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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, July 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Bandwidth Barn Celebrates Success

Source: Business Day

Cape-based technology incubation centre UUNet Bandwidth Barn is celebrating its fifth anniversary by boasting a success rate of 78%. Since its creation in 2000, the Barn has become SA's most successful incubator for fledgling hi-tech companies, says GM Odette Potter. In the past five years, of the 142 businesses that have passed through our doors 111 are still in operation. This overall success rate is astonishing considering that most companies come to the Barn...
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Thursday, July 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

GE Opens Office in Nairobi, By Kaburu Mugambi

Source: The Nation (Nairobi)

The world's top electric appliances maker yesterday opened a regional office in Nairobi. General Electric international president and CEO (chief executive officer), Nani Beccalli, said the company believes there will be a significant growth in demand for its products in East Africa's transport, energy and health industries over the next few years. Our new office in Nairobi presents an opportunity for us to be close to our customers, including Kenya Airways, K...
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Thursday, July 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Rural finance: Making poverty history

Source:

Just 25 km from Udaipur, the tourist town in Rajasthan famous for its luxurious Lake Palace hotel, lies the village of Chapra, a warren of earth huts and crumbling concrete shelters. This low-status tribal community is on the point of becoming integrated into India?s financial system through self-help groups that provide simple saving and lending services. Radhi, whose husband owns the village mill and tea stall, maintains a neat ledger for one of the four self-help groups (SHGs) that...
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Thursday, July 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cheap computing for millions!, by Harichandan A A

Source: Rediff.com

Novatium Solutions, a Chennai-based startup is building a $100 (Rs 4,300) computer using the thin client architecture. This, the company hopes, will take computing to the next billion. In Bangalore, Encore Software is engaged in a similar experiment. Its SofComp is being promoted as a sub-Rs 10,000 mobile computer. Earlier, the company had developed the handheld Simputer with the help of professors from the Indian Institute of Science in the city. S...
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Thursday, July 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

Unitus Announces 6th Microfinance Partner In India

Source: PRNewswire-AsiaNet

Unitus today announced a $1.1 million investment in microfinance institution (MFI) Grameen Koota (GK) in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The MFI partnership will help GK grow from serving 22,000 to 500,000 clients by 2009. Unitus will provide up to $1 million in catalytic debt and a $100,000 grant for investment in human resources development and implementation of improved management info...
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Thursday, July 28, 2005 — No Region Specified

A New Threat To America Inc., by Jeffrey E. Garten

Source: BusinessWeek

The biggest challenge posed by these up-and-coming rivals will not be in Western markets, but within developing nations. That's the arena of fastest global growth -- and home to 80% of the world's 6 billion consumers, hundreds of millions of whom have moved into the middle class. Through long experience working in a Third World commercial environment, companies such as India's Bajaj Group (transportation), Egypt's Orascom Telecom, and Turkey's Sabanci Holdings (packaging, ti...
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005 — No Region Specified

'Do-gooder' companies strike gold in South Africa

Source: Reuters

Companies the world over face pressure to pump profits back into the community, but in South Africa -- blighted by AIDS and the legacy of apartheid -- doing good has become a crucial component of success. Eleven years after the end of white rule, South Africa is battling the heaviest caseload of people with HIV, some of the world's biggest wealth disparities and a patchy education system that still fails most poor students. At the same time, the government is pushin...
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mobile payphone boost for SMEs, by Itumeleng Mogaki

Source: ITWeb

A GSM handset that street vendors can use as a public payphone could create a million jobs in Africa over a 24-month period, says its creator. The payphone developed by Cape Town-based SharedPhone International targets informal business owners such as taxi owners and hairdressers, who can then make the service available to anyone who cannot afford a handset or airtime. Described as a breakthrough technology in the GSM telecommunications sector, the payphone has been rolled...
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mobile phones boost Kenya's small businesses

Source: Reuters

The mobile phone has become the most essential work item for small businessman who, like so many others in the East African nation, makes a living from various different jobs at the same time. Thanks to an explosion of growth in the mobile phone industry in Kenya over the past five years, handyman Alex Theuri says his plumbing-electrical business has grown by about 50 percent. He also operates a community payphone via the mobile network and further cashes in on the boom b...
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mobile phones boom in Tanzania, by Simon Hancock

Source: BBC News

Call centres have sprung up all over Tanzania. Most people do not actually own phones, so this is how many people communicate. It is a good business, and once again these phones are connected via GSM rather than landlines. Others have developed even simpler businesses based around mobiles, such as reselling their air time to others, or make a living sending and receiving text messages. Mobile phones seem to have created a new sector of the economy, and some now ...
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005 — No Region Specified

Chutzpah Science, by Elizabeth Corcoran

Source: Forbes

Bill Gates' $28.8 billion foundation is more than double the size of the runner-up, the $11 billion Lilly Endowment, and the projects it has taken on are supersize. On the top of the agenda: battling the diseases that plague developing nations. The Gates Foundation has already pledged $1.5 billion to bring routine vaccines to the poorest children around the world. Now Gates wants to push scientists to create a more powerful arsenal. To put together its list of 14 challenges...
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Monday, July 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

A Little-Explored Avenue for Expanding Outreach

Source: UNCDF: Microfinance Matters

Islamic financial services (IFS) can be viewed as an element of the broad process of financial innovation and diversification of the financial landscape. IFS are continuing to evolve in response to market demand and regulatory developments. Basic Principles of Islamic Finance Islamic finance is broader than interest rate prohibition. The general perception of Islamic finance is that it prohibits the practice of paying and receiving interest. Actually the prohibition i...
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Monday, July 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Indigenous Latin Americans Look Far North for a Model, by Marcela Sanchez

Source: Washington Post

Some native peoples of the Andes are looking north for a new model of development -- but farther north than you might think. They are not asking for access to micro-enterprise loans or for ways to migrate to richer lands. They are thinking big and talking big money. They are imagining homegrown, for-profit corporations where indigenous people are shareholders and multinationals are business partners. To be exact, they are talking corporate capitalism according to the Alaskan model.
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Monday, July 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Calvert Foundation Boosts Microlending To Women-Owned Businesses In Middle East

Source: CSRwire

The non-profit Calvert Foundation is launching a new Middle East Microcredit Giftshare project in order to extend much-needed microloans to woman-owned small businesses owners and other entrepreneurs in the Middle East. Calvert Foundation is putting up $25,000 for investment in the Microfund For Women in Jordan (MFWJ). Recently, attention has focused on the growing demand for micro-financing in the Middle East. The number of women and others in desperate need of loans for small-busine...
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Monday, July 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Business Boot Camp: Social Entrepreneurs From Around the World Come to Santa Clara U. to Grow Their

Source: Business Wire

Armed with the knowledge that good intentions do not a successful venture make, 15 grass roots innovators from around the globe will come to Santa Clara University and Silicon Valley this summer to immerse themselves in a two-week business boot camp. Mission: To emerge with a cohesive business plan that will bring their ventures to resource-strapped regions of the world. Starting July 31, entrepreneurs and technology innovators will participate in a two-week incubator pro...
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Monday, July 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

Hatchery business: Dhala villagers set laudable example, by Mahmudunnabi

Source: The New Nation

Only 14 kilometres away from the thana town Trishal in Mymensingh district, there stands a small hamlet named Dhala of about 7,000 people on the bank of the Brahmaputra. Inhabitants of the area were once seriously suffered due to poverty and finding no other option many of them used to resort to criminal activities just for survival. Commuters traveling by Dhaka-bound train when halted at the Gaforgaon rail-station cautioned one another of pickpockets and of theft, because ?Dhala was not far fro...
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Monday, July 25, 2005 — No Region Specified

VoIP on a bike, by Ephraim Schwartz

Source: InfoWorld

A bicycle-powered, Linux-based VoIP system: not your usual high-tech architecture. But what if you were one of the more than 1 billion people living without electricity? No power, no phone. The mission of Inveneo, a nonprofit group of inveterate high-tech adventurers, is to bring developing communities that never reached a 20th century level of infrastructure into the 21st century. Its bicycle-powered system brings not just VoIP but also e-mail and Web browsing to remote areas, ...
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Thursday, July 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Landmark conference to held on doing business in developing countries

Source: Ethical Corporation Press Release

Ethical Corporation will hold a 2-day conference from 18-19 October 2005 in London. The event will focus on how companies in developing countries can practically work on improving their social, environmental and corporate governance practices in developing countries. Today?s businesses face a huge challenge in defining responsibilities associated with the social, environmental and governance components of sustainability in their developing markets . ...
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Thursday, July 21, 2005 — No Region Specified

Developing Nations Represent Market Opportunity Theme of TIA Session at SUPERCOMM

Source: PulseOnline

TIA, the national U.S. trade association for telecommunications, hosted a Market Development Forum, The Other 4 Billion: Telecom in Emerging Nations, at SUPERCOMM? 2005. The session provided insight on the communications infrastructure needs of developing nations, programs designed to help expand access to technology, growth patterns and the impact of regulation on market development. Panelists discussed the opportunities and challenges for low-...
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

Everybody loves a good rural mart

Source: Business Standard

As urban market is getting saturated, rural market is rapidly occupying the centre table of discussion for both the corporate world as well the top business management schools ( B-School) of the country. The rural market has been growing at 12-13 per cent as compared to 7-8 per cent growth of urban counterpart, over the last decade. Moreover, the urban market is getting saturated and corporate are now looking sincerely towards the rural market in a much serious way,said P...
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

Drumstick farmer puts Indian village on global map

Source: OneWorld South Asia

An enterprising farmer from a village in Maharashtra's Nashik district has begun exporting drumsticks to far off places in the world via online. Balasaheb Marale is the drumstick king of Maharashtra! A poor and unknown farmer who supplied to the local markets for years, now he has gone online and international. Marale gets his orders at Drumstick India and supplies to NRIs the world over - from his village Si...
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005 — No Region Specified

The Sweet Herb of the Guaran?, by Alejandro Sciscioli

Source: IPS

As the business gathers force, a side benefit for social development grows in parallel, due to the high profits for the producers and the great number of workers needed to tend to the crop. Fischer explained that the Chamber suggests planting 50,000 to 60,000 plants in every half-hectare. That size of a plot provides permanent work for four people in controlling weeds and pests, which must be done by hand because agrochemicals and insecticides are not used. The small farm...
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Monday, July 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Sachet Marketing

Source: Trendwatching.com

Thinking small in large volumes--the essence of sachet marketing--yet never losing brand focus, could open up entirely new markets for many of the worlds B2C and B2B manufacturers and service providers. If your customers are willing but cash strapped, think micro loans, think mini-sizes, think light versions, think leasing, think bundling, think reselling, think making money and paying respect to your future affluent customers. ...
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Monday, July 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Successes in rural inventions, by Santosh Sinha

Source: BBC News

Mansukhbhai Jagani is not your typical inventor. He dropped out of school at the age of 10 due to financial hardship. After working at the family farm in India's western state of Gujarat, he moved to Surat to work in the diamond-cutting industry there. At 18, Mr Jagani returned to his village without much hope for the future. But in the 22 years since, he has chalked up three inventions - a motorcycle-driven field cultivator, a seed-cum-fertiliser...
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Monday, July 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

Business urged to rethink profit drive, by Karima Brown, Jacob Dlamini and Hopewell Radebe

Source: Sunday Times

Government has extended its economic rethink to corporate SA, calling on business to look beyond its annual financial statements and focus on the long-term economic and political interests of the country. Deputy Finance Minister Jabu Moleketi, who is driving the rethink, said that companies' current profit margins could not be sustained in the long run. He called for a debate on what sort of profit margins, what sort of returns are justifiable, and wh...
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Monday, July 18, 2005 — No Region Specified

G.E. Becomes a General Store for Developing Countries, by Claudia H. Deutsch

Source: The New York Times

For the first time, G.E. has rolled aircraft engines, rail products, water, energy, oil and gas equipment, and even some finance units, into one all-encompassing collection of businesses, aimed at helping developing countries come of age. One of the biggest reasons behind creating the infrastructure unit is to offer one-stop shopping to developing countries, Mr. Calhoun said. In fact, revving up sales in emerging countries has become the overarching goal behin...
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Thursday, July 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Technologies 'to aid the poor', by Jo Twist

Source: BBC News

The best way to help developing nations is to recognise that development is of the people, by the people and for the people, says a Bangladeshi entrepreneur. Iqbal Quadir, Grameen Phone founder in Bangladesh, told experts gathered for TED Global in Oxford that aid strategies for the last 60 years had failed. Technologies such as mobiles empowered people because they connected them. This, he said, fuelled productivity much more than the top-down aid ...
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Thursday, July 14, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mutual Benefits of Profits from Poverty

Source: BBC News World Edition

Next time you take a taxi in Nairobi, you might not need cash to pay the fare. Instead, you?d text message the fare?s value in surplus mobile phone minutes to your cabbie using Safaricom?s pre-paid airtime cards. The model is similar to Smart Communications?, as first reported in a Digital Dividend What Works case study last summer. It targets low-income entrepren...
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Global business finds out that new markets and responsibility go hand in hand in Africa

Source: Financial Times

GIVEN the focus of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit of world leaders and the Africa Commission, it may come as no surprise that among the Business in the Community awards being handed out this year, a new accolade ? the Oracle International Award ? recognises efforts to promote development in Africa. ?The award will highlight company practice on the continent,? says Peter Davis, deputy CE of Business in the...
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Africa's entrepreneurial vision, by Claire Bolderson

Source: BBC News

The clothes in Herbet Massissi's shop in Kampala are made of brightly coloured fabrics turned into original designs by his wife Anne. Many who escaped wars in Uganda are now returning The material is all created on silk screens in the workshop at their home in the Ugandan capital where they employ 14 people. Mr Massissi is one of a growing number of Ugandans who have returned after spending years abroad avoiding the endless wars. Now ...
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

Keeping it local in Africa and Asia, by Ian Limbach

Source: Financial Times

?We are helping to create a middle class in Afghanistan,? says Karim Khoja, chief executive of Roshan, the country?s second mobile phone provider. ?Our shareholders could have brought their own people here and sold the service themselves - they would have made more money. But we are here to create an Afghan business environment. So we hired locally and looked for small businessmen as partners,? he adds. Roshan, launched in 2003, employs nearly 500 staff, most of whom earn salaries sev...
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005 — No Region Specified

P2.8M-village coconut mill to alleviate poverty

Source: Sunstar

Members of the Lawa Workers Multi-Purpose Cooperative established the first village-level coconut oil processing mill worth P2.870 million in Barangay Lawa, Don Marcelino, Davao del Sur to help alleviate poverty in the municipality. The cooperative built the Lawa Integrated Coconut Processing Plant with the assistance of the United Nations Development Program-Support for Agrarian Reform Development for Indigenous Community, Land Bank of the Philippines, and Department of Land Reform. ...
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005 — No Region Specified

Vodadukas to be powered by solar energy

Source: Guardian

In an empowerment initiative aimed at rural and other areas of Tanzania where electricity supplies are scarce or absent, Vodacom Tanzania has announced that they are rolling out Vodadukas powered completely by solar energy. ?In places where people like without infrastructure such as electricity and good roads, we believe these mobile solar-powered units will have considerable impact on the standard of living and help create jobs,? says Vodacom Tanzania?s Managing Director. Romeo Kumal...
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Monday, July 11, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cheap Is New Cell-Phone Mantra

Source: Wired News

Pricey smartphones might get all the attention. But these days, much of the mobile industry is focused on making phones for people who today can't afford even a basic handset. For instance, Philips Electronics recently announced that it has the electronics required to make a mobile phone that can be sold for less than $20. By 2008, the company hopes to be able to support handsets that cost less than $15. The GSM Association, a trade group for mobile operators using GSM technolo...
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Sunday, July 10, 2005 — No Region Specified

Titan plans to strap on rural market

Source: Business Standard

Watch maker Titan Industries intends to focus on rural and semi-urban markets to tap first-time watch owners. ?Our agenda is to expand the market over three to five years and increase market share,? said Bijou Kurien, CEO-watches, Titan Industries. The company, is a leader in the organised domestic watch market, with a share of over 65 per cent. Kurien said it was necessary for the company to maintain its current growth rate. ?The agenda is clear. We have to focus on incre...
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Sunday, July 10, 2005 — No Region Specified

Tourism becomes a tool to tackle poverty, by Paul Miles

Source: Financial Times

The traditional east coast destinations of Kenya and Tanzania are booming, according to Nigel Vere Nicoll, chief executive of the African Travel and Tourism Association, the trade association for tour operators featuring Africa. There aren't enough beds and everywhere is fully booked. New destinations such as Ethiopia and Gabon are coming into the frame, he says. In 2002, Gabon's President Bongo announced the formation of 13 nati...
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Friday, July 08, 2005 — No Region Specified

Businesses commit to help fight poverty

Source: BusinessWorld

Businesses committed yesterday to help raise P3.2 billion over the next four years to finance programs on reducing poverty, promoting entrepreneurship, and improving education, among others. The fund raising, with money to come from businesses themselves or from funding agencies, will be facilitated by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a private and nonprofit foundation dedicated to promoting business commitment to social development. PBSP Chairman Manuel ...
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Friday, July 08, 2005 — No Region Specified

African biofuel plantations just right for G8 agenda, by David Blackwell

Source: Financial Times

D1 Oils could help fight poverty and global warming The G8 summit and and Live8 have put global warming, secure energy supplies and poverty in developing countries centre-stage this week. But there cannot be many listed companies hovering in the wings that are able to offer solutions to all three problems. So it appears an appropriate time to turn the spotlight on the humble jatropha tree and D1 Oils, the Aim-listed company that is planning to plant millions of hectares of...
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Friday, July 08, 2005 — No Region Specified

Aid will go only so far in helping Africa (Opinion)

Source: The Times of London

Developing countries need fair access to world markets to break free of the red tape, corruption and historical shackles that keep them mired in poverty, argues Paul Myners. Countries, like individuals, tend to get richer by making money rather than receiving handouts. But countries need a start. They need the basics. Jeffrey Sachs, the development economist, has a useful image: the poor have to get on to the ladder of development; but the ladder hovers overhead and they ...
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Friday, July 08, 2005 — No Region Specified

Seeing Green in Africa, by Carolyn O?Hara

Source: Foreign Policy

While rich-country leaders look to heal Africa with generosity, China and India are helping to pull Africa out of poverty with good, old-fashioned greed. As leaders of wealthy countries pat themselves on the back for debt relief and development assistance to Africa, China and India are doing their part to help develop Africa?s economies. The two Asian giants are pouring funds into the continent to find energy for their superheated economies and markets for their products....
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Thursday, July 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Calling an end to poverty

Source: The Economist

All eyes are on what governments can do to end poverty, with aid, debt relief and trade top of the agenda at this week's G8 summit. But what about the role that business can play?and, in particular, technology firms? It is increasingly clear that, when it comes to bridging the ?digital divide? between rich and poor, the mobile phone, not the personal computer, has the most potential. ?Emerging markets will be wireless-centric, not PC-centric,? says C. K. Prahalad, a management scholar and au...
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Thursday, July 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Study Challenges Assumptions About Money Being Remitted to Mexico

Source: The New York Times

Sending money home to Mexico is a ritual in the migrant experience in the United States. The modest wire transfers of cash pay for food, school supplies, even a new home for family members left behind in Mexico. But a new study has cast doubt on the amount of transfers - $16.6 billion last year - that actually goes to families. The study, by an official in the Social Development Ministry and two professors at the College of the Northern Border, a research institute outside Tijua...
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Thursday, July 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Limpopo Farmers Sell Fresh Produce By Cellphone, by Lesley Stones

Source: Business Day

The hand-embroidered skirts and bead-encrusted shawls of Makuleke village in Limpopo have been joined by an another equally decorative accessory -- the cellphone. Farmers in the rural community have become the first in SA to test a project giving them instant access to produce prices over their cellphones. The farmers on the edge of the Kruger National Park have struggled to make decent money from their crops, not realising the tomatoes and onions they resell for a few cen...
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Thursday, July 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

US Business Leaders See Pockets of Opportunity in Africa, by Serena Parker

Source: VOA News

American business leaders say they welcome the increased attention, but are quick to point out that while much of Africa remains mired in poverty and disease, there are pockets of opportunity. Joseph Grandmaison, who sits on the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, says American companies shouldn't be scared off by a conflict in one part of Africa. I tease friends by saying 'we're not very good at geography.' The fact is ...
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Thursday, July 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Shot To The Heart

Source: The Economic Times

Marketers are using every P in their arsenal... Whether it?s product innovation, pricing, placement strategy or promotion, the target is the same: Penetration, the biggest P of them all. There are millions of Indian consumers who?ve never tasted a Coke or a Pepsi, visited a mall or flashed a credit card in their entire lives. They live, eat, and shop in a world that most brands we know of aren?t a part of ? they?re the much-hailed market, once famously described as the ma...
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Thursday, July 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Seaweed Farming Helps Women in Tanzania

Source: Associated Press

When 21-year-old Mwajuma Hamisi finished high school a few years ago, the only future she could envision was finding a husband as quickly as possible, to spare her family the burden of taking care of her. Instead, Hamisi found seaweed. Used by companies in the West as an additive in processed meat, toothpaste, mascara, beer and other products, seaweed is helping villagers in this Indian Ocean archipelago find their way out of poverty -- and has improved the lives of women in ways they...
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Thursday, July 07, 2005 — No Region Specified

Source: Ethical Corporation

The private sector is convinced that it can contribute to one of the G8 summit?s key aims by playing to its strengths. As the G8 leaders? summit opens at Gleneagles in Scotland in early July, world poverty is expected to be high on the agenda. The decision to cancel all debt for 18 developing countries this month has set the ball rolling. British prime minister Tony Blair, who heads the G8 group this year, has repeatedly said since the World Economic Forum in January that Africa ...
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005 — No Region Specified

Profits, A Penny At a Time

Source: The Washington Post

At the Group of Eight summit this week in Gleneagles, Scotland, the leaders of rich countries will be talking about how they can aid poor countries. That's a noble mission, but a remarkable new book argues that it misses the point. Treating the poor as wards of the global economy ignores the fact that they are a vast market -- and that companies can profit right now by serving their needs. If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burde...
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005 — No Region Specified

Philips launches global initiative to develop solutions for ultra low-cost mobile phones

Source:

Sets out roadmap for sub-$5 hardware and software platform to drive handset costs below $20 Royal Philips Electronics today announced a global initiative to develop ultra low-cost mobile phones to bring the benefits of the technology to an untapped global customer base of 3.3 billion people. The first product from the project will be a sub-$5 system solution ? an integrated hardware and software platform constituting all the electronics needed in a mobile phone ? that wil...
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005 — No Region Specified

Hi-tech cell phones help Africans trade crops

Source: Mobile Africa

Daniel Mashva heaves his sack of cabbages and sweet potatoes into a rickety shared taxi and travels nine hours under the scorching sun to the market in Johannesburg. By the time he arrives, half his tiny harvest is rotten and the 48-year-old father of five returns to his impoverished village just a few pennies richer. That was before new cell phone technology changed his life. Mashva now dials up to a virtual trading platform on his new hi-tech phone and sells...
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005 — No Region Specified

Cheap Phones for Third World

Source: Red Herring

Coverage is growing in developing countries, but phones are still too expensive. With growing wireless phone coverage, even in the poorest parts of the globe, cell phone manufacturers want to lower the cost of their devices to encourage stronger demand in developing countries. The GSM Association (GSMA) announced on Monday that it is pushing down the target cost for mobile phones to below $30. ?The next phase of our initiative aims to drive even gre...
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Why ICICI Bank sells cattle feed, by Prerna Raturi & Prasad Sangameshwaran

Source: rediff.com

Take the case of ICICI Bank that encountered a particular problem. The bank had financed 200,000 villagers across the country to buy buffaloes. But these customers were unwilling to buy more than two to four buffaloes. The bank could not convince these customers to increase their stock to a sizeable number, such as 20 buffaloes. The rationale of the villagers was simple. More buffaloes would mean hiring additional help to look after the herd. On the contrary, four buffaloe...
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mutual benefits of profits from poverty, by Peter Day

Source: BBC News

Suddenly, in the middle of something approaching squalor to rich world eyes, here's a supermarket. A real shop in a town of tiny stallholders, quite well stocked and with a constant flow of local buyers. When the owner Dominic Siasamallisi started selling things about five years ago, he did not have anything like a shop, just a basket of one or two household necessities by the side of road. Mr Siasamallisi got his start from a private bank called The K-Rep G...
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Sunday, July 03, 2005 — No Region Specified

Middle class in India has arrived, by T N Ninan

Source: rediff.com

Only 2 per cent of households have credit cards (so much, then, for the vaunted advent of plastic money). Even that basic item in a middle-class household, the refrigerator, exists in only a sixth of all households in the country (probably because only a third of rural households have a domestic electric connection!). It might be as much of a surprise to know that half of all the TV sets sold in the country are either black and white, or small (i.e. 14-inch) colour sets. T...
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Sunday, July 03, 2005 — No Region Specified

Model Credit Bureau "Open Source" Solution Being Tested in Morocco

Source: PRWeb

A credit bureau to assist microfinance borrowers move into mainstream financial services. PlaNet Finance Maroc (Morocco) and Grameen Foundation USA (GFUSA) today announced a joint initiative to develop a software package for creating a credit bureau for microfinance borrowers. This innovative program, when implemented, will allow poor borrowers in Morocco to establish a credit history which will help move them into the financial mainstream. The project, managed by PlaNet F...
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Friday, July 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

KYRGYZSTAN: Micro-credit promotes rural business culture

Source: IRIN

The programme In Kyrgyzstan began in 1998, in a small group of villages participating in a pilot scheme. When that proved successful it spread throughout Kyrgyzstan and today operates in 130 villages. It works by organising low income communities into self-help groups that then blossom into rural cooperatives and micro-credit agencies. The programme is based on the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that aims to boost rural livelihoods, among other things and the National Poverty Reduc...
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Friday, July 01, 2005 — No Region Specified

Mobile penetration will boost African business, by Arun Sarin

Source: Financial Times

The capability of state institutions is just as important for the development of a competitive business sector and economic growth, and this is where the developed nations can make a huge contribution. However, rather than transferring off-the-shelf solutions, the developed nations must transfer skills and competencies that allow the African authorities gradually to build their own practices based on their own experiences. As the Commission for Africa has noted, this takes time and commitment. T...
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