend more than $2 (sh5,200) a day and Ogule who works with a government regulatory body thinks equating a middle class to sh5,200 a day is a pity.
Friday, May 18, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Obama turns to private sector to feed world's poor

Source: Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Friday reached out to the private sector in hopes of lifting 50 million people in the developing world from poverty, as wealthy nations grapple with a budget crunch.
Monday, May 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Growth Isn't Meeting Needs of Young, Poor: Report

Source: Wall Street Journal

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—Foreign investment and increasing exports are propelling high economic growth rates in Africa, but haven't established enough jobs to substantially reduce poverty or meet the high expectations of the continent's large number of youths and poor, according to an annual economic progress report released Friday at the World Economic Forum's meeting here.
Monday, May 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda's Middle Class Grows As Poverty Dips

Source: AllAfrica

Kampala — The number of absolutely poor Ugandans has dropped to 7.5 million (24.5%) from 8.5 million (31.1%) as of 2010, a Ministry of Finance status report released in Kampala shows.
Monday, April 23, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Environmental Index Could Save Rural Communities

Source: Phys Org

By creating the world's first long-term record of ecosystem health, Chinese and UK researchers have identified where specific social and economic policies have damaged the environment in eastern China. The work shows that wealth generation over recent decades is damaging essential ecosystem services on which the poorest rely - things like food, fuel, and clean water.
Friday, April 13, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: Brazilians to Share Experiences On Beating Hunger

Source: allAfrica

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says sharing experiences with Brazil will help South Africa deal with the challenge of hunger.
Thursday, April 5, 2012 — No Region Specified

What It Will Take to 'Graduate' 1.2 Billion People Out of Extreme Poverty

Source: The Huffington Post

Despite the worldwide recession of the late 2000s, the total number of people living in extreme poverty has actually gone down in recent years -- so much, in fact, that we've reached the first of the UN's eightMillennium Development Goals five years ahead of schedule, a startling achievement. The number living in "extreme poverty" decreased by 100 million between 2005 and 2008.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 — No Region Specified

Is Sustainable Local Development A Persuasive Alternative to Microfinance?

Source: The Guardian

Milford Bateman has made a cogent case for community-based financial institutions that prioritise sustainable local solutions
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Investing in Agriculture Most Effective Way to Eradicate Poverty in Africa – UN

Source: UN News Centre

With the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) just three years away, a senior United Nations official today emphasized that spending on agriculture is the most effective type of investment for halting poverty in Africa.
Monday, March 26, 2012 — South Asia

World Bank Chief in India, Focus on Poverty Alleviation

Source: Business Standard

World Bank Group President Robert B Zoellick begins an official visit to India tomorrow, to see what more it can do to support government efforts to overcome poverty, as India embarks on its 12th five-year Plan and global recovery remains fragile.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 — South Asia

For a New Highway, from Rio to Delhi

Source: The Hindu

Brazil and India can benefit from each other's experience for an inclusive development agenda.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 — No Region Specified

A Fall to Cheer

Source: The Economist

For the first time ever, the number of poor people is declining everywhere
Thursday, February 16, 2012 — South Asia

Community Workers Help to Bridge Treatment Gap in Mental Health

Source: The Guardian

Training lay people can play a crucial role in helping to deliver effective care for depression and anxiety in resource-poor, primary healthcare settings
Monday, February 13, 2012 — South Asia

Brac Programme Lifting 'Ultra-poor' Out of Poverty in Bangladesh

Source: The Guardian

The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee is helping communities escape extreme poverty by providing individuals with livestock and a monthly payment for two years
Thursday, February 9, 2012 — South Asia

Akhuwat: Making Microfinance Work

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

A groundbreaking microfinance model is bringing out the best in society and bucking the trend of giving out loans that could realistically never be paid back.
Thursday, February 9, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

U.C. Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley Lab Part of White House Poverty Push

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Both the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory above it on the hill are part of a public-private push to fight poverty around the world.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 — No Region Specified

Are Mobile Solutions Overhyped?

Source: CNN

Are mobiles just another high-tech solution to what are essentially systemic and deeply rooted problems? Are mobile solutions for combating global poverty overhyped?
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance Services in Ghana Greeted With Hope, Concern

Source: Voice of America

Microfinance, providing financial services to low-income clients, has gained popularity in Ghana in the past 20 years and has played an important role in helping the poor - especially women - improve their lives.
Monday, February 6, 2012 — South Asia

Unitus Seed Fund Launches with Three Social Enterprise Investments in India

Source: Press Release

New Unitus Labs Initiative Seeks to Accelerate Development of Innovative Startups Which Have the Potential to Significantly Benefit Families Living on Less Than $2 Per Day
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 — South Asia

Coca-Cola India Rejigs Ops to Push Growth

Source: The Times of India

MUMBAI: In a bid to accelerate growth in key categories, Coca-Cola India has introduced changes to its management structure. While on the one hand, the world's largest non-alcoholic drinks maker has created a new vertical to push growth in rural markets by catering to the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) consumers, on the other it has introduced a ...
Friday, August 26, 2011 — South Asia

India Taps Communication Tools to Transform Villages

Source: ZDNet

Several Indian companies are relying on a host of communication technologies to bridge the digital divide by offering sustainable solutions for rural India. Some 70 percent of India's population, or nearly 750 million people, live in villages but contribute just 30 percent of country's GDP. This is likely why rural consumers have long been ignored by marketers. However, this is gradually changing, especially since the rural share of consumer goods today is...
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 — Latin America

Root Capital Makes Money By Investing Where Wall Street Won't: Poor, Rural Farmers

Source: Fast Company

Small money, big change. That, in essence, is what William Foote was banking on when he ditched Harvard Business School to start what is now Root Capital , a "nonprofit social investment fund" that lends to small and medium rural businesses in developing countries. Root Capital's business model is to go where other banks will not --the agricultural sector of poor countries --and loan rural businesses as much as $500,000 to expand or improve t...
Thursday, June 16, 2011 — No Region Specified

Embrace Warms Up Premature Babies At the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Forbes

A mother living in a rural village outside of Bangalore, India gives birth to a baby two months prematurely. Her family cannot afford to go to the city hospital in Bangalore, so her husband, who raises silkworms that he warms under lamps, decides to care for the baby in the same way. A few day later, their baby dies. Stopping this tragedy - there are 20 million low birth weight and premature babies born each year - is the primary mission of Embrac...
Friday, April 22, 2011 — No Region Specified

Untying the Knot

Source: The Economist

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. By Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. PublicAffairs; 336 pages; $26.99. To be published in Britain in June by PublicAffairs; £15.99. Buy from , ...
Friday, April 8, 2011 — South Asia

Serving the Bottom of the Pyramid


Business is brisk for Dheeraj Singh, a small kirana shop owner in Delhi's Govindpuri area. He stocks a host of brands offered by the Indian fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in categories such as hair oil, shampoo, biscuit, fairness cream and tea, among many others. But he offers most of these products in their smallest pack sizes costing between Rs1 and Rs10. This just works fine for Savitri, a regular customer at the store employed as domestic staff in a flat nearby. She...
Thursday, March 24, 2011 — South Asia

Consumer Goods to Consumer Centricity: Not Easy to Navigate for HUL

Source: The Economic Times

It's lunchtime at the sprawling campus - the walk through inside the corporate nerve centre of India's largest FMCG Company - the Rs17700 crore turnover (March ended 2010) HUL. The campus is crowded with employees taking their post prandial walk, some using WiFi to work out of their work stations and some milling around the branded food court from the company stable. So there's Swirl Parlour, Bru Cafes and the latest addition Knorr Food Kiosk. It's at the Knorr Fo...
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