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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
Thursday, June 30, 2005 — No Region Specified

Straw improves water quality

Source: The Copenhagen Post

A Danish company has developed a drinking straw with an inbuilt water cleansing system. The straw is meant to fight diseases from polluted drinking water in Third World countries A Danish company has invented a drinking straw to fight cholera, typhus, and other dangerous diseases spread with polluted drinking water in Third World countries. The straw, which looks more like a flute than a conventional drinking straw, contains a built in water cleansing system, daily newspa...
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Microsoft expands low-cost Windows to Mexico, by By Ina Fried

Source: CNET News.com

Microsoft said Tuesday that it is expanding its Windows XP Starter Edition to include Mexico, with plans to eventually offer the low-cost operating system throughout Latin America. The software maker said that the Spanish-language Windows XP Starter Edition will be made available on new PCs starting immediately in Mexico and Argentina, with a goal of offering the OS throughout Latin America in the coming months. XP Starter Edition is similar to other flavors of Windows XP...
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

India's Renaissance: The $100 computer is key to India's tech fortunes, by Michael Kanellos

Source: CNET News.com

One of the critical ingredients for the $100 computer is probably in your garage. In about three months, a little-known company called Novatium plans to offer a stripped-down home computer for about $70 or $75. That is about half the price of the standard thin clients of this kind now sold in India, made possible in part by some novel engineering choices. Adding a monitor doubles the price to $150, but the company will offer used displays to keep the cost down...
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005 — No Region Specified

Spreading into rural India, by Nelson Vinod Moses

Source: Business Standard

BPOs are moving to villages Kizhanur is like any other village in Tamil Nadu?s Thiruvallur district, surrounded by paddy fields and grazing cows. But look closely at No:1 Sivan Koil street which is awash with a new phenomenon ? a business process outsourcing (BPO) version of ITC?s e-choupal. Chida Soft is a village BPO, doing coding on legal paper for an US client. It is run by entrepreneur Sharmila , 25, who supervises the Kizhanur franchisee of Lason India, ...
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Booming cell phone sector rare Africa success story, by Rebecca Harrison

Source: Reuters UK

Ask the head of leading African mobile phone operator Vodacom why last year's profits were so huge, and he points to the long lines of South Africans snaking from the company's flagship store in Johannesburg. Just look at all these people signing up for phones, marvels Alan Knott-Craig. They can't seem to get enough of them and these are ordinary folk, not white executives. Vodacom and its main rivals MTN and Celtel -- now part of Kuwait...
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Ground reality, by Prerna Raturi And Gouri Shukla

Source: Business Standard

Lessons that companies have picked up from the bottom of the pyramid Management thinker C K Prahalad strongly believes that focusing on the poor represents an opportunity rather than a problem. In India, companies that subscribe to this view, from ITC to HLL, have been constantly trying to cater to rural India, spread across 6,27,000 villages, which is home to 70 per cent of India?s population. What?s more, 90 per cent of the rural population is concentrated in villages w...
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Solar Stove to the Rescue

Source: This Day (Lagos)

The apparatus which comes as a set comprising an aluminium funnel, a tripod stand, a pot and safety device against reflection of sun rays, has been tested with different kinds of raw foods which were successfully cooked into edible meals. This stove can prepare all manner of food including beans, yam, infact all staple foods consumed in Nigeria can be cooked with this appliance, says Sogunro, adding you can even make eba with it if the required amount of garri and normal quanti...
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Monday, June 27, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Shea butter boosts W. Africa business, by Kwaku Sakyi-Addo

Source: Reuters

The shea nut trees grow easily in the savannah belt that separates the Sahara desert from the verdant, tropical coast of West Africa. They only start to bear fruit after 20 years, reach maturity after 45, but can go on producing for two centuries. Several countries in the region export 60,000 to 80,000 metric tonnes of shea nuts each year, but the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization says that could increase ten fold. Shea nuts could be big business for West ...
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Monday, June 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

Ifugao micro-hydro projects to be replicated in Ecija farming towns, by Desiree Caluza

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

This province's community-led micro-hydro power projects will be replicated in Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya to energize farming communities there. The establishment of the micro-hydro plants in the two provinces will provide electricity to the farming villages of Minuli and Capintalan in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, and some villages in Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, said Shubert Ciencia, spokesperson of the Rice Watch and Action Network of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement here...
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Sunday, June 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Chavez Promises Plastic Houses for Poor

Source: Associated Press

President Hugo Chavez toured a house made of plastic and promised to build thousands more like it for Venezuela's poor as he marked the creation of a national petrochemical company. Chavez said the new Corporacion Venezolana de Petroquimica, or Pequiven, will step up production of products from plastics to fertilizer as it begins operating independently from the state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. We are going to turn Venezuela into a petroch...
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Saturday, June 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

IFC Invests in New Africa-Focused Microfinance Initiative

Source: IFC

More than 300,000 small-scale entrepreneurs in some of the world?s most challenging economies are expected to be financed over the next five years by PlaNet Bank, a new global investment company for microfinance institutions launched this week. It is a joint initiative of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and PlaNet Finance , an international nonprofit organization dedicated t...
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Saturday, June 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cheaper mobile phone-based POS could make African credit card sales easier, by Mapara Syed

Source: Balancing Act

For years credit cards have failed to penetrate developing nations the way they have impacted the rest of the world. This is down to the fact that many merchants and traders in these countries do not accept card payments, only cash or cheques. Conventional card payment processing terminals are expensive and most African merchants simply cannot afford them. However, with the rapid growth of wireless technologies new options to bring electronic transaction authorisation to non-traditional location...
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Saturday, June 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mani Shankar Aiyar's Thai dream, by Sheela Bhatt

Source: Rediff.com

Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Panchayati Raj Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday announced a highly ambitious project called Rural Business Hubs, which will aim to eradicate rural poverty and create employment opportunity in rural India. If it is implemented successfully, the project will have far reaching consequences, it is said. Learning from China, Thailand and Japan's experience of commercialisation of the rural areas and its produces, India has de...
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Saturday, June 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

USAID Partnering To Help Africans Help Themselves Out of Poverty, by Bruce Greenberg

Source: USINFO

In sub-Saharan Africa, Natsios said, more than 2 million people die annually from malaria and many more succumb to AIDS-related complications even as millions more become newly infected with the virus. With the losses through death and the effects of the debilitating illnesses that prevent people from working, public services suffer, children are not properly educated, and economies begin to atrophy, he said. Natsios described projects USAID is spearheading to control the ravages of m...
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Friday, June 24, 2005 — No Region Specified

Hydro Power Development: Private Sector's Key Role, by Kamal Raj Dhungel

Source: The Rising Nepal

Poverty reduction, an agenda of the first quarter of the twenty-first century, is the main development goal of all developing countries. High economic growth rate is desirable to bring the dream of the goal of poverty reduction into reality. However, experiences have proved that high economic growth rate alone is not sufficient to eradicate poverty. Failures to achieve the national development goal are attributed to the declination of the policies as to how and where the resources of...
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Friday, June 24, 2005 — No Region Specified

Block by block, by Ricardo Sandoval

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

[Cemex] set out to study the ?auto-construccion? market ? the do-it-yourself home building business that dominates Mexico?s transitional countryside, where farming no longer yields even subsistence incomes, and in the ad hoc neighborhoods that seem to pop up almost overnight on the fringes of Mexico?s cities. The company put its faith in Hector Ureta, an urban planner by training who believed the company had to radically alter its business model to achieve new sales in marginal neighborhoods.
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Thursday, June 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

BVGH Announces Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to Expand Biotech Industry?s Role in Fight Ag

Source: BIO Ventures for Global Health

Four-year, $5.4 million grant will help companies overcome market and funding barriers BIO Ventures for Global Health today announced it will expand its efforts to enlist biotechnology companies in the fight to improve global health, with a new $5.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. BVGH is a nonprofit venture founded last year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, with support from the Gate...
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Thursday, June 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Microcredit: the anti-poverty tool, by Mohammed Azim Hossain

Source: Financial Express

Bangladesh can play a vital role for the creation of a microcredit environment within the region. Microcredit programmes can also involve: 1) education, 2) social and political awareness, 3) preventive health and nutrition awareness, 4) income generating activities, and 5) local resource mobilisation. It is possible to work with minimal funds if microcredit organisations implement a cost-effective methodology. The immediate impact of the above activities is that: 1) education increased the lite...
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Thursday, June 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Village banks offer hope in Asia, by Donald Greenlees

Source: International Herald Tribune

The concept of the village bank was brought to the people of Ban Taling Chan soon after the tsunami by Mechai Viravaidya, who became a celebrity in Thailand for promoting the use of condoms, curbing population growth and the spread of HIV. Mechai, chairman of the Population and Community Development Association, has a simple principle for his aid programs: The route out of poverty is business, not charity. Charity is a dead end, he said. Once your funds run out, you ...
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Thursday, June 23, 2005 — No Region Specified

Chinese seek resources, profits in Africa, by Rob Crilly

Source: USATODAY

Aid only goes so far, he says. The key is development. Chinese companies are building roads, providing telecom equipment and building power networks. It is important to our economy, but there is also a big benefit to the developing country because we bring a lot of experience in this field. Trade tripled from 2000 to 2004, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, as China tapped into Africa's natural resources and foreign earnings it needs to fuel rap...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

How to Help Poor Countries, by Nancy Birdsall, Dani Rodrik, and Arvind Subramanian

Source: Foreign Affairs

Summary: Increasing aid and market access for poor countries makes sense but will not do that much good. Wealthy nations should also push other measures that could be far more rewarding, such as giving the poor more control over economic policy, financing new development-friendly technologies, and opening labor markets. Getting Development Right The year 2005 has become the year of development. In September, at the UN Millennium Summ...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Banks adapt to cater for the fast growing informal sector

Source: IPP Media

It is evident from the Financial Times Banking Fair that banks are refining their offerings to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania, the fastest-growing segment of the business market in the country. The two-day Banking Fair was sponsored last week by this newspaper with an aim to bring together financial institutions and the public so that the lending-borrowing relationship is enhanced. The government is also pushing for banks to increase access to finan...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Social Fund Invest in SME Capacity Project

Source: Namibia Economist

Substantial support for SMEs came this week in the form of a Nedbank SME Development Project, which was launched on Thursday. Many SMEs disappear from the scene mainly due to the shortage of bookkeeping skills, said the Minister of Trade and Industry, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, in his keynote address to mark the project's official launch. Nedbank Namibia's Social Investment Fund will make available N$350 000 for SME development over a three-year period. The p...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mozambique President Armando Guebuza Unveils The Newly Branded 'Zambique' Cashew Nut for Export to U

Source: CSRwire

Effective U.S. Foreign Assistance Program Underscores Benefits of Win-Win Public-Private Linkages with African Entrepreneurs President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, leading U.S. government officials, and TechnoServe today unveiled a newly branded cashew nut, Zambique, for its first export sale to a U.S. buyer, Suntree. This brand launch and new business-linkage demonstrates how targeted U.S. f...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Fair-Trade Coffee Boost: Calvert Foundation Distributes Starbucks Investment Aiding Nearly 25,000 La

Source: PRNewswire

One Year After Investment: Pre-Financing Used to Make Possible the Sale of Over 22.3 Million Pounds of Coffee, Improve Circumstances for Small Coffee Farmers One year after the Starbucks Coffee Company invested $1 million to support Latin American coffee farmers, the Calvert Foundation reported today that it so far has recycled those funds into $2.7 million worth of loans to coffee cooperatives, b...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Grading scheme for microfinance institutions

Source: Business Standard

Rating agency Crisil and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) today announced launch of a grading scheme for micro-finance institutions (MFIs). As part of the MFI grading scheme, Nabard will reimburse banks the grading fees paid to Crisil. The scheme will be operational initially for a year. The scheme will support the grading of those MFIs having a loan outstanding between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 5 crore. ?Barring a few, most MFIs are u...
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 — No Region Specified

Glaxo and IAVI partner to develop AIDS vaccine

Source: Medical News Today

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK Biologicals) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) today announced a public-private partnership to develop an AIDS vaccine using a promising new technology. The collaboration - the first-ever in AIDS vaccine research between IAVI and a major vaccine company - will facilitate early research and development of GSK's non-human primate adenovirus vaccine vector as an enabling component of an effective AIDS vaccine. Under the agreement, ...
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Source:

The lives of about 50,000 human beings, mostly children, are cut short every day by avoidable poverty-related causes. These account for one third of all human deaths - 18 million every year. Hundreds of millions more suffer grievously from such avoidable medical conditions. The lives of even more are shattered by severe illnesses or premature deaths in their families. These medical problems strain the economies of many poor countries, thereby perpetuating their poverty which in turn contributes...
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Keke Has Given Hope To Many, by Nsikan Essien

Source: Newswatch

Alban Ofili-Okonkwo, Executive chairman of Autobahn Techniques Limited, is an ardent proponent of mass empowerment as a tool for wealth creation. This belief he has given practical expression through his Keke Nigeria Project, the first phase which has brought to fruition the Keke NAPEP initiative. At the last count, the Keke NAPEP initiative has seen the Obasanjo administration purchasing about four thousand ...
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Uganda Telecom targets rural areas for growth

Source: The Monitor

The heat in the telecommunication sector is high with players targeting virgin areas with new products. Bamuturaki Musinguzi asked Uganda Telecom Marketing Manager, Mr Hans M.F. Paulsen on the latest developments in the industry. How much have you invested since privatisation in 2000? Upon privatisation of Uganda telecom, we had to transform the company from a single provider into a competitive telecommunications provider with a wide range of services. To achie...
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Monday, June 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

GTZ And Chiquita Form New Public-Private Partnership In Costa Rica

Source: CSRwire

The German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and Chiquita Brands International are launching a new public-private partnership (PPP) initiative ? the Nogal Nature and Community Project ? in Costa Rica. The aim of this initiative is to preserve biodiversity, promote nature conservation awareness among the local population and create new sources of income for the people. On a Chiquita farm on the banks of the R?o Sucio in nort...
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Monday, June 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

ITC plans 30 rural malls; 2nd phase of e-choupal in 2006, by Mohan Padmanabhan

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Having successfully established the country's first private sector rural mall, ITC Ltd plans to open 30 more such malls in 2005-06, in synergy with its fast growing e-choupal network. ITC's rural mall - Choupal Sagar - is at Sehore in Madhya Pradesh. The construction of nine malls is nearing completion (three each in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). They may be opened within the next few months. The Sehore mall, housed in 5 acres of land,...
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Monday, June 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

IFC Lends Support to Microloans in Russia, by Anna Smolchenko

Source: The Moscow Times

The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank's private lending unit, signed its first deal to support microloans in Russia on Friday. The $1 million loan to the Russian Women's Microfinance Network is intended to support hundreds of microloans -- on average $1,500 each -- to entrepreneurs without the collateral to qualify for traditional bank loans. For us this is a very interesting project targeting segments of the population that are not being ser...
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Saturday, June 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Enterprising Women Reach Beyond Borders, by Ra?l Pierri

Source: IPS

The Calma?ana cooperative, now made up of 25 women, pioneered organic farming in Uruguay. Their products, marketed under the brand name CampoClaro, are sold in local supermarkets and exported to Spain and Italy. The women now hope to expand their horizons even further thanks to an international project know as WINNER (Women into the New Network for Entrepreneurial Reinforcement). WINNER, created by Devnet (an international network that provides business information and ma...
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Friday, June 17, 2005 — No Region Specified

Ericsson wins rural India GSM contract

Source: celluar-news

Ericsson has signed a US$250 million managed capacity expansion contract with Indian operator Bharti to provide managed services and expand its GSM/GPRS network into rural India. Ericsson's technology and managed services solutions will enable Bharti to expand into around 3000 towns and villages in 15 regions. The rollout of the first phase of this ongoing coverage expansion into rural India will start in July 2005. Ericsson also provides its Expander solution for rural coverage ...
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Thursday, June 16, 2005 — No Region Specified

Medicinal plant from Asia fights malaria, earns cash, by Tom Maliti

Source: AP Worldstream

Small farmer Atanasia Vincent Moshia stands proudly next to the knee-high plants she's growing to fight two African ills: malaria and poverty. In March, Moshia, who is also an agricultural extension officer with the Tanzanian government, switched from planting the corn and beans she's been growing for years to artemisia annua, from which artemisinin is extracted to make a drug or a combination of drugs used to treat malaria. She expects it to be a more lucrative crop.
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Thursday, June 16, 2005 — South Asia

Consortium plans computer kiosks for rural India, by Eric Auchard

Source: Reuters UK

Supporters of the project say they hope the Karnataka pilot will become a blueprint for setting up similar rural business centers in each village kiosk. Comat is working to digitize rural land records in stats across India. India has an estimated 147,000 rural villages. We see this as the 'rural services' blueprint for populations in developing nations everywhere, Kish said. The consortium is one of several Indian projects seeking to tackle ...
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Thursday, June 16, 2005 — No Region Specified

Wyse sees profit in bridging the digital divide, by John Ribeiro

Source: IDG News Service

Thin client computing vendor Wyse Technology has identified applications for bridging the digital divide as a new key market opportunity, according to an executive of the San Jose, California, company. The company announced Thursday that it is part of a consortium that is piloting in India a platform for the delivery of services to rural areas around its thin client technology. It is a significant market opportunity for us, but it is too early however to say what per...
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Thursday, June 16, 2005 — No Region Specified

An Entrepreneur Who Cares, by Jeffrey Gangemi

Source: BusinessWeek

Jeff Skoll earned his wealth as the first president of eBay. Now, he looks for ways that business can change the world for the better Jeff Skoll thinks -- and cares -- big. He caught the entrepreneurial bug long before 1995, the year he earned his MBA at Stanford University Graduate School of Business and became the first president of eBay, the online-auction site. This was after he had already launched two of his own computer consulting and rental businesses. A seri...
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005 — No Region Specified

Laptops for Kids With No Power, by Stephen Leahy

Source: Wired News

Though the first $100 laptop has yet to be built -- work is scheduled to begin in September -- the project's three corporate partners, Advanced Micro Devices, Google and News Corporation, have each pledged $2 million apiece and tech expertise. The first 6 million laptops are to be manufactured in China starting in 2006, project representatives claim, and orders from the Chinese, Brazilian and other education departments are expected shortly. The machines are intended for governme...
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005 — No Region Specified

UN chief highlights 'central role' of business in development

Source: AFP

Business has a central role to play in eradicating poverty in Africa, alongside debt relief and greater aid flows, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Tuesday. Speaking in Paris at a seminar on corporate responsibility in the developing world, Annan said the main responsibilty for meeting the UN's Millennium Development Goals by a 2015 deadline still rests with governments. But business has a centrol role to play, he sai...
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Enterprise Africa! Launches in South Africa: Researchers Dedicated to Finding and Documenting Africa

Source: PRNewswire

Researchers from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University (Virginia, USA) and the Free Market Foundation of Southern Africa launched Enterprise Africa! -- a project dedicated to finding and documenting the success stories of Africa's entrepreneurs. African entrepreneurs hold the key to economic prosperity in Africa, said Free Market Foundation Director Eustace Davie. South Africans in p...
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

IT-based agri information system, by MV Mahalakshmi

Source: The Financial Express

??We propose to collect data from 25 Agromet centres, under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) present across the country and 83 centres of NCMRWF and link them to the Virtual Academy for Semi-Arid Tropics (VASAT) of ICRISAT, krishi channels and Crop Weather Watch group. The first pilot project is expected to come up soon at Mehboobnagar district in Andhra Pradesh state, ?? Dr Ramakrishna said. The information needs of the farmer include some general information like w...
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Top tech program creates "cash goat" for villagers, by Hai Mingwei, Zhao Yanan

Source: Xinhua

A farmer in a secluded mountainous village in Sichuan Province, southwest China, Chen Wansheng had never thought or dreamed he could have anything to do with a top technological development program of the country. It was the yellow goat, an animal he had raised for over four decades, that related the farmer in the poor Yuquan village of Nanjiang county to the 863 Program, China's first high-tech research and development program launched in March 1986. Researchers dis...
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Lenovo mulls separate PC brand for India, by Michael Singer

Source: CNET News.com

We are thinking of introducing another brand under Lenovo, Deepak Advani, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Lenovo, told the Xinhuanet news service during a press briefing in New Delhi. Lenovo has developed some good products in China which might meet the need of (the) Indian market. For example, it has worked out products for those not very skilled in computer(s) or for schools where many students have to share one computer. Lenovo's pus...
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Monday, June 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Wall Street, UN experts mark International Year of Microcredit

Source: UN News Centre

The financial industry joined the United Nations today to discuss how the growing microfinance sector can benefit from the expertise of Wall Street. As part of the United Nations International Year of Microcredit, Wall Street professionals focused on their role-making financial services available to the vast numbers of poor and low-income people around the world who currently need them. In her opening remarks, Nane Annan, wife of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told attendees about he...
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Monday, June 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Growth better at reducing poverty

Source: Business Standard

Growth has been a more important factor than reduction in inequality in reducing poverty in India and the tertiary sector is the most important source of poverty reduction, said Tim Besley, Professor, London School of Economics (LSE). However, impact of growth on poverty reduction, varied with the specific policies adopted at the state level and with institutional factors, said Besley, while presenting a study on 'Operationalising pro-poor growth in India', which he has cond...
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Monday, June 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Nokia sees India driving cellular growth, by Ratnajyoti Dutta

Source: rediff.com

Identifying India and China as engines of mobile phone growth, Finnish cellular handset maker Nokia on Monday said global mobile phone users would swell to three billion by the turn of this decade. By 2010, Nokia estimates the global mobile subscriber base, which hit 1.7 billion (170 crore) at the end of 2004, to reach three billion (300 crore), said Urpo Karjalainen, senior vice president, Nokia, whose share in the global cellular market is around 28 per cent.
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Monday, June 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Lessons from microfinance, by Abheek Barua

Source: rediff.com

There has recently been a flurry of articles in the business media about the success of the microfinance initiative in India. (That is pretty much why I'm writing this piece now.) The collaboration of banks and financial institutions which provide the basic funds, the microfinance institutions (MFIs) that serve as intermediaries, and the self-help groups that collectively take these loans, seem to be making a substantial impact on rural incomes and poverty. Equally imp...
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Monday, June 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Taking Midas touch to Caribbean

Source: The Irish Times

Both C&W and Digicel agree that Digicel, by opening in April 2001 with extensive quality coverage throughout Jamaica, won over many rural people and communities, who for the first time had access to a telephone. These people will now probably never look for a landline, says Neita. Emigration is a big issue in Jamaica and so access to a telephone is very important. Remittances are also a major part of the economy and the creation of the Digicel network meant people in r...
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Banks Refine Offerings to Meet Growing Business Opportunities in Africa, by Stephen Gunnion

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

Banks are refining their offerings to small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa, the fastest-growing segment of the business market on the continent. Governments are also pushing for banks to increase access to finance for small businesses, which have been identified as a means to fight poverty and to add momentum to economic growth. However, limited access to information and credit, poor infrastructure and outdated systems often make it difficult for banks to lend to s...
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Intel sees 30% India sales rise in PC effort, by Chitra Somayaji

Source: International Herald Tribune

Intel, whose chips power 80 percent of the world's personal computers, says its role in helping consumers buy PCs for 499 rupees, or $11.45, a month will help achieve annual sales growth in India of 30 percent a year. India as a growing emerging market is central to Intel's strategy, Ketan Sampat, president of Intel India, said recently in an interview in Mumbai. The country's autorickshaw drivers and farmers see the PC as giving their childre...
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Global champions from emerging markets, by Jayant Sinha

Source: Bangkok Post

Conventional wisdom holds that companies in emerging markets face daunting obstacles when trying to expand internationally. According to this view, the same factors that make them successful at home--privileged relationships and assets, high tariff walls, and a captive market of local customers--inevitably work against them abroad. So what explains the rise of the emerging world's true global leaders, which operate diverse businesses profitably, at scale, and in a wide range of geographies?...
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

VW considers 'people's car' for new markets, by James Mackintosh

Source: Financial Times

Volkswagen is considering going back to its roots as the maker of Germany's people's car by building a ?3,000 ($3,700) vehicle for emerging markets. The carmaker, which became Europe's largest through the success of the low-cost Beetle, set up a team to examine how to make a car for ?3,000 a year ago, insiders said. But the company has not yet decided whether the 3K Project will go ahead. The project is part of a move by developed-world...
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Coca Cola to Invest $150m in Nigeria, by Francis Ugwoke

Source: This Day (Lagos)

The centerpiece of the integrated agricultural project will be a farm at Agenebode, Edo state which will grow citrus and pineapple. This is expected to be a big boost for agriculture in Nigeria as well as enhancing rural development. The investment will also be used to set up a Non Carbonated product centre(NCP) that will produce a wide range of juice concentrates and products using raw materials from the Agenebode farms. The senior adviser Mr Carl Ware recalled that Coca-Cola was the...
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Science and Technology Research, by Clive Cookson

Source: Financial Times

Related to the lack of scientific innovation is the absence of a risk-taking entrepreneurial culture, which is reflected in turn in a shortage of venture capital to fund companies spun out of research laboratories or universities. Lam Kong-Peng, director of Singapore's Biomedical Research Council, talks of the need to educate Asian investors, who tend to be more cautious than western investors. We are trying to create a new risk-taking culture of innovation and e...
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Lack of investment is the real tragedy in Africa, by Kurt Hoffman

Source: Financial Times

Whatever else happens as a result of the Make Poverty History campaign, lowering the risk perception of private capital with regards to investing in Africa and in African entrepreneurs should be its single most important goal. Those in charge of the campaigns will claim they have done what they can: engaging with big business and trying to make African countries more investment-friendly. But this will not be enough to persuade bankers - especially local bankers - to open their loan bo...
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Friday, June 10, 2005 — No Region Specified

US, African businesses partner for economic development

Source: Angola Press

The business climate on the continent of Africa is changing for the better as last year, Africa saw the highest rates of return on investment of any region in the world. Many international investors have already learned that they can earn money along with their African partners while making significant contributions to improving African economies-critical to addressing poverty. Now Americans, particularly small and medium business owners, are waking up to the win-win oppor...
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Friday, June 10, 2005 — No Region Specified

Training Will Open Doors, by Lesley Stones

Source: Business Day

A project billed as the largest technology training programme yet run in rural Africa has come to an end with 96 students graduating in Mogalakwena. The students completed a year of training at a technology-oriented community centre sponsored by Hewlett-Packard (HP). During the year they helped to launch an open-source software centre, built their own websites, developed their own business plans and were trained as call-centre agents. The mixture of skills is designed to p...
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Thursday, June 9, 2005 — No Region Specified

Joint science academies' statement: Science and Technology for African Development

Source:

Science, technology and innovation are familiar issues to the G8. In 2000 in Okinawa, G8 leaders established a task force to address the global digital divide, and at the 2003 summit in Evian, G8 leaders endorsed an action plan for science and technology in sustainable development. There is a clear continuing need for these important initiatives. We would like to stress, more generally, the fundamental importance of science, technology and innovation in tackling a wide range of problem...
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Thursday, June 9, 2005 — No Region Specified

Rwanda says R&D is critical to national development, by Talent Ngandwe

Source: SciDev.Net

Rwanda has identified a major role for science and technology in efforts to rebuild the nation, which eleven years ago was torn apart by genocide when more than 750,000 people were murdered. According to a draft policy on science, technology and innovation policy, Rwanda will integrate science and technology into all sectors of the economy. The national science, technology, scientific research and innovation policy outlines plans to apply science to Rwanda's problems i...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

Rural India Getting Richer? You Bet!

Source:

The Rediff Interview/ R V Rajan, managing director, Anugraha Madison Anugraha Madison has widely been credited with introducing the concept of rural marketing in India. The company was one of the first marketing firms to realise the potential of rural India and decided to focus on rural marketing. R V Rajan, chief managing director, Anugraha Madison, shares his views with Shobha Warrier on how rural India has changed over the la...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

The commercial challenge of solving the ills of the world, by Simon London

Source: Financial Times

What better time to read Capitalism at the Crossroads than in the wake of General Electric's announcement that it would invest big bucks in eco-friendly technology? The grandfather of industrial conglomerates believes it can make good profits from products that promote fuel efficiency and environmental protection. Stuart Hart , professor of sustainable global enterprise at Cornell's Johnson School of Mana...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

Beyond kleptocracy and Kalashnikovs, by Andrew Rugasira

Source: Guardian Unlimited

Many Africans are condemned from birth to a future of poverty, disease and premature death. In addition to this, the prevailing perception of Africans and their capabilities never transcends the confines of their so-called limitations. You are poor because you are poor. While poverty is an undeniable part of the African reality, it is only part of it. There is another side to the continent. For this we must go beyond the gloom and doom and see Africa as a land of opportunity and hope....
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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

Businesses sprout out of Africa, by Pia Sarkar

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Venture capital seeds startups, changes lives As Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bob King sees it, $100 to build a new business and potentially change the lives of 30 people in East Africa is a solid investment. For that reason, King has been contributing to the Village Enterprise Fund , a nonprofit organization based in San Carlos that provides one-time startup grants of $100 to small-business owners in Kenya,...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

Arthur D Little launches innovative publication

Source: Business in the Community

In 1999 Arthur D Little partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to look at how companies were integrating sustainable development into how they approached innovation. Five years on they set out to see what had changed and have now produced the Innovation High Ground Report . For this latest report Arthur D. Little collaborated with Hedstrom Associates and surveyed 40 tech...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

First rural-based ICT business centre in Ghana opened

Source: GNA

Ghana's first rural-based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) business centre, commenced operations at Nkurankan, a market town near Koforidua in the Yilo Krobo District on Tuesday. Sogakope in the Volta Region and Sege in the Greater-Accra Region were also expected to benefit from a similar facility, in the course of the year. Ghana Telecom (GT), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and two other partners, under a joint pilot project initiated th...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 — No Region Specified

Innovative Base Of The Pyramid (BOP) Approach Highlighted In Newly Released Report

Source: CSRwire

SC Johnson profiles stories of innovation and leadership around the world What do a Kenyan farmer earning less than $1 a day and a multinational corporation have in common? Thanks to a novel program initiated by SC Johnson , many Kenyan farmers who grow pyrethrum may look forward to increased crop yields, additional household income and improved quality of life. In exchange, the company helps develop a sus...
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Tuesday, June 7, 2005 — No Region Specified

Designing for Change in the Developing World, by Francis Raven

Source: Digital Divide Network

?Engineering doesn?t normally address challenges in the developing world, says Denise Kulawik, director of program development for Design that Matters (DtM), a nonprofit in Cambridge, MA. For a product to be successful in the developing world it has to be inexpensive, robust, and withstand harsh physical conditions. In addition, in rural communities, there are issues with the power system.? Design that Matter...
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Tuesday, June 7, 2005 — No Region Specified

The Social Entrepreneur, By Ahmed Namatalla

Source: Business Today Egypt

Most recently, Mansour has agreed to serve as chairman of the committee that will select Egypt?s social entrepreneur of the year. The competition, sponsored by the Schwab Foundation and Business Today Egypt, will offer the winner the chance to participate in the Schwab Foundation?s Global Social Entrepreneurship Summit this fall as well as next year?s World Economic Forum, among other incentives. Mansour says he accepted the chairmanship of the Egyptian search because ?it is important...
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Tuesday, June 7, 2005 — No Region Specified

10 Big Thinkers for Big Business, by Karen Breslau

Source: Newsweek

P ierre Omidyar Omidyar has made his largest investments so far in the field of microfinance, which empowers the poor around the world by granting tiny loans (often as small as $50) to poor people who want to become entrepreneurs. By helping a woman buy a sewing machine so she can start a clothing business or buy chickens to sell eggs, lenders not only profit from interest payments on the original loans, but also build a base of small-business owners who will continue to ...
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Monday, June 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

$25 cellular handset achievable within two years

Source: cellular-news

Within two years, and possibly within 12 months, the wireless handset industry is on track to design and manufacture low-end cellular handsets that cost US$25 or less to make, according to results of a recent survey conducted by Portelligent among the company's customers in the wireless and electronics industries. Among respondents to the survey, 80% reported a belief that a low-end GSM handset with a total bill-of-materials cost of US$25 can be achieved within two years or less,...
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Monday, June 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

Peace Through Entrepreneurship, by Stacy Perman

Source: BusinessWeek

A talk with Bpeace's Toni Maloney on her group's efforts to mentor small-business women from war-torn areas like Afghanistan When women have an economic stake in their communities, they'll have a stronger hand in shaping their communities and ultimately in promoting peace. That's the main contention of the nonprofit group Business Council for Peace . It was formed in 2002, when a handful of American businesswom...
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Monday, June 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

Innovative technologies win development awards, by Zablon Odhiambo

Source: SciDev.Net

A solar-powered oven, a cheap, eco-friendly pesticide, and a clean-burning charcoal briquette are among the innovations honoured last month by the 2005 World Bank Development Marketplace Awards . The awards, announced on 24 May, carry funding of up to US$150,000 to support the continuation of innovative pro...
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Monday, June 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

Speak Shop Wins Top Honors in Business Plan Competition for Socially Responsible Tech Companies

Source: PRWEB

Speak Shop , a pioneer in online face-to-face Spanish tutoring, was awarded ?Best Social Return on Investment? in the Social and Environmental Technology (SET) Inventors Challenge, tying with Differential Dynamics. The SET business plan competition challenges technology companies to save the world and investors to fund profitable solutions to global problems. The SET Challenge...
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Monday, June 6, 2005 — No Region Specified

Intel to develop PC platform for India market, by John Ribeiro

Source: IDG News Service

Intel may even design new processors for platform aimed at emerging markets in South Asia Intel plans to establish a platform definition center in Bangalore, India, to define a new PC platform appropriate for the Indian market and other emerging markets in South Asia, it announced Monday. Just as the Centrino was a platform we developed for the global market, we are developing, though on a smaller scale, a new platform for markets in India and the rest of South As...
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Saturday, June 4, 2005 — No Region Specified

Kozhikode to introduce e-literary programme

Source: UNI

After the successful implementation of the 'Akshaya' programme in the neighbouring Malappuram, the administration on Friday decided to introduce the e-literary centres in Kozhikode as well, aimed at addressing the socio-economic inequities in the society by bridging the digital divide. As part of the Kerala Government's ambitious plan to introduce the programme in other districts, the administration would set up 176 computer learning centres in various parts of the distric...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

International Prizes Awarded to the Best Start-Ups, Out of 700 Poverty Entrepreneurs in Business

Source: PRNewswire

Seven top Dutch CEOs and the Dutch minister of Development Cooperation, Ms. Agnes van Ardenne, presented this afternoon the awards to the winning entries of the Business in Development (BiD) Challenge at the Rabobank headquarters in Utrecht in The Netherlands. The BiD Challenge is the first international business plan competition ever to combine small entrepreneurial ideas with poverty reduction. 700 plans were submitted from all over t...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Traditional medicine 'important for neglected diseases', by Priya Shetty

Source: SciDev.Net

Research into traditional medicine is vital for to tackling diseases that affect the world's poor, according to intellectual property and health specialists who met this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The closed discussion of stakeholders from academia, industry and non-governmental organisations took place at a meeting organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health on 30-31 May. An open forum was held on 1 ...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — South Asia

Developing a Household Energy Generating Plant, by Isaiah Esipisu

Source: The Nation (Nairobi)

With only three dairy cows, David Kanyutu, has not paid a cent for domestic fuel in the last 35 years because his animals have been able to provide him and a neighbour with the required energy. The cows are able to service a heavy duty domestic biogas plant which serves the family of ten living in a six-roomed house for cooking, lighting television and radio facilities and providing warmth to chicken incubators. David Kanyutu explaining how his biogas plant in Gitamayu, Ki...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Minister Inaugurates Information Centres in UER

Source: GNA

Government is to establish Community Information Centres (CIC) in all the 230 constituencies to help create awareness on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the rural communities. It will also bridge the ICT gap between rural and urban centres and expose the people to the relevant information needed to combat poverty. Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Minister of Communications, made this known at the inauguration of two Community Information Centres at Bawku and Bolgatanga in the U...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Trickle-Up Economics, by David Armstrong with Naazneen Karmali

Source: Forbes

How low-tech, low-cost designs are helping the poorest farmers on Earth grow their way out of poverty. The famed economist Jeffrey Sachs prescribes classic foreign aid in his recent book, The End of Poverty : hundreds of billions of dollars, overseen by the United Nations and the World Bank, for health clinics, schools, bridges, roads and water supplies. Then there's Paul Polak, the 71-year-old founder of a nonprofit group that takes a minimalist app...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Designs On Poverty, by David Armstrong

Source: Forbes

Village Internet kiosks, rural wireless networks and solar-powered electricity generation all have been touted as high-tech salvation for those living in poverty. But for the poorest of the poor, getting online market quotes or wireless access takes a backseat to simply increasing income from daily labor. A growing cadre of designers is creating smart, cheap, low-tech devices that can often provide a more immediate boost out of the poverty trap. XACCESS BICYCLES Many bicycles in...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Spreading services in rural areas ? RBI proposes two business models

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Banks may soon be allowed to use business correspondents for disbursal of credit and collection of interest, in the rural sector. This is one of the recommendations of the Reserve Bank of India's Internal Group on Rural Credit and Micro Finance. The group has suggested the business facilitator model for providing non-financial services and the business correspondent model for providing financial support services to rural and farm sectors. Banks can use the business fac...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

World Bank, China join hands to fight poverty

Source: China Daily

The World Bank yesterday launched the China Development Marketplace (DM), a programme to identify and support innovative development ideas which can be expanded or replicated in China. The project is in partnership with the State Council Leading Group Office for Poverty Reduction and Development (LGOP) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Country-level Development Marketplaces (CDMs) are mini marketplaces for innovative ideas that address local development chal...
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Friday, June 3, 2005 — No Region Specified

Bioenergy Touted to ''Green'' Cities and Aid Farmers, by Stephen Leahy

Source: IPS

A pellet of dried grass. Not much to look at, but the tiny ball symbolises a technology that experts say can help meet our surging demand for energy while curbing poverty and global warming especially in developing countries where vast rural populations with no access to electricity and rapidly-expanding mega cities vie for material resources. Pelletised grass is just one form of bioenergy, which includes, biogas, bioethanol and biodiesel from crops such as sugar cane and beet, maize...
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Thursday, June 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

ZABG Set to Upgrade E-Banking

Source:

The Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) is working towards upgrading its e-banking technology into a fully-fledged internet and phone banking system which it expects to be in full swing by the end of this month. In an interview with the Herald Business, an official from the banking group said: E-banking is already in operation. However, we are now working towards selecting the appropriate software for the system before implementing it. E-banking, an electronic...
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Thursday, June 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

e-choupal to cast the rural Net wide

Source: Business Standard

The ITC e-choupal network aims to cover over 100,000 Indian villages, representing a sixth of rural India and linking up more than 10 million farmers, over the next decade. ITC today won the ?Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2004? from The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) for its e-choupal initiative. The award is designed to encourage social responsibility processes within the corporate sector. ITC e-choupal, an information technology-based interventi...
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Thursday, June 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

Prescription for combating global diseases, by Jean-Pierre Garnier

Source: Financial Times

Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation published its World Malaria Report providing an update on the battle to fight the silent killer of the developing world - malaria. In spite of some progress, the report makes bleak reading, as yet another goal - to halve the deaths caused by malaria by 2010 - looks unlikely to be achieved. Globally, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids are killing about 20,000 people every day, the vast majority in the developing world. The ...
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Thursday, June 2, 2005 — No Region Specified

Nokia Launches Phones For Emerging Market Growth, By Magnus Hansson

Source: Dow Jones Newswires

Nokia Corp. (NOK) Thursday unveiled two new low-priced mobile phones to help it bolster its position in emerging markets, which are fueling growth in the global handset industry. The two new phones will be very high volume, vice president Juha Pinomaa, who is responsible for so-called entry-level phones, said in a telephone interview with Dow Jones Newswires. The likes of Nokia are trying to exploit strong growth in developing regions like Africa, China and In...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Argentina: First-Ever Permit for Indigenous Community Radio, by Marcela Valente

Source: IPS

The first operating licence ever granted by the Argentine government to an indigenous community radio station is being hailed as a major step forward in giving a voice to this sector of the population, while posing formidable challenges. The FM radio station, which has been operating without a licence for six years and has yet to be given a name, is run by the Mapuche Indian community of Linares, made up of around 700 members and located in the municipality of Aucap?n, in the southern...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Microfinance gets the 'big' idea, by Saswati Chakravarty and J Padmapriya

Source: The Economic Times

The movement may well have started two decades ago as a small measure to help the poor. But Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs) have today outgrown their shoes. They are looking at new structures and fresh funds to scale up in a market where demand outpaces supply by miles. Leading MFIs will tell you that there is a full-blown business opportunity waiting to be tapped. Don't be surprised if many of these organisations, working at grass-root levels, have drawn up blueprints th...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

MFIs turn 'profitable' for capital market access, by Saswati Chakravarty and J Padmapriya

Source: The Economic Times

Ramesh Ramanathan, vicechairman of Sanghamitra, says: ?There is no conflict between the objective of reaching the poor and the institutional structure you adopt.? Vijay Mahajan, MD of Basix India, a bellwether MFI, says there are about 3,000 micro-finance bodies in India, of which seven have become NBFCs structured with investors, around 20 have registered as not-for-profit organisations while 980 are still societies and 2,000 are mutually-aided societies. Though there are 3,000 playe...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Micro finance is good business for ABN AMRO, by L.N. Revathy

Source: The Hindu Business Line

For ABN Amro, micro-finance has proved to be a viable and sustainable business opportunity. The bank has, within a year of launching micro-finance operations in India, managed to break even. The finance support to needy groups is routed through micro-finance institutions (MFIs). The bank has identified 12 MFIs in the last year-and-a-half. Six more are in the pipeline, its Vice-President and Head (Micro-Finance), India, Ms Moumita Sen Sharma, told Business Line.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Optimism brewing in Africa, Graham Mackay

Source: Business Day

The Africa World Economic Forum starts today amid high hopes for the continent. This year is being hailed as a significant one for Africa with the New Partnership for Africa?s Development (Nepad) and the Commission for Africa having succeeded in making Africa a central item on the Group of Eight (G-8) agenda. It is easy to be cynical about the prospect of another confe...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Economic growth alone will not solve Africa's woes, By Ed Stoddard

Source: Reuters

Countries like Angola and Equatorial Guinea should be in a headlong rush to affluence -- at least that's how it's supposed to look on paper. Sub-Saharan Africa's second and third biggest oil producers have seen the kind of huge growth and investment that ought to translate into rising living standards for people in both countries, according to conventional wisdom. Try telling that to the Angolan slum-dweller or the shoeless peasant in Equatorial Guinea,...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2005 — No Region Specified

Designing a better world, by Richard Goering

Source: Electronic Engineering Times

Engineering at its best is about solving problems, not just cramming more megabytes onto a bus. And one place that's crying out for solutions is the Third World. Can the problems there be met by interesting engineering solutions that lead to sustainable businesses? Increasingly, corporations and academics are saying yes. February brought news of ultralow-cost PCs in the works from the likes of AMD, HP and Via Technologies. The idea is to wire up the developing world with l...
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