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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
Saturday, April 30, 2005 — No Region Specified

Who?s afraid of the digital divide? - IV, by Val Souza

Source: Express Computer

Some multinational technology firms are keen to extend their reach to the bottom-tier four billion. Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel and others, faced with increasing levels of saturation in their existing markets, are eyeing the developing world and working at perfecting low-cost devices and unconventional business models to get a foothold in these potential goldmines. Of course, their main markets still remain the developed west and they need to maintain price points in these markets b...
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Friday, April 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

AMREF Ethiopia: Reducing poverty through skills provision

Source: African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF)

AMREF's new project in Kechene aims to capitalise on the artisan know-how in the area. People who make a living from handicrafts are often looked down on by the Ethiopians ? they are viewed very much as the bottom of the heap. They are often taken advantage of financially by local, better educated traders. Over the next year, AMREF will single out 50 people and help them to set up small businesses. They will receive a loan but also learn business acumen and marketing skills. The...
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Friday, April 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

The push for the next billion, by John C. Tanner

Source: Wireless Asia

One of the top themes at this year's 3GSM World Congress in February was the next billion mobile users. Six weeks later, it's looking more like the next few billion mobile users. The mobile industry has been talking about the next billion since the one billionth mobile user signed on somewhere in mid-2003. Now, it's more than halfway there, and the mobile industry is already looking ahead to the three-billion mark. In 2003, when th...
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Friday, April 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Texting for Jobs in Kenya, by Mike Masnick

Source: TheFeature

Kenyans are finding it easier to post and find jobs via mobile phone text message than the traditional Internet, highlighting how mobile services leapfrog more than just voice communications in developing nations. For years, there have been stories about how mobile phone service in developing nations would help them to leapfrog other nations with legacy landline phone systems. Most of the focus, though, has been on the voice communications aspect of the...
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Friday, April 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Bringing the Internet To the Whole World, by Jonathan Krim

Source: The Washington Post

AMD, known mostly as a computer chip maker perennially in the shadow of giant Intel Corp., recently unveiled a pared-down personal computer that costs roughly $200 in an ambitious drive to get computers with Internet access into the hands of 50 percent of the world's population by 2015. Trying to bridge the digital divide with low-cost computers is neither a new idea nor one that has been particularly successful. A handheld machine developed in India called Simputer is attracting ...
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 — South Asia

A helping hand, by Rasheeda Bhagat

Source: The Hindu Business Line

In a bid to create sustainable and gainful employment, aid resource utilisation and reach technological inputs to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat conducted the second Commonwealth-India small business competitiveness development programme in Chennai last week.. An important achievement of this conference was to mainstream gender participation in economic activity, and I'll not be exaggerating when I say that at most sessions the women ent...
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Kenya looks underground for power, by Ishbel Matheson

Source: BBC News

Impala graze among a network of heating pipes. Giraffes nibble at acacias, metres away from a giant power-generating plant. But the fumes belching from the chimneys are not polluting petrochemical smoke. They are eco-friendly water vapour, which drifts off into the blue sky. The Ol Karia station is the continent's biggest geothermal power-generating plant. It takes its name from a nearby volcano, which erupted 150 years ago and is still active. There are 22 wells across th...
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Selling to the Poor

Source: Time Online Edition

There is a surprisingly lucrative market in targeting low-income consumers. With sales growth harder to come by in a competitive world, enterprising companies are seeking expansion among the long-ignored lower classes. A nice 3 page story over at Time Online Edition ....
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Villagers Generate Own Hydro-Electric Power, by Mwangi Mumero

Source: The Nation (Nairobi)

A small rural group in Meru South has shattered the myth that only giant corporates like KenGen can generate hydro electric power. Having been repeatedly snubbed by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company in their attempt to get connected to the national grid, 150 members of Baraani Hydro-electric Self Help group have generated power from a local river and distributed it to over 36 households. We can now light up our houses, iron clothes, charge mobile phones and watch television p...
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Harnessing Creativity to Boost Developing Economies, by Mario Osava

Source: IPS

The U.N. estimates that the creative industries -- which encompass a wide range of activities, from the movie and music industries to fashion and computer software -- represent seven percent of global GDP, the equivalent of 1.3 billion dollars this year. It is also a sector that is growing at a faster rate than the world economy in general. In the United States, Miguez noted, the intellectual property sector accounts for eight percent of GDP and generates employment for 12 percent of the c...
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

GE looking to developing nations for future growth

Source: Associated Press

Sixty percent of General Electric Co.'s growth in the next decade will come from developing countries, with revenue from China alone expected to top $5 billion in 2005, GE's top executive said yesterday at the company's annual meeting. This is a great time for your company, because we are outperforming in a slow-growth world, chief executive Jeff Immelt told shareholders. The industrial, financial, and media powerhouse has won 70 percent of China's commitme...
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Thursday, April 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

What's The Best Tech Device For The World's Poor? by Tony KontzerWed

Source: InformationWeek

Efforts to get information technology into the hands of people in Third World nations are a huge cultural imperative and a significant business opportunity. But what form those efforts should take is a matter of debate, if a keynote panel discussion Wednesday at Sand Hill Group's Software 2005 conference in Santa Clara, Calif., is any indication. Much of the discussion, which provided a welcome respite from all the talk of business processes and product strategy, revolved around two in...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Flies, Fish and a South African Success Story, by Ed Stoddard

Source: Reuters

Mpho Mashila has never caught a fish in her life but she ties a mean fly. The decoy insects (called flies) tied by her and other women in the South African squatters camp where she lives are so popular with fly fishing aficionados in the United States that Mashila and others are being reeled out of poverty. I was trained for four months and then I became a trainer. I now train the other women how to tie flies, she said from behind a table cluttered with the tools of her tr...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

UN commission calls on Africa to commit to information and knowledge economy

Source: UN News Centre

With information and communication technologies (ICT) spinning off new industries in Africa, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) today called on the continent's governments to commit themselves to policies that create information and knowledge economies. Already Africa's ICT environment was leading to the creation of technology parks, globally-operating call centres, cyber-cities and a growing software development sector that was seeking a share of the global $2...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Aspen to Produce New U.S. Aids Drugs, Sell Them in Africa, by Tamar Kahn

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

Aspen's head of strategic trade, Stavros Nicolau, said Gilead would provide Aspen with the ingredients and technology to make the drugs, and Aspen would seek licensing approval in African countries where they were not registered. Aspen had lodged an application to register Viread with the Medicines Control Council and planned to follow suit with Truvada shortly. Nicolau declined to comment on projected sales volumes, but said the African market had strong potential as only about 7%-8% ...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

In Ethiopian Hills, Five Years to Create Something Out of Nothing, by Helene Cooper

Source: The New York Times

A year ago, Koraro villagers scraped together the money to pay for a seventh-grade teacher, then put the class under the tree since there was no room in the school. Paying for an eighth grade is beyond the village's means at this point. If the rich world is actually going to deliver on its promise to halve global poverty by 2015, then it has to start somewhere. It may as well be here in this village, deep in Ethiopia's northern Tigray Province, where food is scarce and water even s...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Indian language fonts soon on PCs

Source: The Hindu Business Line

In a bid to enhance penetration of computers and Internet in the country, the Government is planning to make it mandatory for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to load fonts in 23 Indian languages onto the computers sold in the country. It (lack of local language computing) is a hindrance in proliferation of computer and Internet. We have to keep in mind that in India less than 5 per cent of the people speak English and therefore we need to make these fonts freely available in ...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Is the IT industry losing its edge?

Source: Business Standard

Sridhar Mitta, Managing Director and CTO, e4e India The old way was about cost reduction, but the new way is to create new markets. I see brand new companies, young start-ups, new business models, new technologies all coming up and a market that is broad based compared with what we see as IT now. In next few years, anything that is of economic value and amenable to conversion into digits is open to offshoring. Geography is not the limitation anymore, nor is the space: fro...
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Maran's dream: PC at Rs9999

Source: Sify

Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran today said the government-industry Committee on Improving PC Penetration would work on bringing out a Rs 9,999 [$229] desktop to achieve the target of 65 PCs per 1,000 people by 2008. PC penetration will drive broadband. However, PC prices are not competitive enough. The committee will meet periodically and besides other issues, also work on low-cost PCs to fuel penetration in the country, he said after accepting the recommendations of t...
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Down to the bottom dollar, by Wendy Frew

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Neelamma, from the town of Kuppam in south-east India, is one of the US computer giant Hewlett-Packard's least lucrative customers. But she has become one of its most valuable customers in terms of public relations. The 27-year-old rents a digital camera and printer from the company at market rates, and makes a living charging about 90 cents to take pictures of fellow villagers. Although Neelamma is from one of the poorest regions in the world, she is presented as the future of Hewlett...
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Why $100 computers are on the way

Source: CNET News.com

?by John G. Spooner What's the next step for AMD in emerging markets? Are you going to continue with the Personal Internet Communicator or are you working on the mythical $100 PC? Ruiz: The PIC was our first attempt to do something different. I think that will continue to morph into a new generation of products. We have a PIC2 and a PIC 3 on the road map. All those products will improve the (computing) power and value, while at the same time lowering the cost...
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Monday, April 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Selling to The Poor: There is a surprisingly lucrative market in targeting low-income consumers

Source: Time

The floodplains of Soc Trang Province in Vietnam's Mekong Delta are a maze of rivers and canals dotted with villages so impoverished that local farmers earn less than $ 1 a day. It is not an obvious place to seek a fortune, but capitalism finds a way. Steering his ramshackle boat along the Ke Sat River, Nguyen Van Hon operates a floating sundries distributorship. The wooden hold of his boat is heavy with boxes containing small bars of Lifebuoy soap and single-use s...
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Monday, April 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

A Fragile Success in Africa

Source: The New York Times

Teetering on the verge of success, but with failure always threatening to knock at the door, Ghana has lately taken up the mantle of what passes for a success story in Africa. It is the new darling in the halls where donors like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United States and Britain talk about making sure foreign aid does not end up in the hands of corrupt regimes. What they have in mind are people like Kofi Asare, who labors mightily on his modest farm high in the ...
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Monday, April 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

NamITech First to take EMV Technology into Africa

Source: Balancing Act

NamITech (Pty) Limited, a member of the listed Altech group, has secured a contract for the supply of EMV (Europay, MasterCard and VISA) compliant bank cards into the Republic of Rwanda. The contract is significant for NamITech as it is the first EMV deal outside of South Africa for the company and is ground breaking in terms of the deployment of EMV technology into Africa. The contract is with SIMTEL, a consortium of seven banks, that has been established by the Rwandan government to mode...
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Monday, April 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Selling to The Poor, by Kay Johnson and Xa Nhon

Source: TIME

There is a surprisingly lucrative market in targeting low-income consumers When rising Third World incomes meet the shrinking cost of technology, multinationals are betting that markets will bloom. In October Silicon Valley's Advanced Micro Devices introduced a $185 Personal Internet Communicator--a basic computer--for developing countries, while Taiwan-based VIA Technologies plans to launch a similar device costing just $100. Motorola last month unveiled a no-...
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Sunday, April 24, 2005 — Asia Pacific

From aquariums to deminers, NGO spearheads manufacturing in Cambodia

Source: Asia - AFP

New Zealander Phil Elliott was intending to mass-manufacture aquariums for his expanding franchise business in China. But a chance encounter with a non-profit organisation in Cambodia -- a country better known for its war legacy than economic efficiency -- resulted in a change of plans. After a friend hooked him up with Development Technology Workshop (DTW), a charity working with the disabled to build industry in one of the world's poorest countries, the holidaying Elliott hand...
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Sunday, April 24, 2005 — No Region Specified

The Last Asian Tiger, by Ronald Moreau

Source: Newsweek International

Given its strategic location on the sea lanes between India, China and Japan, its large and young population, and its strong Confucian work ethic, Vietnam has long been a tiger economy in waiting. But only now, 30 years after the communist North defeated the U.S.-supported Saigon regime, is the country beginning to grab hold of its vast potential. Thanks to a series of doi moi (renovation) reforms, Vietnam has been the world's second fastest-growing economy since 2000, trailing onl...
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Sunday, April 24, 2005 — No Region Specified

Malawi: Loan Scheme to Assist Rural Poor

Source: IRIN

Malawi's rural poor have cautiously welcomed a government-sponsored loan scheme, saying similar aid packages in the past have tended to favour supporters of the ruling party. The scheme, introduced three months ago, is worth around Kwacha 5 billion (US $44 million) and is expected to provide small loans to impoverished rural households, in a bid to assist thousands of families struggling to make ends meet. According to official figures, about 65 percent of the country's 12 million ...
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Sunday, April 24, 2005 — No Region Specified

Renewed Assault on Malaria

Source: The World Bank

Bank Launches Global Strategy & Booster Program The World Bank is substantially boosting its support to combat malaria, a dangerous disease which kills more than 3000 people a day in Sub-Saharan Africa. The move is in recognition that progress on combating malaria has been too slow and uneven ? with over 500 million new cases of malaria each year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Bank has developed a new global strategy ? released today to mark Africa Malaria Da...
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Saturday, April 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Inaugural Seed Awards Honor Sustainable Development Entrepreneurs

Source: Environment News Service

The first biennial Seed Initiative awards to Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development (Seed) were made in New York on Wednesday during the 13th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. The new sustainable development awards are the outcome of an international competition to find the most promising new locally-driven, entrepreneurial partnerships. The Initiative is a partnership between IUCN-The World Conservation Union, the United Nations Environment Program...
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Saturday, April 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Letter From India: 100 million dialing out: That leaves 900 million, by Amelia Gentleman

Source: International Herald Tribune

There was no mistaking the triumphalism in the Indian government's announcement last week that the country now had 100 million phone connections. The minister responsible said he was proud and telecommunications analysts hailed it as a historic day for India. To those uninitiated in the complexities of the Indian telephone industry, the jubilation was somewhat bewildering. Of course, 100 million is an awful lot of telephones, but in a country with a population o...
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Saturday, April 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

The South Asian Consumer Market: How Big is the Potential?, by Martha Lagace

Source: HBS Working Knowledge

With a population in the billions and with wildly diverse income levels, South Asia poses unique challenges to marketers, to say the least. But smart marketers are figuring out how to adapt by applying basic principles of their trade to the unique characteristics of the region. As one said recently at Harvard Business School, if you're struggling to sell soap, then maybe improving the water infrastructure in local villages is the most important first step. At the panel discussion ...
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Saturday, April 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

UN intellectual rights protector places more developing country issues on agenda

Source: UN News Centre

Saying it has made a major shift in priorities and direction since its last meeting two years ago, a committee on development in the United Nations agency on intellectual property rights says developing countries must devise policies and strategies that turn their traditional knowledge, healing arts and culture into national assets. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) says it is holding meetings this month and next to respond to a decision by its General Assembly...
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Friday, April 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Developing world needs knowledge more than hardware, speakers say, by K. Oanh Ha

Source: The Mercury News

Is the digital divide dead? Yes, concluded speakers at a Santa Clara University symposium Thursday where participants agreed that throwing computers at the developing world isn't the answer to global inequity. What's really needed is a bridge to close the knowledge divide, according to the speakers. The problem comes down to much more than technology,'' said Geoffrey Bowker, executive director of the university's Center for Science, Technology and Society, which ...
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Friday, April 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

As New Vietnam Forges Ahead, Entrepreneurs Take Limelight

Source: Dow Jones Newswire

The big change is in the attitude to capitalism. In the past five years, an estimated 140,000 private businesses in Vietnam have been registered. Private companies account for one-fifth of GDP, and are virtually the only job-creators in a country where 1 million young people join the work force each year. Drawn to Vietnam a decade ago, Nike, the country's single largest private employer with some 130,000 workers, produces some VND11 trillion worth of footwear, making Vietnam the larges...
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Friday, April 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

IFC and Banque MISR Expand Services to Egyptian Micro and Small Enterprises

Source:

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an advisory services agreement with Banque Misr to extend the development of its micro and small enterprises operations to the bank?s branches in underserved areas of Egypt. The advisory services will help Banque Misr provide micro and small enterprises with investment and working capital financing. Banque MISR will extend loans to entrepreneurs who are unable to expand their businesses becaus...
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Thursday, April 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Poor countries are 'not mining their green gold', by Mike Shanahan

Source: SciDev.Net

In theory, screening biological resources for marketable products ? a process known as 'bioprospecting' ? could contribute to sustainable development. Attracted by the prospect of new drugs, foreign pharmaceutical companies would screen biological resources (such as plants and corals) from a developing nation. When a successful drug comes out of their research, the company would share the profits with the country that the resource was taken from. Agreements would ensure that benefi...
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Thursday, April 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

The Chinese Menu (for Development), by Douglass C. North

Source: The Wall Street Journal

First, there are many paths to development. The key is creating an institutional structure derived from your particular cultural institutions that provide the proper incentives -- not slavishly imitating Western institutions. Second, the world is constantly changing in fundamental ways. The basics of economic theory are essential elements of every economy, but the problems countries face today are set in new and novel frameworks of beliefs, institutions, technologies, and radically lower inform...
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Thursday, April 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

ABP starts investing in Third World micro credits, by Leen Preesman

Source: IPE.com

ABP has said it has started investing in micro credits for small entrepreneurs in the Third World. During the first quarter of 2005 ABP has invested ?5m in an unnamed fund for micro credits. This means more than 14,000 small enterprises are being supported by an average loan of ?350, aimed at providing help to an escape from poverty. ABP said it has chosen for this kind of investment, because ?it offers perspectives of reasonable returns and limited risks. Moreover micro credits will ...
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Thursday, April 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mobile phones ring changes for world's poor, by Shafiq Alam

Source: Sify

With just four calls from a mobile phone, remote Bangladeshi farmer Mir Jahid Hussein can now ensure he gets the best price for his seasonal jute seeds -- something he could once only dream of. As it is for tens of millions of poor rural-dwellers in developing countries from Bangladesh to Botswana, mobile phone technology is revolutionising Hussein's life for the better, enabling him to cut out cheating middlemen and deal directly with buyers from district markets. What 10 years a...
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Wednesday, April 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

India, Nepad in Talks Over Satellite Network, by Jonathan Katzenellenbogen

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

The proposed Indian network will primarily provide internet, tele- education, tele-medicine, videoconferencing and voice-over internet protocol services. It will also support government e-governance projects, as well as entertainment, resource mapping and meteorological services. Such systems have considerable potential to deliver education and heath care to rural and resource-poor areas with the advantage of offering large cost and time savings. Nearly four years after its launch, ...
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005 — No Region Specified

Millennium Challenge Corporation Signs Compact with Madagascar

Source: Millennium Challenge Corporation

Today, the United States , through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, signed a four-year Compact with the Government of the Republic of Madagascar worth close to $110 million. This first Millennium Challenge Compact will reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth in Madagascar by focusing in three areas: property rights, the financial sector, and agricultural business investment. Press release ...
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005 — No Region Specified

CIDA announces new development partners:

Source:

Developing countries where Canada can make a difference CIDA will target its efforts in the following sectors: governance, health (with a focus on HIV/AIDS), basic education, private-sector development, and environmental sustainability, with gender equality as a cross-cutting theme that is systematically and explicitly integrated across all programming. These sectors are all fundamental to human well-being and crucial to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, internatio...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

New Partnership Will Support Newspapers in Developing Countries

Source: editorsweblog.org

The World Association of Newspapers and the Media Development Loan Fund are teaming up to invest major funds in newspaper projects in developing countries. WAN, the global association of the world's press, and MDLF, a non-profitorganization providing low cost financing to news businesses in developing countries, are creating a partnership to provide low-interest loans to help carefully selected independent media companies in developing democracies to become financially viable bus...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Expanded Markets and Products Mark New Face of Microfinance, ADB Annual Report Says

Source:

The microfinance industry is changing from a sector heavily dependent on external assistance to commercial operations run by some of the region's most influential financial institutions, according to the Annual Report 2004 of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released today. Expanded product lines and broader markets are now hallmarks of the industry, the Report says, in a special theme chapter on Th...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Innovative Managed Care model to be launched on a pilot scale, by Falaknaaz Syed

Source: Express Healthcare Management

A unique Managed care model comprising of a partnership between family doctors and the general population through Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) supported by general insurance companies will be launched on a pilot scale in Mumbai within the next three months. The proposed HMO under the aegis of Padmabhushan Dr RD Lele, eminent senior physician of Mumbai is being explored with the partnership of organisation group such as the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, a not-for-profit consumer body...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Use ICTs to address rural poverty and unemployment: Indian minister, by Rahul Kumar

Source: OneWorld South Asia

New Delhi: Major Indian companies have ventured into rural areas to tap villagers for their services and products through information and communication technologies (ICTs), including the Internet and portals. This potential of the use of ICTs for developing rural areas has also enthused the government as well as the World Bank, both of which plan to scale up their work in rural areas in India. At a seminar on ?Bridging the Digital Divide: Towards Developing CSR Strategy and Business Model...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

The Africa You Never See, by Carol Pineau

Source: The Washington Post

Yes, Africa is a land of wars, poverty and corruption. The situation in places like Darfur, Sudan, desperately cries out for more media attention and international action. But Africa is also a land of stock markets, high rises, Internet cafes and a growing middle class. This is the part of Africa that functions. And this Africa also needs media attention, if it's to have any chance of fully joining the global economy. Africa's media image comes at a high cost, even, at the extreme,...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Africa?s billion-dollar GSM revolution

Source: Business in Africa

Africa is currently the world region with the highest level of mobile communications growth, and the occasional legal squabble notwithstanding, mobile operators are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure and development. This is good news for Africa. According to a recent report, there is a clear link between the current exponential growth of telecommunications on the continent and the rates of economic growth in poor countries. In other words, countries with greater m...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Africa Needs New Mkts To Replace Lost Textile Trade, by Elizabeth Price

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Developing nations heavily dependent on textile production will need better access to markets in wealthy countries if they are to cope with China's rising domination of world trade in clothing, African finance ministers said Sunday. Timothy Thahane, Lesotho's finance minister, said his country is struggling to adjust to the removal of global textile quotas that limited exports from trade juggernauts China, Pakistan and India. Lesotho, and other smaller textile producers, must look ...
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Monday, April 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Profits, With a Conscience

Source: Red Herring

Making a difference and turning a profit don?t have to be mutually exclusive. Most of the world?s largest and most profitable companies are still trying to figure out how to make money by selling to the poor in fast-growing, low-income markets. David Green, an American social entrepreneur with no business background, wants to show them how it?s done. Mr. Green has spent more than 15 years making expensive medical products affordable to the world?s poorest people, and now he is o...
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Friday, April 15, 2005 — No Region Specified

Hale and healthy

Source: The Economist

A new way of developing drugs for neglected diseases of the poor world This week, scientists from the Institute for OneWorld Health, the first not-for-profit pharmaceutical company in America, presented the results of a large clinical trial at the Third World Congress on Leishmaniasis in Palermo, Italy. Leishmaniasis is a parasitic infection transmitted by the bite of a sand fly. The trial shows that an antibiotic called paromomycin is effective for treating the most dangerous versi...
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Friday, April 15, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mapping Reveals Earth's Best Sites for Wind, Solar Power

Source: Environment News Service

Thousands of megawatts of new renewable energy potential in Africa, Asia, South and Central America have been discovered through the multi-million dollar project, called the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA). First results from the project were released today at an international meeting of scientists and policymakers organized by UNEP, which is coordinating the renewable resource assessment on behalf of more than 25 insti...
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Friday, April 15, 2005 — No Region Specified

Alternative Source of Investment in Africa: Can Ghana Benefit? by Charles Antwi

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

It is reported that a New York-based private investment banking firm is putting together a $1 billion hedge fund -yes, b as in billion. The fund intends to invest in projects in selected African countries. The banking firm, which has Ghanaian involvement, has developed a relationship with a major European bank to manage the hedge fund's relationships with its clients in Africa. The firm's use of sophisticated finance and investment tools-derivatives, arbitrage, leverage...
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Thursday, April 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Eradicating Poverty through Profit

Source: Green@Work Magazine

World Resources Institute conference explores making business work for the poor, by Phil Storey Is there really a ?fortune at the bottom of the pyramid,? just waiting for corporations to claim it and empower the poor? Over two-and-a-half days in December, more than 1,000 people from five continents gathered at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco to explore this question. The occasion was a conference organized by the World Resources Institute, called ?Er...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Global Experts Rank Top 10 Nanotechnology Applications to Aid Poor

Source:

According to a new study by the Canadian Program on Genomics and Global Health (CPGGH) at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB), a leading international medical ethics think-tank, several nanotechnology applications will help people in developing countries tackle their most urgent problems - extreme poverty and hunger, child mortality, environmental degradation and diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. The study is the...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Launch of Simu 4 U Takes Rural Telecom to New Level, by Elias Biryabaremas & Rosebell Kagumire

Source: The Monitor (Kampala)

As the competition in the telecommunications sector gets tougher, the public payphone service, whose reform has been somewhat slow, has got new dynamism with the launching of Simu 4 U by Uganda Telecom Ltd. Particularly designed for low-income sections of the population, the service is notably expected to have a dramatic impact in rural areas where access to telephone has long been a dream luxury to many on account of cost and distance. The company's Managing Director, Mr Aimabl...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Horticulture Gets Website, by Dorothy Nakaweesi

Source: The Monitor (Kampala)

Horticultural exporters in Uganda will have no little hustle in making business transactions because they now have a website; horticultureuganda.com . The website was launched on April 8 by the Minister of State for Trade, Mr Nathan Igeme Nabeta at Fairway Hotel. E-commerce is the most efficient way to communicate with the rest of the world to expand your services. I urge you to make use of the website those companies ...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Globalisation with a third-world face

Source: The Economist

Developing countries are attracting increasing amounts of foreign direct investment?from each other Third-world multinationals often do rather better in poor countries than their first-world rivals. As Messrs Aykut and Ratha note, their pockets are not as deep, but their overheads are lower. Their technology may be less advanced, but better suited to the countries in which they invest. They are often closer to the host country, both geographically and culturally, and they tend to be ...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

East Asia Can't Get Goods To Market

Source: Oxford Analytica

An Asian Development Bank, World Bank and Japan Bank for International Cooperation report, Connecting East Asia: A New Framework for Infrastructure, indicates that the public sector will be the main provider of infrastructure, while the role of the private sector will remain limited in the short to medium term. East Asia is in danger of losing the logistical advantages that have driven its dynamic growth in recent decades, as the region's infrastructure networks, especially...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

VC on the Roof of the World

Source: Red Herring

An NGO helps to acquaint Tibetan entrepreneurs with the fast-moving world of venture capital. Mr. Tselhun is the chief of the economic bureau for the Tibet Autonomous Region Federation of Commerce and Industry, and head of a delegation of 10 Tibetans who came from ancient, fabled Lhasa to Shenzhen?the postmodern poster city for China?s economic miracle?to learn about venture capital and what it might do for them. ?We are very interested in venture...
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Monday, April 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

Motorola Opens Indian R&D Lab:

Source: Red Herring

As the handset market looks to emerging markets, Motorola raises its bet on India. Emerging markets like India and China are seen as the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world. Reliance Infocomm launched a commercial wireless service in India in May 2003 and signed up 1 million customers within the first 10 days. The company has since signed up over 10 million customers. ...
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Monday, April 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

Micro-Hydro Project Funds Training Center in Thailand

Source: RenewableEnergyAccess.com

Hydro-power is doing more than bringing electricity to Cinta Mekar in Thailand. Dignitaries and government officials helped to lay the foundation stone for the first Pro-Poor Public Private Partnership (5P) Resource and Training Center in Cinta Mekar, which was made possible partly because of electricity sales from the micro-hydro project. Co-financed by a private company, Hidropiranti Inti Bakti Swadaya (HIBS), and local rural cooperative Cinta Mekar, with support from the Ministry of Ene...
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Monday, April 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

EU supports VN?s poorest villages

Source: VietNam News

The initiative will enable local people to upgrade their skill base, and therefore revenue earning capacity, across a range of fields, such as crop and animal husbandry, marketing of agricultural products, and small business development. Construction of basic infrastructure, especially in remote areas, will complement these activities. Special attention will be given to empowering the most disadvantaged, such as poor women. They will receive special support to apply for financial support an...
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Thursday, April 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Canada builds capacity of private sector in poor countries

Source: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

The Honourable Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation, today outlined Canada's plans to encourage the growth of the private sector in developing countries and announced a series of new initiatives, valued at $25 million, in Africa, Asia and the Americas. It is important that the poor have a say and a stake in the way that private sector development evolves in their countries, and that its benefits are shared equally, Minister Carroll said. The needs and...
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Thursday, April 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Business Warms to Gauteng's New Innovation Hub

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

At the hub's core are two projects to support entrepreneurs. The first is a development programme that gives previously disadvantaged individuals six months of mentoring to help them develop a business plan, followed by 18 months of mentoring to get their businesses under way. It helps them think through the business before they start mortgaging their homes and spending a lot of resources and then go belly-up, said Commins. The second is an entrepreneur programme that...
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Thursday, April 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Green Profits, by Ron Moreau and Sudip Mazumdar

Source: Newsweek International

Diversification and increased productivity are what ITC is promoting with its computer program, which seeks to increase farmers' yields, raise their income and boost their confidence to try their hands at more lucrative crops. Within 10 years, the company hopes to be electronically connected to 100,000 villages and 10 million farmers. Company strategists expect the bulk of those villagers to sell their bumper crops to, and buy products from, ITC, adding an estimated $2.5 billion in revenue w...
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Thursday, April 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Poorest nations lead global growth, by Charlotte Moore

Source: The Guardian

Developing countries grew at their sharpest rate for three decades last year, faster than wealthy nations, the World Bank said yesterday. It warned, however, that wealthy nations were not increasing aid fast enough to stamp out poverty. Even sub-Saharan Africa, which includes some of the world's poorest nations, became wealthier last year, helped by soaring commodity prices - the region is rich in oil and metals. Tony Blair said when he released his Commission for Africa report l...
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Thursday, April 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Microcredit Is Becoming Profitable, Which Means New Players and New Problems

Source: Knowledge@Wharton

Large commercial financial institutions, including Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, are now showing interest in microfinance, which could increase access to credit for the poor. At the same time, challenges remain in attracting private capital, lowering costs and interest rates, and developing regulation. More than 500 microfinance institutions around the world have loaned $7 billion to about 30 million small-business people, says Weigelt, but 300 million could benefit from microcredit to start...
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005 — No Region Specified

South Africa shows interest in India's Simputer

Source: Indo-Asian News Service

South Africa has shown keen interest in using a no-frills computer developed by Indian scientists, especially for rural development. Vinay Deshpande, whose company Encore Software developed the Simputer that has revolutionised the use of computers by not so literate people in rural India, was confident the first machines would be in use in South Africa within a month. The Simputers would be used for applications involving e-governance, education ...
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005 — No Region Specified

Brazil Opens Its Arms to Africa, by Rebecca Wanjiku and Mar Del Plata

Source: Highway Africa News Agency

Having tasted the fruits of freedom resulting from the use of open source software, Brazil has opened its doors to African governments willing to adopt the software for the management of Top Level Domain (TLD) registries. And the governments have seized the moment and taken advantage of the emerging south/south solidarity spearheaded by the South American power house. Kenya was the first to train on how to use the software,Tanzania soon followed suit, while Mozambique and Sudan are lining...
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005 — No Region Specified

Capitalism at the Crossroads:

Source: CSRWire

Using the Resources of Capitalism to Solve ?The World?s Most Difficult Problems Despite decades of unprecedented growth and the expansion of capitalism into most of the world, prosperity has only spread to a fraction of the earth?s population, while pollution and corruption has encircled the globe. As Stuart Hart proposes in Capitalism at the Crossroads: The Unlimited Business Opportunities in Solving the World?s Most D...
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Allanblackia to the Rescue of the Rural Poor?, by Domfe George

Source: Public Agenda (Accra)

Allanblackia oil made out of the seed of the tree, is a new commodity with the ability to substitute palm oil for some applications, he noted. Dr. Cobbinah said the project initiative builds on public-private partnership between Unilever, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Technoserve and a number of Ghanaian governmental and non-governmental organizations. Unilever wants to secure a sustainable supply of the seeds, while the other parties promote a socially acceptable and environm...
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Ethiopia: Prime Minister Promises Internet Access for All

Source: IRIN

Ethiopia, one of the poorest nations on earth, will expand Internet coverage from a handful of users to the entire country in three years, the prime minister said Tuesday. Premier Meles Zenawi said information technology lay at the heart of transforming the impoverished country where millions are dependent on foreign aid. The government is working with U.S. technology giant Cisco Systems to boost its coverage. We are fully committed to ensuring that as many of our poor as po...
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Motorola breaks ?poor? price barrier

Source: Red Herring

The phone Motorola is designing has immense potential. The company is in line to sell 6 million immediately to carriers in poor countries, with the additional potential to reach 100 million per year in shipments. Nokia is also in the game. In January, the company said it plans to start selling a low-cost GSM phone using a Texas Instruments chip. And not to be outdone, Qualcomm, in February, said it has designed low-cost chips for CDMA phones for Latin America, India, and China. ...
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cheap computers for emerging markets. How is that going to evolve?

Source: Portalino

This year, there is a big push to make cheap computers for emerging markets. How is that going to have to evolve? A $300 computer is still going to be too expensive for many, probably, in Russia, India and other places. Well, that's not really true. The expensive thing is the connectivity. Getting Internet connectivity is expensive. If all they had to do was pay for the computer--$300--and the communications were free, then we'd see that PC usage would be very, very big. Iron...
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Selling to the Poor

Source: Red Herring

It?s becoming a familiar strategy. Emerging economies like Africa, Latin America, and China are offering fertile ground to startups and major companies?including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and DuPont?which face saturated markets in the richest industrial countries. These poorer regions are wielding another power: dictating products that are cheaper, and sometimes better, than their Western counterparts. ...
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Now Private Firms Eye State Hospitals, by Luke Mulunda

Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi)

Yesterday, the Kenya Health Federation said given the chance, the private sector could put up a basic structure that would avail quality healthcare to all Kenyans. The government should at least contract out badly run and managed facilities to us, said Maliti, who also doubles as the executive director of the Kenya Private Sector Foundation. This will be consistent with its commitment to a market-driven economy where private enterprise plays a major role in developing goo...
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Monday, April 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Group Puts $100 Laptops in Poor Countries

Source: Associated Press

The laptops would be mass-produced in orders of no smaller than 1 million units and bought by governments, which would distribute them. Ambitious projects to bridge the digital divide in the developing world at low cost have had a shaky track record. Perhaps the best example is the Simputer, a $220 handheld device developed by Indian scientists in 2001 that only last year became available and isn't selling well. But Negroponte and MIT colleagues Joe Jacobson and Seymour Papert aren...
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Monday, April 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Rebuilding Tsunami-Ravaged South Asia through Sustainable Means , by Stuart Hart

Source: RenewableEnergyAccess.com

Indeed, with the South Asia coastline in ruins, there is an opportunity to drive the reconstruction process through an enterprise-based model organized around a vision of sustainable development. For visionary companies, this offers the chance to leapfrog directly to clean technology, wireless telecommunications, distributed generation of renewable energy, point of use water purification, sustainable agriculture, and environmentally-sound building techniques. For the financial sector, the...
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Monday, April 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Kenyan Village Serves as Test Case in Fight on Poverty

Source: The New York Times

The researchers behind the [Millennium Village Project] are keeping track of every penny they spend, trying to demonstrate that for a modest amount, somewhere around $110 per person, a village can be tugged out of poverty. They have tried to measure exactly how bad Sauri was at the start of the project last fall. Every home was surveyed to get an accurate portrait of the population. Blood tests were taken among a smaller group for a nutritional analysis, because many villagers eat only onc...
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Monday, April 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Reinventing Pepsi, by George Skaria

Source: The Financial Express

It also meant that companies wanted to tap into the larger market base at the bottom of the pyramid. In recent times, Rajeev Bakshi, chairman, Pepsi India however takes a stance quite contrary to current popular strategies that companies are adopting. Says Mr Bakshi, ?Today, the question is: are you tapping into the right opportunity? I met up with CK Prahalad (who advocates tapping the bottom of the pyramid) about ten days back. He is buying the perspective now. The five rupee strategy is out o...
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Monday, April 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

World Bank to support music industry in Ghana

Source: Ghana News Agency

In an interview with Ghana News Agency, Professor Komla Amoaku, Executive Director, Institute for Music and Development, said the initiative would expand Ghana's export base substantially through the exploration of new areas of competitive advantage. He called for the creation of the rightful business environment that could spearhead the huge potential of Ghana's Music Industry and support poverty reduction, wealth creation and employment generation. He said these were all necessary...
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Monday, April 04, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cell Phone Makers Hope To Connect In Poor Nations, by Mike Angell

Source: Investor's Business Daily

Economists say more than 1 billion of the planet's 6.5 billion folks are doing just that. But phone service can help lift people out of such poverty. And for many of the world's poorest people, mobile phone service is the most viable. Landline networks are faulty or nonexistent in many parts of the Third World. Thus, many companies in the wireless field see an opportunity with low-cost phones. Efforts to make such phones are one of the industry's big initiatives this year. ...
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Friday, April 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cellphones Changing African Lives At All Levels

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

Neither a lack of money nor a lack of electricity denies entrepreneurial Africans access to a cellphone, according to a recent study. People at all income levels are using mobile services, either by owning or sharing a phone, while a lack of mains electricity is circumvented by recharging phones with a generator or a car battery. The effort is worth it because in the poorest rural areas cellphones have reduced the need to travel, helped people hunt for jobs, given them more access...
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Friday, April 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

UK banks not best option for remittances to Developing Countries

Source: FinFacts Business News

Specialist money transfer companies are generally cheaper than high street banks for immigrants to send money home to developing countries from the UK and informal methods are the cheapest according to a survey published by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). On Thursday DFID launched the results of the UK survey into the best ways for people to send money to relatives and friends in developing countries. This is the first survey of its kind in the UK, and addresses a...
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Friday, April 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

Developing countries ?leapfrog? to mobile technologies

Source: Information Society Research

Although many developing countries are leapfrogging to new, mobile, wireless technologies as drivers for development different business models are required, according to preliminary findings from a senior industry Think Tank. The Think Tank, run under the IST-programme?s MOCCA project , addressed issues and requirements in usage, technology, regulations and policies in emerging markets, all of which face shortages ? or a complete ...
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Friday, April 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

Alliances aim to put an end to poverty

Source: Financial Times

Technology Project (Ericsson) The initiative will provide communications technology to rural poor by establishing communications centres that will typically be owned and operated by a local entrepreneur as a franchisee Novella Project (Unilever) The project aims to promote biodiversity and reduce poverty by building an oil supply chain through the use of Allanblackia nuts that will provide rural communities with a new source of income? Integrated Dairy Development Project (Tetr...
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Friday, April 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

Up From The Rubble, by Kerry A. Dolan

Source: Forbes

Can $2,000 loans help revive a war-torn economy? Entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are putting microfinance to the test. The economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina remains shaky-20% of the population live below the poverty line and unemployment is at an estimated 20%. But since 1996 per capita GDP has tripled to $1,500. Microcredit groups have had a significant role in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the postwar period, increasing income levels, reducing poverty, developin...
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Friday, April 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

Brazil: Free Software's Biggest and Best Friend, by Todd Benson

Source: The New York Times

Since taking office two years ago, President Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva has turned Brazil into a tropical outpost of the free software movement. Looking to save millions of dollars in royalties and licensing fees, Mr. da Silva has instructed government ministries and state-run companies to gradually switch from costly operating systems made by Microsoft and others to free operating systems, like Linux. On Mr. da Silva's watch, Brazil has also become the first country to require any compa...
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