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

Summit seeks business buy-in for Commission for Africa plan, by Kevin O'Grady

Source: Business Day

Top businessmen, government ministers and central bankers gather in Cape Town this week for the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Africa Economic Summit , with the focus on making the Commission for Africa?s proposals a reality. Haiko Alfeld, the WEF's director for Africa, said at a press conference in Johannesburg on Friday that this week?s gathering ?should be the place w...
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Monday, May 30, 2005 — No Region Specified

Vietnam receives WB's award for innovative environment project

Source: Asia Pulse

Vietnam has received about US$131,000 in a World Bank competition for the project Environmental Radio Soap Opera for Rural Vietnam. The project is aimed at reducing chemical pollution of the soil and farmer exposure to pesticides by developing a radio soap opera that educates farmers on environmentally-sound farming practices. The soap will be broadcast twice a week over the Voice of HCM City radio and other provincial radio stations to reach about 10 million farming hous...
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Sunday, May 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Coca-Cola using up water, foes in India contend, by Moni Basu and Scott Leith

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In the holiest of Hindu cities, water is worshipped every day. To touch the Ganges River in Varanasi is to be blessed; to die on its banks and have your ashes scattered in the waves is to find eternal peace. But Coca-Cola has found little peace at its plant in Mehdiganj, a village near Varanasi where life's essential elixir is turned into 600 bottles of soda pop a minute. Some villagers want to close the bottling plant because they say Coke uses too much water,...
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Sunday, May 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Ripples of India's prosperity touch its poor, by Saritha Rai

Source: The New York Times

It has been a year since the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came into power promising to embrace those excluded from the country's new economic prosperity. While the impact of his government's efforts to help the poor - like increasing credit to the country's many farmers and pumping in money for infrastructure, especially in rural areas - will not show for another few years, experts say, the bounty from the expansion in manufacturing and services that has b...
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Saturday, May 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Micro finance is now bankable, by Keya Sarkar

Source: Business Standard

Given the amount of press that micro finance as an activity has got in recent times, coupled with a few pronouncements of the finance minister on the subject, a host of banks and finance companies are examining it as a business opportunity. But the way to go about it has eluded many of them, used as they are to the norms of lending for agriculture or corporate finance. It is in this context that I thought a documentation of the experience of ABN AMRO might prove useful. Especially s...
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Saturday, May 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Public interest, by Una McCaffrey reports

Source: Irish Times

Lay Heang sits proudly on the makeshift porch of her tiny shop, carefully eyeing the villagers who are crowding around, just to make sure she's not missing any business. The chances of this are slim, as hers is the only snack shop in this settlement of 300 people, but, as Heang knows, success requires constant effort and attention to detail. She is 53, a ripe old age for Cambodia, where the life expectancy for women is 59, and has seen so many hard days that she is taking no risks when thin...
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Friday, May 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Bridges.org study identifies realities of using free/open source software in Africa

Source: Bridges.org

Bridges.org's Comparison Study of Free/Open Source and Proprietary Software in an African Context: Implementation and Policy-Making to Optimise Public-Access to ICT was published this week to provide needed background information and advice to people who want to make sound software choices that are right for their local environments. The report represents the first comprehensive analysis of software choices in the African pu...
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Friday, May 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Migrant Workers Said to Gain as U.S. Money Transfer Business Revamps, by Ulysses de la Torre

Source: IPS

The cost of transferring money across borders continues to fall, giving millions of migrant workers in the United States new options for sending home billions of dollars in earnings. The entry of a variety of new businesses providing money transfer services -- commonly referred to as ''remittances'' -- threatens to shake up an industry long dominated by such household names as Western Union and Moneygram through a variety of strategies involving convenience, p...
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Friday, May 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

2005 APC Hafkin Prize Winner Trains Kenyan Youth for Business Opportunities

Source: The Association for Progressive Communications

Global Education Partnership - Wundanyi (GEP) is a not-for-profit organisation located in the Taita Taveta District of Kenya. It has created a 12-week comprehensive training programme that focuses on ?entrepreneurship and work-readiness skills? for local youth from 15 to 24 years. A clear lesson is that entrepreneurs are difficult -if not impossible- to create but they can be identified and supported, GEP's East Africa Regional Coordinator Tammy Palmer told APC. ...
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Thursday, May 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

The biggest contract, by Ian Davis

Source: The Economist

The great, long-running debate about business's role in society is currently caught between two contrasting, and tired, ideological positions. On one side of the current debate are those who argue that (to borrow Milton Friedman's phrase) the ?business of business is business?. This belief is most established in Anglo-Saxon economies. On this view, social issues are peripheral to the challenges of corporate management. The sole legitimate purpose of business is to c...
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Thursday, May 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Africans ask: 'Why isn't anyone telling the good news?' by Abraham McLaughlin

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

The way most newspapers and TV news tell it, there's little going on in Africa except poverty, famine, disease, and even genocide. But there's more to Africa than hardship. And there are growing efforts to try to present a fuller, more rounded picture of this continent to the world. For example: * Africa's economies grew by more than 5 percent last year - their biggest expansion in eight years. Central Africa's oil boom spurred 14.4 percent g...
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Thursday, May 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

GFUSA Tsunami Study Recommends Microfinance to Accelerate Recovery

Source: Grameen Foundation USA

A targeted investment in microfinance services could help more than 100,000 people in four tsunami-affected countries to build, rebuild or resume family-sustaining businesses such as fishing, farming and merchant shops, according to a new study released by Grameen Foundation USA (GFUSA). The groundbreaking study, Recovery from Tsunami Disaster: Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development through Mic...
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Helping the poor by selling them stuff; poverty alleviation through private enterprise, by Rhett But

Source: Mongabay.com

This year the United Nations announced a major push to deliver unprecedented amounts of aid to the world's poorest countries. U2's Bono has appealed to fans at rock concerts to support the One Campaign, which aims to persuade the U.S. government to spend an additional one percent of its budget to assist Africa and other struggling regions, while Tony Blair has called for a massive charitable package for Africa. After last year's devastating tsunami, relief pledges quick...
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005 — South Asia

With Loans, Poor South Asian Women Turn Entrepreneurial, byt Cris Prystay

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Every morning, Sarjoni Nandyala puts a few bars of Unilever PLC's Lifebuoy soap and sachets of Clinic shampoo in a canvas bag and sets off to sell them to her neighbors in this dusty farming village in southeastern India. For Mrs. Nandyala, who took out a $200 loan from a state-run microcredit agency to start her business, the work is challenging and the returns modest -- $16 a month is her average profit. But Hindustan Lever Ltd., Unilever's Indian subsi...
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Waste Not, Want Not as Villagers Pioneer Use of Biogas in Cambodia, by Ker Munthit

Source: Associated Press

Nget Loun's rickety old thatched house is typical of Cambodia's impoverished countryside, but it holds a surprise inside: a state of the art, environmental-friendly gas stove. Off the grid as far as most utilities are concerned, her household and 29 others in this village get a steady supply of clean energy from human and animal waste, using a device that not only makes cooking less of a chore, but also keeps their gardens flourishing and helps save the forests.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurs to Play Bigger Role in China

Source: Xinhua News

BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhuanet) -- A country confronted with such problems as wealth polarization, insufficient resources for education in rural areas, China has much room in its civil society for social entrepreneurs to play a bigger role, said Dorit Lehrack, senior consultant with the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO).
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 — No Region Specified

GT Moves to Revolutionarise Rural Communication, by Ama Achiaa Amankwah

Source: Public Agenda (Accra)

A model communication centre developed for rural and peri-urban communities, under an Information Communication Technology, (ICT) project dubbed eCARE, has been envisaged to revolutionarise communication in the rural areas. eCARE is an acronym for e-commerce and renewable energy. The project seeks to increase access to ICT powered by renewable energy in rural and peri-urban areas of Ghana. eCARE has been a community phone project by Ghana Telecom since February 2005. ...
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005 — No Region Specified

M-Banking Finds Success in Africa, by Steve Wallage

Source: TheFeature

In countries and communities where banks and credit card companies have far less sway than in the Western world, mobile banking suddenly seems much more attractive. M-banking always seems like such an obvious evolution of the mobile phone. Talk of the electronic wallet and cashless society has been with us for years now, and what better tool to enable it than the ubiquitous mobile? If only the reality was as easy. There are at least four major stakeholders in m-banking: th...
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Monday, May 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Article 13's report, ?Climate Change and Poverty: A Business Opportunity??

Source: Article 13

Article 13, the leading specialists on governance, business responsibility and sustainable development, have published the report, ?Climate Change and Poverty: A Business Opportunity?? as a contribution to the ongoing debate about how business can contribute ? beyond pure philanthropy ? to addressing these two problems. The report contains a wealth of original material: a survey of FTSE-500 chief executives on their current approaches and expectations of future developments; interviews ...
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Monday, May 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Global Poverty Plans Demand Business Engagement For Success

Source: IBLF

The Business-led development organisation, the IBLF, has today warned that UN targets set to reduce global poverty, such as the UN Millennium Development Goals, will be jeopardised unless business becomes more engaged in the fight against poverty. The claim comes as the IBLF prepares to open a senior level symposium entitled Business and Development - Business models for meeting development challenges, taking place this Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th May. The IBLF has partnered with the UN...
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Monday, May 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Vietnam to receive US$2.5M from BP Development Fund

Source: Asia Pulse

Vietnam will be a recipient of BP's new US$500 million global development plan, a company official told Vietnam News last week. Nguyen Duc Hung, the company's communication and public affairs manager, said starting this year BP will donate $2.5 million to its Vietnam development projects in a five year circle, in which an average $500,000 will be allocated each year. The fund stems from BP Group's recent change in its community investment strategy. We have identi...
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Monday, May 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Microlending at Crossroads After 20 Years, by John Pain

Source: Associated Press

Microlenders are becoming more popular, but they are at a crossroads. The money that they lend comes from government grants and foundations, whose generosity ebbs and flows with the health of the economy. And after two decades, they still don't have enough customers to be self-sufficient. The Aspen Institute, a Washington-based research group, estimates that 10 million microbusinesses have trouble getting bank financing, but only 150,000 to 170,000 are currently working with lenders an...
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Monday, May 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Prominent Oakland Think Tank Wins John Templeton Foundation Award For ''What Works in Enterprise-Bas

Source: Independent Institute

The Independent Institute is launching the new Center on Global Prosperity to examine potential enterprise-based solutions to end abject poverty in developing countries in Latin America and around the world. The Center is the result of a $500,000 award from the John Templeton Foundation's What Works in Enterprise-Based Solutions to Poverty competition. The Independent Institute, a non-partisan,scholarly public policy organization based in Oakland, California, was selected from a...
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Sunday, May 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Syria: Micro credit programme expanding

Source: IRIN

Mohamad Abul Jadayel, a father of two in the northwestern Hama governorate in Syria, used to be unemployed for long periods of time. Sometimes he didn't even have enough money to feed his family. But now his life has changed. I thought of an animal husbandry project to improve my livelihood but I did not have money to implement my project. I obtained a US $300 loan from the Aga Khan Development Network [AKDN] to buy two goats. After one year, I got another $400 loan and bought ano...
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Sunday, May 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

K-Rep Bank Links Up With Health Firm, by Kaburu Mugambi

Source: The Nation (Nairobi)

A healthcare provider and a microfinance bank will provide a product for low income people. Known as Afya Card, the product is a pilot project bringing together AAR Health Services, AAR Credit, K-Rep Bank and K-Rep Development Agency. It is an initiative of the Department for International Development (DfID), a UK Government aid agency. Afya Card is a family based inpatient and outpatient health plan, designed for the lower income groups, that cost as low as Sh6,000 per person pe...
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Sunday, May 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Swiss bank for mega-rich advocates lending to poor, by Thomas Atkins

Source: Reuters

Credit Suisse, one of the world's biggest banks for wealthy clients, on Tuesday said the business of microfinance -- providing loans as small as $50 to the poor -- will soon attract mainstream investors. The Swiss-based bank, which operates an investment fund that finances microcredit projects, said the microfinance market was growing 20-40 percent annually, thanks in part to its record of contributing to economic development in poorer nations. Microfinance is a high-growth ...
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Sunday, May 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

ICICI Bank to penetrate rural sector through mandis, kiosks

Source: Business Standard

ICICI Bank is planning to set up mandi branches, kiosks, franchisees and partner microfinance institutions and non-government organisations to boost its rural finance business. In association with corporates, microfinance institutions and local authorities, the bank is developing supply-chain solutions in the agriculture sector. ICICI Bank has divided the rural market into R1, R2, R3 and R4 categories for identifying the rural markets. R1 and R2 represent the rich farmers, while R3 and...
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Saturday, May 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Company, NGO and UN development specialists meet at IBLF event

Source: IBLF

On 24th & 25th May 2005 over 70 senior representatives from global business, development agencies including the UN, and NGOs will come together for a unique event hosted by the IBLF in collaboration with UNDP and the UN Global Compact. The symposium, entitled 'Business and Development, Business models for meeting development challenges' will see participants making firm recommendations over the role of business in development, particularly in relation to the five years old UN M...
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Saturday, May 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Germany to fund Cambodia in promoting private sector development

Source: AngolaPress

A new program for promoting Cambodia`s private sector development was launched by Cambodia and Germany, German Embassy said here Friday. The program is designed to generate sustainable employment opportunities, improve competitiveness and productivity of Cambodian enterprises and contribute to a conducive business environment, the embassy said in a statement. It will also help with capacity building and training for enterprises, strengthening associations of the private business, crea...
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Saturday, May 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

ADB to provide $31 million loan for agribusiness project

Source: Business Recorder

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $31 million for 'Agribusiness Development project' for promoting development of a competitive and sustainable agribusiness sector in Pakistan. The Agribusiness Development Project will establish market-based approach to agribusiness development and enhance technical and managerial capacity in the sub-sector. It will also dismantle barriers for new enterprises and promote expansion of existing ones into new markets, says a statement...
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Friday, May 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

Light (and power) unto the nations, by Gali Wienreb and Hanan LifshitzThe

Source: Globes

The environmental vision of Israeli start-up Solar Power includes cellular and solar networks in Third World countries. ?We decided to focus on environmentally friendly energy for mobile phones, and on hooking up regions that had no infrastructure,? Tamari relates. ?Actually, it overlaps our field, because there are many places today where cellular networks are deployed first, because there is no wireline telephone network there, and it?s probably no longer worthwhile deploying...
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Friday, May 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

Will 'Social Responsibility'Harm Business? by Alan Murray

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Are the capitalists abandoning capitalism? Tomorrow, General Electric Co. -- icon of American business and the most widely held stock in the world -- will release its first-ever Citizenship Report , a 75-page bow to the bevy of nongovernmental organizations pushing for ever-more corporate social responsibility. The release comes just nine days after GE took the surpr...
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 — No Region Specified

A poor opportunity, by Kanika Datta

Source: Business Standard

Ever since the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power, Indian policy makers and leftist thinkers appear to have rediscovered the Poor.? So, coincidentally, has big business, thanks to a handy contrarian discovery made by management guru C K Prahalad of a ?fortune at the bottom of the pyramid?. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I would say that Prahalad?s theory is almost as chimeral as the UPA government?s grand employment guarantee scheme.? Unlike the ...
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 — No Region Specified

Tanzania Launches Rural Electrification, by Mike Mande

Source: The East African

Tanzania will be second country in East Africa after Uganda to undertake rural and peri-urban electrification project in a move aimed at developing the country's rural access to electricity and information technology services. The project, Energising Rural Transformation (ERT) which has also been undertaken in Uganda under the World Bank is estimated to cost around $80 million. The project is expected to take off next year. Mr Theophil Bwakea, Deputy Commissioner of Energy in...
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 — No Region Specified

Remittances Make the World Go Round

Source: IRIN

Remittances to Africa and Asia have been identified as a key source of development funding, sometimes outpacing official development assistance, and a lifeline for millions of families in poor countries. In its new report ' Global Development Finance 2005: Mobilising Finance and Managing Vulnerability ' the World Bank noted that workers' remittances provide valuable finan...
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 — No Region Specified

South Africa urged to swap mines for microchips, by Rebecca Harrison

Source: Reuters

South Africa must end its dependence on raw materials and become an IT pioneer for the third world, industry and government officials said on Tuesday. Opening an African technology research institute in Pretoria, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said South Africa must train information technology (IT) experts to plug a skills gap and transform an industry still dominated by white men 11 years after the end of apartheid. And researchers should focus on inventing systems ai...
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

India to Build Sh4b Satellite Network for Africa, by John Oyuke

Source: The East African Standard

Africa could soon have a Sh3.8 billion satellite network built by the Government of India. In a proposal to the African Union (AU), an Indian technical team says the project aims at facilitating communications among African leaders. It will also help the continent address education and health challenges. The proposal identifies increased frequency of communicating between African leaders and the AU Commission as one of the benefits. It will also offer telemedicine and facilitate ...
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mobile Phones Change Ways Africans Live And Do Business, by Bruce Greenberg

Source: United States Department of State

Popularity linked to expansion of private capital The rapid growth in mobile phone use throughout the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is helping to transform national economies, producing a thriving entrepreneurial class and marked growth in private capital, according to Leonard Waverman, an economist with the London Business School. Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington May 5 on a panel of fellow economists and representativ...
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

A realistic framework for an ideal world, by Alison Maitland

Source: Financial Times

Business leaders from companies including BP, Deloitte and Nestl? will next week spend two days closeted with United Nations executives and development agencies at a hotel near London to discuss how the private sector can make an effective impact on poverty. The meeting, to be held under the auspices of the International Business Leaders' Forum, an educational charity that promotes good corporate citizenship, will also consider what the commitment from business should be when the ...
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Major victories for micro-finance, by John Authers

Source: Financial Times

Compartamos (Let's share in Spanish) started life as a non-governmental organisation, and gained its seed capital from multilateral funds. In 2000, it converted into a limited-objective financial organisation (sofol for its initials in Spanish). That allows it to offer loans, although it is still blocked.but still blocks it from taking in deposit Now with more than 300,000 clients, its next plan is to convert itself into a bank, so that it can take in savings an...
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

Power in the palm of your hand - Freeplay to launch self-powered mobile charger in Africa, by Mapara

Source: Balancing Act

Access to energy can be a serious obstacle for many mobile phone users who need to re-charge their phones when they find their battery is dead but have no means in doing so. This in turn is a major problem for mobile operators who are constantly losing revenue from the reduced call time. In light of this, Freeplay Energy, a company that specialises in self-sufficient products that gives freedom and independence from traditional power sources, has developed a solution that may help elimin...
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

Former Brazil slave village leaps into digital age, by Terry Wade

Source: Reuters

Nestled in a narrow tropical valley 180 miles southwest of South America's largest city of Sao Paulo, the village lacks phone lines and other basic services. Some of its 300 residents still live in homes made of sticks and mud. But a government experiment is sweeping Ivaporunduva into the digital age. As part of a larger plan to fight rural poverty, the government has installed a satellite-based Internet connection that is ending years of isolation for the village. Residents can m...
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

John Templeton Foundation Awards $1.5 Million In Support of Enterprise Solutions to Poverty

Source: Business Wire

John Templeton Foundation has awarded prizes of $1.5 million to three prominent think tanks in support of initiatives that explore what works in enterprise-based solutions to poverty. Winners of the Templeton Foundation What Works in Enterprise-Based Solutions to Poverty awards are: Fraser Institute, Vancouver BC, Canada, for a new initiative to measure economic freedom and how free enterprise throughout the Arab world is lifting individuals and families out of poverty in ...
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Monday, May 16, 2005 — No Region Specified

Adapting to a changing international scenario is what it takes to be successful.

Source: MoneyControl.Com

India is seeing a huge change in the pace of progress. With China's economy galloping along at such a fast pace, India has to do everything in its power to keep up and finally overtake the dragon. Professor of Marketing at Wharton School, Yoram Jerry Wind says that harnessing the power of the skilled human resources available in the country will help transform India. Chairman of ICICI Bank, KV Kamath told CNBC-TV18, that the Indian corporate scenario is embracing radical transforma...
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Monday, May 16, 2005 — No Region Specified

Communication to Empower People, by Rajendra Prabhu

Source: India Press Information Bureau

India has attained national telephone subscriber base of 100 million people, roughly nine per cent of the population. Only five years back, the country had just 28 million telephone subscribers. Today India?s telephone network of over 100 million subscribers is one of the largest in the world and second largest among the emerging economies, after China?. The last 20 years have witnessed dramatic changes in the global communication scene. It started with the recognition that telecommunicati...
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Saturday, May 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Govt to Launch Micro Finance Fund, Richard Mantu

Source: BuaNews (Tshwane)

South Africans who need start-up capital for their small businesses will now have an opportunity to apply for such loans through the Apex Fund. Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa is launching the South African Micro-finance Apex Fund (SAMAF) in Rusternburg in North West today. The launch will take place at Motswedi Village. The SAMAF is meant to stimulate development of small medium micro enterprises (SMMEs), opening doors to aspiring entrepreneurs who need loans less th...
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Saturday, May 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Toyota replants itself near emerging markets, by Norihiko Shirouzu

Source: Detroit News - Autos Insider

Mr. Drasko says he has tried Ford Ranger and Chevy S10 pickups and a Brazilian-built Nissan truck, but no vehicle has proved more reliable than Toyota Motor Corp.'s Hilux model. If you break down in remote oil fields, and it's winter, you're cooked, he says. Now, Toyota is banking on a new version of this sturdy workhorse and a couple of related models it will sell mostly in the developing world as a key part of its strategy to overtake General Motors Corp. as the w...
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Thursday, May 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

3M's Global Focus, by Brian Gorman

Source: The Motley Fool

The St. Paul, Minn.-based firm indicated that it is seeing slowing growth in the developed world and is getting mixed signals from economic indicators. As a result, 3M is counting on the developing world to provide for its future growth. Countries like China, Russia, Brazil, and India will account for almost half of the firm's total growth in coming years, according to company CEO W. James McNerney, Jr. Of course, 3M is no stranger to international sales, as 60.6% of total reven...
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Thursday, May 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Indian firm unveils low-cost Linux-based PCs, by Dinesh C. Sharma

Source: CNET News.com

Affordable computing devices have caught the attention of many technology companies targeting emerging markets such as India and Russia. Advanced Micro Devices, for example, has partnered with Tata Group to market its Personal Internet Communicator in India. And Taiwan's Via Technologies on Tuesday launched a reference design for a PC that would cost around $250. Encore said its computers target different segments of the low-end market, including students, small businesses, government ...
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

CCDI Takes Trees Protection Campaign to Borno, by Ben Nwabuwe

Source: This Day (Lagos)

The objectives of the project are to establish tree nurseries to encourage reforestation in localities affected by desertification and bio-diversity loss, to empower women through training in agro-forestry practices, energy conservation and tree nursery management and to provide them with environmentally friendly income generating activities. Adeleke explained that tree crops such as acacia, eucalyptus, gum Arabic, neem, date palm, guava and black currant were planted in woodlo...
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

1,000 knowledge centres in every State by next year

Source: The Hindu

The major aspects of the [village knowledge centres] are connectivity, content, capacity building and management. The bottomline should be the harnessing of information, communication and technology (ICT) for the elimination of poverty and malnutrition. The programme's impact should be measured in terms of progress made in human development indicators and in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Hitherto, the progress towards achieving MDGs has been slow, he said...
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

India's poverty: Help the poor help themselves, by Kirsty Hughes

Source: International Herald Tribune

India's government is backing a third, developmental approach that aims to improve the social and physical conditions of the rural and urban poor. This means more and better roads, improvements in water supplies and rural electrification; it also means big steps forward in education and health, together with efforts at microfinance. The fourth and most ambitious approach seeks to exploit the unused entrepreneurial abilities of the poor. In the state of Kerala, near India's sou...
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Tuesday, May 10, 2005 — No Region Specified

Via readies $250 PC for fall launch, by Michael Kanellos

Source: CNET News.com

Taiwan's Via Technologies plans to promote PCs that will sell for close to $250 this fall in an attempt to gain ground in the consumer market. The Terra PC is a reference design created by Via that will be licensed to PC makers around the world. The company will show off prototypes at the Computex trade show in Taipei next month, and systems are likely to hit the shelves in different markets in the world by September or October, said Ravi Pradhan, India country manager for ...
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Tuesday, May 10, 2005 — No Region Specified

Rural India's rough road to computer literacy, by Michael Kanellos

Source: CNET News.com

Shah--who works in the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, an organization that develops supercomputers here--has launched a computer program designed to alleviate the grinding poverty found throughout the country. In a pilot installation in a village near Mumbai, students use PCs, donated by Via Technologies, to perform geometry homework, while local women track their savings in a micropayment program. Later this month, college teachers from around India will take a three-week t...
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Monday, May 9, 2005 — No Region Specified

Pharma should eye Latin America, says PwC

Source: in-Pharma Technologist.com

Latin America shows considerable and untapped business potential for the pharmaceutical industry, according to new research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report, entitled Latin America Prescription for Growth , identifies the region as one pharmaceutical industry leaders should be targeting, both as an area for research and development and as a market for innovative drugs. The economic recovery of Argentina and Brazil and the strong manufacturing ba...
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Monday, May 9, 2005 — No Region Specified

Small box 'to end digital divide', by Jo Twist

Source: BBC News

A pared down computer to replace bulky, grey desktop PCs could help close global digital inequalities. Not-for-profit developers, Ndiyo - the Swahili word for yes - said it could open up the potential of computing to two billion more people. The sub-?100 box, called Nivo, runs on open-source software and is known as a thin client. Several can be linked up to a central brain, or server. Thin clients are not new, but advances have mad...
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Sunday, May 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

Charity weaves a new Cambodia, by Nick Cumming-Bruce

Source: International Herald Tribune

From wooden looms lined up under an open-sided, palm-thatched workshop, a bone-shaking drive of six hours from the nearest town - and that is when the weather is good - Ruen and her fellow workers are weaving silk scarves and fabrics of a quality that is starting to attract the interest of upscale stores and boutiques in New York and London. Weaves (Cambodia) offers governments and international aid agencies a rare example of the kind of enterprise the country desperately needs to overcom...
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Saturday, May 7, 2005 — No Region Specified

Ethiopia Takes Lead in African ICT, by Rodney Weidemann

Source: ITWeb (Johannesburg)

The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) officially launched the country's broadband service yesterday, in a move that will likely shame many richer African nations. Featuring offerings that include broadband Internet, VSAT and multimedia services, the project's aim is to get the East African country onto the information highway by providing a strong ICT infrastructure in order to bring technology to all its people. The ETC worked with numerous companies when setting...
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Friday, May 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

Biotechnology: Several developing countries now have well-developed programmes

Source: FAO

Research being conducted on GM crops and traits more relevant for food security Several developing countries now have well-developed biotechnology programmes; they are approaching the leading edge of biotechnology applications and have significant research capacity, according to a new FAO assessment on the status of research and application of crop biotechnologies in developing countries. Based on a review of the information in the FAO database on Biotechnology in Develop...
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Friday, May 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

Technology works, people don't

Source: OneWorld Africa

Study of pilot project using mobile phones for healthcare in Africa finds that technology works, but implementation, management and human factors are real hurdles. Bridges.org has conducted an in-depth investigation of a pilot project by the Cape Town Health Directorate that tested innovative uses of mobile phone technology to improve the treatment of Tuberculosis (TB) in its clinics. This is part of the City's efforts to fi...
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Friday, May 6, 2005 — South Asia

Can There Be Too Much Competition In Developing Nations? by Mike Masnick

Source: TheFeature

As the Afghan government looks to sell more cellular licenses, some are questioning whether or not there's going to be too much competition. Of course, that's a problem for the operators, not the regulators. In some ways, it's almost amazing that this discussion is even taking place. It wasn't long ago that using a mobile phone in Afghanistan was basically impossible. However, with the rebuilding of Afgh...
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Friday, May 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

Internet helps Africa via remittances and VoIP, by Danny O'Brien

Source: Irish Times

MamaMikes.com is a site run from the east African country of Kenya. It looks similar to a flower delivery website, or perhaps a mini African Amazon. It sells online an elaborate range of goods for delivery - 40 roses, a crate of Tusker beer, or a mocha chip cake. You can buy monthly shopping certificates for Kenyan and Ugandan grocery stores, mobile phone airtime or a petrol card. MamaMikes doesn't look like the internet trans...
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Thursday, May 5, 2005 — No Region Specified

Swaziland: Small And Medium a Recipe for Big Hopes, by James Hall

Source: Inter Press Service

For a country struggling with a stubborn unemployment rate of over 40 percent, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises seems a welcome solution to joblessness. So, it comes as no surprise that Swaziland's minister of enterprise and employment, Lutfo Dlamini, is an enthusiastic proponent of these businesses - commonly referred to as SMEs. Small and medium enterprises represent a grass-roots solution to the economic downturn. They are good for poverty alleviation...
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Thursday, May 5, 2005 — No Region Specified

How Foreign Investment can Facilitate Development, by Syed Mohammad Ali

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

Studies have shown that the poor end up paying more for banking, electricity, water and health care. An article in the Harvard Business Review argues that multinational companies in social service delivery areas could help create better quality of care Many development thinkers now agree that foreign investment can be a major building block in promoting development goals. Yet creating models for investment in markets where the majority of the people are poor is not easy. Channelling foreign i...
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Thursday, May 5, 2005 — No Region Specified

Eradicating Poverty Through Profit: World Resources Institute conference explores making business wo

Source: Green@Work Magazine

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 ?Eradicating Poverty through Profit: Making Business Work for the Poor.? Re...
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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 — No Region Specified

Nigeria: Much More Growth to Come, by Steve Wallage

Source: TheFeature

In the world's fastest growing mobile market, the ride has just begun Nigeria hit the mobile headlines in late 2003 when the ITU published its global subscriber growth rates for the year to June 2003, showing the country leading the world with a growth rate of 143% -- a figure that could have been even greater were it not for the fact that SIM card sales were suspended for 20 weeks due to too much customer demand. Yet, even now, with an active subscriber base of around 5.5 millio...
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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 — No Region Specified

New Group to Galvanize Business Role in Combating AIDS, TB and Malaria

Source: Global Business Coalition

Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBC) Appointed Private Sector Focal Point for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria Board of Directors Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, President and CEO of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBC), the pre-eminent organization leading the business response to AIDS, announced today that GBC has been selected to represent the private sector as the official focal point for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria Board of...
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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 — No Region Specified

UN postal agency unveils plan for migrants to send money back home electronically

Source: UN News Centre

Migrant workers around the world will soon be able to send money back home by efficient and reliable electronic transfers, eliminating the paper and manual work now involved with traditional postal money orders, under a joint project announced today by the United Nations postal agency. ?There is a strong trend for overseas workers to send part of their earnings home to their families, but the market response to this issue has so far been inadequate,? Universal Postal Union (UPU) Director-G...
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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cameroon: Farming in the Dark

Source: UN News Centre

Knowledge is power, and lack of knowledge about markets and prices is a key factor in keeping poor farmers around the world ?dirt poor.? African producers of cocoa and coffee, for example, earn as little as one twelfth of the international market rate for their crops. In the dark over the prices being realized in local as well as world markets, they remain at the mercy of middlemen, traders and corporations. What is true in Africa, is equally true in Asia or Latin America. Increasing ...
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Wednesday, May 4, 2005 — No Region Specified

Govt to set up business incubators to gear up SMEs

Source: The Rising Nepal

Vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Dr. Shankar Sharma Tuesday said that the government was planning to allocate budget for the development of business incubation in order to gear up developmental and business activities. ?The government has taken business incubation as a positive initiative, as world experiences have shown, it ensures over 80 per cent success of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs),? Dr. Sharma said while addressing a workshop of stakeholders on ?E...
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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Micro Loans, Solid Returns, by Eric Uhlfelder, with Ilma Ajanovic

Source: BusinessWeek

Microfinance funds lift poor entrepreneurs -- and benefit investors With about $200 of his own money and a $1,500 loan, Vahid Hujdur rented space in the old section of Sarajevo and started repairing, then reselling discarded industrial sewing machines. Eight years and several loans later, Hujdur now has 10 employees building, installing, and fixing industrial machinery. Hujdur didn't get his initial loan from a local bank. They were asking for guarantees that were impo...
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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Afghanistan to auction mobile phone licences, by Elizabeth Judge

Source: The Times

War-ravaged Afghanistan has become the latest frontier for mobile phone companies looking for unsaturated markets. The country, which is seeking to rebuild itself after the US invasion, is to auction off two mobile phone licences based on the GSM (global system for mobile communications) standard used in Europe. The licences are expected to go for millions of pounds each. But the Government hopes that the auction, which will take place during the next two months, will also raise up to $200...
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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Microcredit Makes Strong Inroads in Latin America and Caribbean, by Gustavo Gonz?lez

Source: IPS

Yunus, who founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1976, once again pointed out that the lowest-income clients have the highest payback rates of all, when they are given access to loans at reasonable interest rates, without having to put up collateral. He also underlined that 56 percent of the Grameen Bank's clients in Bangladesh (who are mainly women) have been able to leave behind extreme poverty. According to the main report presented at the summit, of the 54.8 million poor c...
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Tuesday, May 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

7,000 Women in Chipata to Benefit From Information Project, Kingsley Kaswende

Source: The Post (Lusaka)

Over 7,000 women in rural Chipata are to benefit from agricultural marketing information project called the Chipata Women's Mobile SMS project initiated by One World Africa (OWA) and Celtel Zambia. The project is an information for development project that aims to help women in rural areas of Chipata to access agricultural marketing price information and to disseminate the availability of produce for potential buyers through the use of SMS (short message service). One World Africa...
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Monday, May 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

Google foundation may invest in for-profit firms, by Jim Hopkins

Source: USA Today

Challenging convention, Google's maverick founders might join other entrepreneurs trying a capitalist approach to philanthropy. The nascent Google Foundation is weighing investments in for-profit firms that also pursue worthy causes. That's a switch from mainstream philanthropy, where money goes to non-profit charities. Complete story here. ...
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Monday, May 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

Unilever focuses on emerging markets

Source: The Star Online

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant, Unilever, is focusing on emerging markets in its quest for stronger global growth after implementing structural changes, a senior company executive said on Thursday. Doug Baillie, vice-president in charge of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Turkey, also told Reuters in an interview that Unilever might consider making an acquisition in fast-growing Turkey, though it had no concrete plans at present. ?We get 35% of our total revenues from emerging ma...
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Monday, May 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

Tech giant enters Kenya market, by Luke Mulunda

Source: The Financial Standard

The Communications Commission of Kenya, the country's telecom regulator, in January issued Afsat with a licence to operate public data communications services after the segment was liberalised last June. With the force of a ram raring to have a go at its opponent, Afsat has hit the ground running with its flagship product, iWay Africa. We can now provide Vsat services anywhere in Kenya, said Suleman, a tough-taking manager with an eye for big business. We have the coverage...
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Monday, May 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

Championing entrepreneurship, by Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Believe and inspire. This is the new battle cry of Jose Ma A. Concepcion III, presidential consultant for entrepreneurship, to get more people involved in the movement to increase the number of Filipinos running their own businesses. Small entrepreneurs are today's wealth creators, and tomorrow's big companies, Concepcion said in a speech during the recently concluded conference of the United Nations Development Program. For an economy to thrive, we must give...
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Monday, May 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

Business has responsibility and opportunity in Africa, by Niall Fitzgerald

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

There is an exciting business opportunity. African leaders, increasingly elected democratically, know they must commit themselves to good governance, investment, and economic growth. There have been big improvements in macroeconomic performance. Growth in gross domestic product will exceed 5 percent in 2005. The commission report should result in a big increase in investment, particularly for infrastructure. A successful completion of the Doha round will stimulate trade with and within Africa. ...
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Monday, May 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

New Delhi to Open Up Retailing Sector, by John Larkin and Eric Bellman

Source: The Wall Street Journal

India plans to open its booming but protected retail sector to foreign investment -- initially by providing access for international grocery companies -- as the government tries to answer growing pressure for bolder economic changes. Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said in an interview that the $190 billion retail industry, which has been growing as much as 5% a year recently, would be opened in a way that encouraged investment while protecting the jobs of millions of small shopkeeper...
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Sunday, May 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Whistle for a `photo taxi', by R. Narayanan

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Is there a service model available here that can enable self-financing brand-building? The camera industry needs to look at alternate revenue models by targeting the underserved customer at the bottom of the pyramid. It could come up with a service model that increases the number of users, and simultaneously builds brand equity for existing or new players. For this, we'll have to take a look at what the customer really wants. The customer did not want a camera in the first place....
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Sunday, May 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Malaysia launches major biotechnology drive

Source: Agence France Presse

Noting that in biotechnology the journey between discovery to cashflow is a long one, sometimes longer than the patience of conventional private sector investors, he pledged strong government support. The Malaysian government commits itself today to undertake the role of developer and catalyst of the country's biotechnology sector, he said in a speech announcing a national biotech policy. Abdullah outlined nine thrusts of the policy, the first t...
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Sunday, May 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

In S. Africa, a model bank for Third World, by John Donnelly

Source: The Boston Globe

For most of South Africa's working poor, doing business with a bank has been out of the question. One-month loans carried an average 30 percent interest rate. Many savings accounts lost money every month because of multiple fees. Now the poor suddenly have new options, including one that some analysts say could be replicated throughout the developing world. Perhaps the most promising initiative is offered by privately owned Capitec Bank, which opened five years ago as a micro-lend...
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