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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 — No Region Specified

Tagum Women Fuel Local Economy

Source: Philippine Information Agency

JMD Abangan TAGUM CITY (30 November) -- The women sector has indeed become a significant force to reckon with as a fuel to the local economy and as backbone to prop up household income. Amidst hard times, women now have found financial relief from day-to-day expenditures in micro enterprise ventures like sidewalk vending; hawking goodies; selling delicacies, home-made processed meat, and others. The Savings Credit with Education (SCWE), a micro-finance program of the Credit Union...
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Financial Times Launches Annual Sustainable Banking Awards.

Source: Financial Times

Financial Times Launches Annual Sustainable Banking Awards. The Financial Times reports (11/24) it announced on Wednesday the launch of the first global awards dedicated to recognizing banks that have actively integrated social and environmental objectives into their operations, while still maximizing financial gain for their shareholders. The annual FT Sustainable Banking Awards - created in association with the International Finance Corporation, ...
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Rural Finance in Ethiopia is Making Critical Difference in Productivity: Meles

Source: The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa)

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said rural finance was playing a critical role in the improvement of agricultural productivity, through the provision of credit for small holder farmers. In his opening address at a Worldwide Congress on Agricultural and Rural Finance here at the UN Conference Centre yesterday, Prime Minister Meles said, currently more than 2.5 million farmers, accounting for 25 percent of the total smallholder agriculture obtain credit annually for the purchase of inp...
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Monday, November 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Telephone Ladies Connect Bangladesh

Source: BBC News

The Commonwealth Heads of Government are meeting this weekend in Malta. One of the issues they will be discussing is how to bridge the so-called digital divide - the gap between those in the industrialised world who have access to information technology, and those in the developing world who do not. Mobile phones are seen as key in countries with poor landline networks, but the question is how to get them into the hands of the poor. One pioneering scheme in Bangladesh has become famo...
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Monday, November 28, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

St. Jude Empowers 180,000 Farmers With Organic Skills

Source: New Vision (Kampala), John Kasozi And Jennifer Austin

ST. JUDE Family Projects is training farmers in modern Integrated Organic Farming (IOF). For the past 12 years, the project has equipped more than 180,000 farmers with skills in IOF. Integrated Organic Farming is a process of harmonious co-existence between the various components on a farm - plants, animals, water and soils. Each component contributes directly or indirectly to the other. The centre, located at Busense, Kabonera sub-county in Bukoto Central, Masaka distric...
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Monday, November 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Microsoft training program empowers farmers and reduces poverty in Indonesia.

Source: Jakarta Post

Bojonegoro --- Suhar, 28, a peanut farmer likes to show off the new cell phone he bought two months ago. He could afford to buy the cell phone after he reaped significant profit from his peanut farm using a management and production method based on knowledge Suhar obtained from the Internet. Suhar said his profit had been soaring since he adopted new production techniques and management principles he acquired from an information technology training held by PT Microsoft Indonesia last ...
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Monday, November 28, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Malawi Pilots Drought Insurance Coverage With Local Farmers

Source: World Bank, Washington DC

Malawi has introduced an innovative pilot drought insurance program for local groundnut farmers that will help them mitigate the risks associated with periodic droughts. The insurance will help farmers obtain financing necessary to obtain certified seeds, which produce increased yields and revenues as well as greater resistance to disease. The program is currently being utilized through the pilot program by nearly 900 farmers in four areas and, if successful, can be scaled up to other crops and...
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Monday, November 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Loose talk saves lives

Source: developments - The International Development Magazine

Access to mobile phones is rocketing, along with its impact on poverty, writes Matthew Bishop. When you get a mobile phone it is almost like having a card to get out of poverty in a couple of years.? So says Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the micro-credit provider, Grameen Bank, and its hugely popular mobile phone offshoot in Bangladesh, Grameen Phone. In rich countries, mobile phones can seem something of a mixed blessing ? particularly if you are stuck on a train next t...
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

West Africa: Minding the Information And Communication Gap

Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Dakar As world leaders call for the benefits of new technologies to be shared more evenly around the globe, the reality on the ground in West Africa is a stark reminder of just how much work remains to be done. Gathered together at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis last week, international leaders such as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and African Union President Olusegun Obasanjo argued for a bridging of the so-called digital divide between regions ru...
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Banks to tap remittances, microfinance to grow

Source: Business News Americas

Latin American banks will eventually channel remittances into small business loans and financial products, thus boosting the use of banking services in the region, officials said at the opening of the Latin American Federation of Banks (Felaban) conference in Miami on Monday. The region received nearly US$41bn in remittances in 2004 and that figure is expected to surpass US$55bn this year, but only 10% will be channeled through the financial system, Inter-American Development Bank (I...
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Banking by Inclusion: Old Wine in New Bottle

Source: The Hindu

from http://www.hindu.com/biz/2005/11/21/stories/2005112100201500.htm The government is set to carry forward some important proposals enunciated recently by the Reserve Bank of India in its credit policy statements to make Indian banking more inclusive. What the RBI has been proposing reflects a fe...
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Monday, November 21, 2005 — Latin America

Fonkoze Helps Transform Microfinance to Reach the Poorest of the Poor in Haiti

Source: Socialfunds.com

After convening a summit on how to modify microfinance to serve the extreme poor, Fonkoze adapts a model pioneered by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. SocialFunds.com -- Marie and Roland may seem like perfect candidates for microfinance, which extends small loans and technical support to the poor to help lift themselves from poverty. Marie sold items at market in Thomonde, Haiti, and her husband Roland worked as a sharecropper planting millet and corn--until they were diag...
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Monday, November 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Uct Scientists Invent Disposable Solar Panel

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

Tamar Kahn Johannesburg SCIENTISTS at the University of Cape Town are exploiting the nano-scale properties of silicon to develop a super-thin disposable solar panel poster which they hope could offer rural dwellers a cheap, alternative source of power. Many people living in remote areas are not linked to the national electricity grid, and use batteries or run their own generators to supply their power needs. The scientists have developed technology for pri...
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Friday, November 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

More Internet, Less Poverty?

Source: Inter Press Service

Building a bridge across the digital divide might not be the smooth path to poverty reduction that many people believe. As many as 17,000 people from around the world are attending this United Nations conference targeted at closing the now famous divide, the gap in access to the Internet and other information age tools (and skills) between rich and poor countries, and even within nations. But will providing Internet access or mobile phones to more people help end the poverty that dis...
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Thursday, November 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

Immigrant workers who send money home to their families are a major source of critical funding for p

Source: Financial Times

Rich and poor countries need to make it cheaper for immigrant workers to send money back to their families to ?sharpen? the impact of remittances on poverty reduction, the World Bank said on Wednesday. International remittance flows to developing countries are expected to rise to $167bn (?143bn, ?97bn) this year, twice the amount of official aid paid by governments, the bank said in its Global Development Prospects report. Unreported flows mean that remittances are probabl...
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Thursday, November 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

Understanding fragmented consumer tastes in China

Source: Financial Times

Matt Doyle, Procter & Gamble's director of healthcare products research, has an unusual invitation for his guests during a visit to the company's Cincinnati headquarters: C'mere, you want to go to Alaska? The group has just been standing in a store room in which P&G's products neatly line the shelves. The temperature is 40?C and the humidity 75 per cent, replicating the heat of a Chinese summer. In the second room, the temperature has dropped to -5?...
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Thursday, November 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

ICICI bank, Grameen of USA set up JV for micro-finance

Source: financial express

MUMBAI, NOV 15: With a view to developing a commercial market for micro finance receivables, the country's largest private sector bank, ICICI bank has tied up with Grameen Foundation USA to set up Grameen Capital India (GCI). GCI will work with the micro finance institutions (MFIs) to access primary and secondary debt markets as also private placement of MFI portfolios with banks, said KV Kamath, managing director & ceo, ICICI Bank. GCI will also provide credit enhancements t...
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Thursday, November 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

Delay, High Cost of Business Registration, Counter Productive - World Bank/IMF

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

Saviour Davidson Fia According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, African nations, despite their high youth unemployment rates, continue to thwart small and medium businesses with legal burdens and piecemeal reforms. Data on recent reforms to the regulatory environment for business contained in 'Doing Business 2006,' a publication by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), poi...
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Thursday, November 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

Ugandan firm gets African ICT award

Source: African News Dimension

Original post here: http://www.andnetwork.com/app?service=direct/0/Feed/$DirectLink&sp=l6023 A Ugandan based computer company, Crystal Clear Software Limited, has won the African Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME) 2004 Award. The company was recognised for showing a balance between business skills (70 per cent of total weight) and social agenda (30 per c...
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 — No Region Specified

eBay?s Founder Starts Giving

Source: FORTUNE

Pierre Omidyar on his $100 million gift to Tufts?with a few strings attached. Pierre Omidyar, 38, is one of the world?s richest idealists. With stock in eBay worth $8.4 billion, the founder of the auction giant and his wife, Pam, are starting to give money away. In early November they made their biggest gift yet: $100 million to Tufts University, where they met as undergrads. But the money came with an unusual stipulation: It can be invested only in microfinance?tiny business loan...
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 — South Asia

IFC to set up micro equity fund

Source: Business Standard

International Finance Corporation (IFC) is all set to enter the microfinance market in India. The global lending body together with Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation Venture Capital and Bharat Yuvak Shakti Trust (BYST) are planning to set up a micro equity fund to help small entrepreneurs. ?The fund, to be set up with an initial corpus of $5 million (Rs 22.5 crore), would begin operations by April 2006,? said Vipul Prakash, regional manager, South Asia, IFC.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 — No Region Specified

"I saved someone from a poisonous snake bite after I learnt about first aid from the computer."

Source: CNN

DIPICHI, South Africa (Reuters) -- It is hard to believe that 19 shiny flat screen computers can cure the ills of this tiny community in South Africa's arid north where people battle every day against poverty, AIDS, illiteracy and hunger. Yet U.S. computer giant Hewlett-Packard Co. and South African President Thabo Mbeki are promoting Dipichi's smart new IT lab as a blueprint for how technology can trigger growth and tackle poverty across the world's poorest continent.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microcredit Turns into Major Headache in Kenya

Source: Mail & Guardian Online

The power of microcredit to pull people out of destitution has been celebrated around the world during 2005, designated the International Year of Microcredit by the United Nations. In Kenya, however, the concept of microcredit risks losing its bloom. This follows concerns about a number of self-described microfinance institutions that have sprung up across the country over recent years, and which seem more intent on exploiting their clients than helping them work their wa...
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 — No Region Specified

I'd Like to Teach the World to Type

Source: Fortune, Print

David Kirkpatrick WANT TO GRAB SOMEBODY'S ATTENTION IN the tech world? How about mentioning that you got e-mails from Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell the night before, all of them weighing in on your current obsession. That's what Nick Negroponte--legendary founder of MIT's Media Lab and techno- impresario extraordinaire--said to me last month after he came offstage at the Pop!Tech conference in Camden, Maine. Negroponte had just presented the idea that engaged t...
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 — Latin America

Switch to the Low-Income Customer

Source: Financial Times

?We?ve changed our standard of innovation so we can serve more of the world?s consumers. So it?s now a better brand experience for the target consumer and a lower product cost structure than the competition can deliver.? Gilbert Cloyd, Procter & Gamble?s chief technology officer, unfolds a disposable nappy on a table at the company?s Cincinnati headquarters. With a lightly elasticated edge and a basic inner lining, it is a prototype that, if proven commerciall...
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 — North Africa and Near East

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

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Nokia and Grameen Foundation USA today announced a collaboration to bring affordable, accessible telecommunications to rural villages in Africa through microfinance. This collaboration builds on GFUSA's global Village Phone initiative that helps people living in rural areas start self-sustaining businesses while providing affordable telecommunications to their communities. Access to affordable and reliable telecommunications services is a lifeline for rural communities and a crit...
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bank Throws Lifeline to Africa's Private Sector

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen Mumbai In a massive boost to Africa's private sector, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank arm that finances companies, is to almost treble its support on the continent over the next five years to more than $1bn a year. The expansion in financing to the continent will involve a doubling in IFC financing for projects in SA over the next year to about $200m. Part of the IFC's unfolding plan is for it to play a fa...
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Monday, November 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Brazil's retailers start offering credit to a big new market: The poor

Source: The New York Times

M?rcia Regina da Cruz, a 40-year-old janitor and mother of three, decided to splurge. Da Cruz, who lives in S?o Vicente, a coastal town an hour's bus ride from S?o Paulo, made a purchase in September equal to one-fifth of her monthly salary. She bought three irons - one for herself and two as gifts for her mother and sister - for 72 reals, or $33. It was a big purchase, she said. I normally couldn't pay for it. She could, thoug...
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Monday, November 14, 2005 — Latin America

Pro Mujer Launches Integrated Microfinance Program in Argentina, Targets the Most Impoverished

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Pro Mujer, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Latin America's poorest women help themselves through micro-credit, business training and health care linkages announced today the launch of operations in its fifth Latin American country, Argentina. With financial support from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Pro Mujer plans to initiate operations in the province of Salta, Northern Argentina at the beginning of December 2005. An Argentine wine tasting event will be held Nov...
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Monday, November 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

The $100 Laptop Moves Closer to Reality

Source: Wall Street Journal

A novel plan to develop a $100 laptop computer for distribution to millions of schoolchildren in developing countries has caught the interest of governments and the attention of computer-industry heavyweights. First announced in January by Nicholas Negroponte, the founding chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, the initiative appears to be gaining steam. Mr. Negroponte is scheduled to demonstrate a working prototype of the device with United Nations Se...
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Monday, November 14, 2005 — South Asia

Philips to Take Telemedecine to the Hinterland

Source: The Hindu

Electronics major, Philips, is expanding its presence in the Indian healthcare delivery system through telemedicine by putting more mobile units on roads benefiting villages. Women in villages are already seeing the benefits of telemedicine. We now look forward to extending the technology to interior rural pockets, Gerard J. Kleisterlee, President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Philips Electronics, The Netherlands, said here on Sunday.
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Monday, November 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Are microloans the miracle cure for poverty in developing nations?

Source: Boston Globe

While the exceedingly generous $100 million gift to Tufts University last week to fund microlending initiatives supported that notion, it may be premature to declare this hyped program to help the poor a success. At first glance, the goal of microlending is exciting and innovative: By making small loans to help impoverished people start small businesses, microlenders appear to turn those who are marginalized by mainstream banks into successful entrepreneurs. The gift by P...
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Monday, November 14, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Grameen Foundation USA Releases Village Phone Replication Manual

Source: CSRwire

First Manual to Provide a Proven Model for Establishing Telecommunication Access in Poor, Rural Communities through Microfinance The Village Phone program partners microfinance institutions with telecommunications providers to offer both microenterprise opportunities to the very poor in rural regions, as well as provide the entire community access to telecommunications that are generally unavailable. (CSRwire) Washington, D.C. - Grameen Foundation USA (GFUS...
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Friday, November 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

Rural Farmers Can Benefit From Mobile Phone Extension

Source: Liberian Observer

Liberia's mobile phone companies are extending services to residents in the 16 counties of Liberia. Lone Star Cell and Libercell now lead the extension of mobile phone services, even though CellCom and Comium are also in the business. Besides providing services in Montserrado County, Lone Star Cell and Libercell are providing mobile phone communication in Maryland, Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Bong, Lofa, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties respectively. Thi...
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Friday, November 11, 2005 — South Asia

Rs 1-lakh Tata car to hit the market in three years

Source: webindia123

Targeting the burgeoning middle-class, Tata Motors will roll out in the next three years its Rs one-lakh car ($2200) involving a low-cost assembly operation, according to Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata. (The car) will be smaller and will be produced in larger volumes, with all the high-volume parts manufactured in one plant...Targeting the larger part of the income pyramid is an important part of what Tata will be doing, the 67-year-old corporate honcho said in an interview ...
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Friday, November 11, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Investors Missing Africa's Telecoms Boat

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg), Lesley Stones

Despite phenomenal growth in the cellphone industry, sub-Saharan Africa still accounts for just 1% of global telecoms investments. Of $220bn invested in telecoms in 2003, under $3bn was in Africa. The sector has high growth potential, as the majority of Africans still have no access to telecommunications. For investors who know how to assess the risks and rewards, the potential rewards are matched only by diamonds and other mineral resources, Marcelle says. ...
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Thursday, November 10, 2005 — South Asia

HCL's low-cost PC to revitalize distribution strategy

Source: DQ Channels

HCL plans to market its new low-cost PC by partnering with major web portals for a piece of the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. After having launched its low-cost PC in the Indian market, HCL is looking forward to injecting new vigor to its existing distribution strategy to tap the huge market potential in the Indian region. With an aim to increase its distribution footprint in the country, the company is all set to work on a two-pronged strategy. As part of ...
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Thursday, November 10, 2005 — Asia Pacific

'Missing market' a target for rural growth

Source: Fiji Times Online

THE UN Commission Report Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor is a critical first step in identifying the important role that the private sector must play to ensure that business will work for the poor, Foreign Affairs ministry chief executive Isikeli Mataitoga says. He made the remarks when he launched a Pacific workshop to discuss the report in Suva yesterday. The Report suggests ways for developing and developed countries to develop partnership throug...
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005 — No Region Specified

Local female microentrepreneur off to USA

Source: Financial Express

Bangladeshi microentrepreneur Shamima Khatun (26) left for New York Sunday to attend the closing ceremony of the International Year of Microcredit as a guest of honor. Shamima is one of the four winners of the Global Microentrepreneurship Awards (GMA), organised by the Citigroup Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Citigroup) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). She has been selected as the winner of the Most Innovative Business of the Year ...
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Minister Blames Banks over Poverty in Africa

Source: The East African Standard

The failure by commercial banks to lend to small and medium-sized businesses in Africa is to blame for rampant poverty on the continent, a Cabinet minister said yesterday. Planning minister Anyang' Nyong'o hit out at the banks for making return on investment difficult by charging high interest rates on loans. Oracle Business Intelligence The banks rarely touch African businesses and when they do they charge interest rates that make it impossible for ent...
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Monday, November 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

An interview with Ricci Wolman of the Global Fairness Initiative

Source: The Harbus Online

Where did you spend your Social Enterprise Summer? I spent my summer working in Washington, DC for The Global Fairness Initiative (GFI). GFI is a an international NGO of global leaders dedicated to promoting innovative, scalable models that extend the benefits of globalization to poor communities around the world. What project(s) did you work on, and what were your primary responsibilities? My primary project was the creation of the Synapse Market Access Fund. ...
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Monday, November 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

CK Prahalad Shares Wisdom

Source: Wharton Journal

What could draw nearly 300 students out given the dismal, rainy weather on Monday afternoon? It is all in a name: CK Prahalad. A University of Michigan professor, renowned corporate strategist, and internationally best-selling author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Prahalad spoke at the fourth annual Joel and Lois Coleman Social Impact Lecture, sponsored in conjunction with the Legal Studies department and the Wharton Ethics program. Through the generosity of Mr. Coleman, a Wharton...
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Monday, November 07, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Access 1513 Internet Prepaid Card Launched

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

In an effort to help Ghana 'leap-frog' into the information society proper, Global Access Services Limited in collaboration with Netafrique Dot Com, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) have introduced an Internet prepaid card into the Ghanaian market. Called Access 1513 Internet prepaid card, the card can be used by anyone who has access to a computer with a dial up modem and a Ghana Telecom (GT) telephone line. The card comes with a username, a password and a GT digital telep...
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Monday, November 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Source: Ethical Corporation

Julio Maura, executive president of GrupoNueva, describes how his company is set on making products affordable for Latin America?s poorest farmers. Virtuous circles, environmental footprints, sustainability matrices ? corporate responsibility now has a new shape to add to its conceptual armoury: the pyramid. Coined by CK Prahalad in his much profiled book ?The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid?, the theory centres on the world?s three or four billion poor people who li...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Yehu Microfinance plays big role in Kenya

Source: choicehumanitarian.org

One of the greatest stories in the CHOICE community is the rise of Yehu Bank, the microcredit organization that CHOICE board member Louis Pope developed, originally as a CHOICE program. Although Yehu was later spun off for accounting reasons, they still work closely together. And everyone in the CHOICE community can be proud of what Yehu accomplishes, supplying loans to nearly 7,000 women in Kenya with a 97% repayment rate. Water plays a powerful role in our lives. In the village of...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

From charity to business

Source: The Economist

(The following appeared in the full article From Charity to Business) A credit to the industry ProCredit came to banking by an indirect route. Its founder, C.P. Zeitinger, began his career in the 1970s by examining Latin American financial institutions that were getting money from German development agencies. When he pointed out that the whole thing was a waste of money, he was, in effect, fired by the agencies . After working on the conversion of various not...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

FG Urged to Review Private Sector-Led Development Concept

Source: This Day (Lagos)

Lagos United Nations Ambassador, Economic Development, Africa and the Middle East, Alhaji Mahmoud Umoru has called on the federal government to review its concept of private sector-led economic development. He said for the concept to materialise in Nigeria, government must ensure that basic infrastructure, including roads, electricity, water and transportation were functional and affordable. Umoru told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that al...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Gift to Tufts will aid world's smallest firms

Source: The Boston Globe

The founder of eBay and his wife have donated $100 million to Tufts University, the school's largest gift ever, but also one with a unique twist: All the money will be invested in microfinance, which involves tiny loans as low as $40, designed to help poor people in the developing world start small businesses, such as selling hand-woven cloth or goat's milk. Pierre and Pam Omidyar intend the gift to generate healthy returns for their alma mater and in so doing to demonstrate ...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Micro no More

Source: The Economist

The group of 30 women in the dusty square of a poor village outside Hyderabad, their children on their laps, passing tiny deposits and loan payments to a young man in their midst, seem to be engaging in a form of finance quite unlike that practised in the City of London or Wall Street. But is it really that different? Microfinance offers all the transactions you would expect in any branch of finance: loans, deposits, money transfers, insurance. It is distinct only because it involves...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

CBN, UNDP Rejuvenate Microfinancing

Source: Vanguard, Emma Ujah

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have commenced a reinvigorated campaign to jump-start the micro-finance sub-sector of the economy. Working in collaboration with other stakeholders such as the CitiGroup Foundation and Nigerian commercial banks the CBN and UNDP held the first edition of the Nigerian Edition of the Global Microenterpreneurship Award, in Abuja, on Tuesday, to mark this year's International Year of Micro-credit (IY...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Giants and Minnows

Source: The Economist

One of the most encouraging trends in microfinance is that the world's largest banks and insurers are becoming interested. At a minimum, they can do something that small local institutions cannot: move money around the world through their own systems, and tap and raise huge pots of capital. They can also reduce the risk and increase the liquidity of small institutions by packaging and reselling their loans, and even provide savings products through tiny institutions. So-called ?b...
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Friday, November 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

The Hidden Wealth of the Poor

Source: The Economist

In rich countries, financial services on the whole work remarkably well, despite the exotic salaries, the crackpot deals and the occasional bust. The vast majority of people have access to interest-bearing savings accounts, mortgages at reasonable rates, abundant consumer credit, insurance at premiums that reflect the risk of losses, cheap ways of transferring money, and innumerable sources of capital for funding a business. By contrast, financial services for poor people in developi...
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Thursday, November 03, 2005 — No Region Specified

It's time for companies in the Latin America to think harder about what corporate responsibility mea

Source: Ethical Corporation

The fourth Inter American Development Bank conference on corporate responsibility in Latin America took place recently in Santiago, Chile. Previous conferences have been held since 2002 in Miami, Panama, and Mexico. This magazine has attended similar events in Brazil in 2003, and last year?s Mexico conference. What is becoming apparent in the region is that enthusiasm can only take the corporate responsibility movement so far. While the number of corporations beginning to report on c...
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Thursday, November 03, 2005 — No Region Specified

Uganda: Farmers to get update of world coffee prices daily via mobile phones

Source: Mobile Africa

In Uganda farmers will access world coffee prices twice a day from Uganda Coffee Development Authority under the warehouse receipt system. Apollo Kamugisha, the assistant coordinator of the system, said warehouse operators would use mobile phones to relay the prices. Kamugisha said this during a workshop in Buwalasi, Sironko, recently. The information will help farmers sale their coffee and not give it out ignorantly at extremely miserable prices as has been the case, he...
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Thursday, November 03, 2005 — No Region Specified

Brazil's bumpy road to the low-cost PC

Source: CNET News.com, By Paulo Rebelo

It was an idea everyone loved: Develop a cheap PC that would let large numbers of Brazilians connect to the Internet. Literacy would rise, the economy would improve and the country's emerging tech sector would get a boost. Unfortunately, it's been about six years and counting. From 1999 to the present, the Brazilian government has made several attempts to foster cheap computers for the masses, but the efforts have foundered in a sea of red tape, political infighti...
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Thursday, November 03, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyans use spirit of ubuntu to scoop top prize

Source: www.ioljobs.co.za

A Kenyan social enterprise, Honeycare Africa, was named the top small- to-medium-sized business in Africa in Johannesburg last week. This is the first time in the history of the Africa SMME Awards that a non-South African company has been named the winner. According to Professor Nicholas Biekpe, head of the Africa Centre for Investment Analysis (ACIA) at the University of Stellenbosch Business School and host of the event, the emergence of Honeycare as the winner is indica...
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cell phones plug Africa's poor into mobile banking

Source: Reuters

After years of stashing his cash under the mattress, Jeremiah Mpanza now transfers money with a flick of his thumb to his girlfriend in South Africa's rural heartland. His trick? The humble cell phone. Mobile technology has already revolutionized communications in the world's poorest continent, bringing phones to millions of poor and isolated people who had never before made a call. Now cell phones are serving as a bank in your pocket, providing virtual...
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

New report highlights MBA programs which incorporate social and environmental issues into research p

Source: The Financial Times

It might seem odd, at a prestigious awards ceremony attended by top business school deans and senior corporate executives, to predict the event?s demise. This, however, was what one of the winners of this year?s Beyond Grey Pinstripes awards did. ?My hope is that 10 years from now, we?ll now longer need this award,? declared C.K.??Prahalad, professor of corporate strategy and international business at Michigan University?s business school. He was winner of the Lifetime Achievement awa...
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