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Tuesday, October 31, 2006 — No Region Specified

Safaricom Makes $12.77 Million Profit, a Record for Region

Source: The East African

Mobile company Safaricom has posted the biggest profit ever in East Africa - Ksh 12.77 billion ($174 million) - edging out listed company East African Breweries Ltd from the position of the biggest profit maker in the region. The star performance is likely to impact on the negotiations going on between the government and Vodafone Plc of the UK over the impending sale of a 9 per cent government stake in the company to Vodafone. Analysts say that the government is likely to d...
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006 — No Region Specified

Social Business Corporations

Source: KZBlog

Two weeks ago, there was a government assembly and the Prime Minister presented new projects for the government. As Kazakhstan Today reports, Social Business Corporations were on the list. ?Sara Arka? will be the first, to be established in Karaganda (because the akim there was on the ball, they say). By the end of the year, six more will be established in the regions. These corporations were first brought up in the President?s Annual Message to the People in February of 2006:
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Monday, October 30, 2006 — No Region Specified

More Chinese farmers benefit from agricultural information services

Source: People's Daily Online

I receive text messages on my mobile phone from a horticultural expert, said Guo Kebing, a farmer in the suburbs of Chongqing Municipality. He planted 33 hectares of sweet wormwood this year. Like Guo, more and more Chinese farmers will benefit from an agricultural information service website which was officially launched on Thursday in Chongqing, after a month of tests. It's time to treat your sweet wormwood plants to stop them getting mildew... This tex...
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Monday, October 30, 2006 — No Region Specified

Needy Ugandans Develop the Mobile Phone ATM

Source: TimesOnline

It is called Sente. The sender buys a mobile phone topup card, but instead of topping his own phone up he tops up the phone of the kiosk owner nearest home, who passes the money on to his family (minus his commission, of course). Sente has weaknesses and relies on trust, but is better than having to take a two-day trip home. ?Everyone who has a phone, has an ATM,? Chipchase says. For years people in the West have talked about mobile phone ATMs. In Africa it is already a reality. In ...
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Monday, October 30, 2006 — No Region Specified

Motorola's Dumb Phone

Source: Technology Review

Mobile phones in the United States are more power-hungry and complicated than ever. But one of the latest phones from Motorola, aimed primarily at other markets and due out by the end of the year, is just the opposite. Looking for more customers, the company did extensive market research in poor countries. The result: the company's slimmest phone yet, boasting cutting-edge technology that--rather than adding complexity--extends battery life and makes the phone simpler to use. Call...
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Friday, October 27, 2006 — No Region Specified

African Governments Asked to Plough Back Cell Phone Taxes

Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi)

Telecommunications experts say mobile networks have the capacity to provide coverage to 90 per cent of the world's population by 2010. But this could happen only if governments spend all the tax collections from telecoms industry on improving the mobile infrastructure. Speaking in Cape Town yesterday, experts urged Governments to complement mobile operators towards achieving this goal instead of watering down their efforts through ill-advised policies of subsidising rol...
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Friday, October 27, 2006 — No Region Specified

Microcredit not working in China, new initiative needed

Source: Xinhua News

Without a microcredit of 20,000 yuan, Shan Xinhui, a laid-off woman, would not have been able to start her own business and today boast fixed assets worth more than two million yuan. At the 2006 China Banking Association-Citigroup Micro-entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony, Shan, from the western city of Yan'an in Shannxi Province, showed her appreciation for the government and the microcredit fund that gave her the seed money. But, in obtaining a microcredit, Shan was one ...
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 — No Region Specified

Efforts geared up to introduce mobile banking

Source: The Dawn

The ministry of information technology has directed the country?s telecom regulator and services providers to work closely with the central bank and remove hurdles in the way of introduction of electronic mobile banking in Pakistan. Mobile banking facility is in place in many developing countries consisting of comprehensive banking services including money transfer, cash-in, cash-out, person to person transfer, bill payments, on-line purchases etc. However, the lack of coor...
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 — No Region Specified

In pursuit of sustainable business

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer

Vanessa Hill is no naive optimist. She believes corporate America should develop a greater social conscience, but she also knows that business executives are driven by an overriding goal: maximizing profits. She also knows that Wall Street judges those profits every quarter. And that such a short-term outlook makes embracing sustainable values, which may not pay dividends for years, all the more difficult. Ultimately, it will take public pressure to push corporat...
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Monday, October 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

Regulation Pushes SMEs to Non-Compliance

Source: The Reporter

Many Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) become illegal because of excessive regulation, an expert with the South African-based Strategic, Business Partnerships for Growth in Africa said on Tuesday. Speaking at the Bifm/FinMark Trust Forum, Douglas Irvine said that SMEs usually fly under the radar and operate hiding from the law and end up being harassed and becoming non-compliant. Irvine said that this excessive regulatory network is not good for business. ...
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Monday, October 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

At Nokia, Handset Sales Jump But Revamp of Unit Hurts Profit

Source: Wall Street Journal

Nokia Corp.'s net income fell 4.1%, despite a sharp rise in revenue and cellphone shipments, as strong demand for low-end handsets hurt the Finnish company's profit margins. Nokia, the world's largest cellphone maker, said it shipped 88.5 million phones in the third quarter compared with 66.6 million units a year ago. But average selling prices declined to ?93 from ?102 due to an increasing proportion of sales of low-priced phones in emerging markets.
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Monday, October 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

NetCore CEO Rajesh Jain Interview

Source: Knowledge @ Wharton

Excerpt of an interview with NetCore CEO Rajesh Jain: Knowledge@Wharton: You were among the first entrepreneurs in India to recognize the potential of the Internet when you launched the IndiaWorld portal and websites like khoj.com, samachar.com, and khel.com. What was your assessment of the infrastructure of the web at that time, and how does it compare with your view of the Internet in India today? Jain: When we launched IndiaWorld in March 1995, commerci...
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Thursday, October 19, 2006 — No Region Specified

Germany to Focus G8 on Africa Investment

Source: Financial Times

Germany is proposing that the Group of Eight leading industrial nations next year forge ?reform partnerships? with a select group of well-governed African democracies to help them attract international private investment. A senior official from Germany, which takes over the presidency of the G8 in January, sought to distinguish Berlin?s plans from last year?s British G8 presidency, which focused on debt relief and increased aid to Africa. [...]
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Thursday, October 19, 2006 — No Region Specified

Latin America remittances support investments

Source: Financial Times

Latin Americans working in the United States are sending back more money to their families and investing increasing amounts in homes and small businesses, according to a study commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank. The study ? based on more than 2,500 telephone interviews with migrants and their families in nine countries ? found that the average monthly amount sent has risen from $240 to $300 in the past two years. As many as one-third of respondents s...
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006 — No Region Specified

Mobiles to help track diseases

Source: BBC News World Edition

Mobile phone technology is being developed to help manage the spread of diseases such as HIV and bird flu. The software is designed to allow field workers using handsets to send and receive data on disease outbreaks along with patient and drug information. The project is a collaboration between technology firm Voxiva and the trade association for mobile operators, GSMA. Trials of the relatively low-cost application are underway in Rwanda, Afric...
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006 — No Region Specified

Diverse Group of Nine Finalists Qualify For Sustainability Awards

Source: The Open Press

Sustainable North Carolina has named nine organizations that combine strong financial returns with environmental stewardship and social responsibility as finalists for its fifth annual awards. ?The diversity of the organizations that qualified as finalists show that sustainability is growing in North Carolina,? said Katy Ansardi, president of Sustainable North Carolina. ?We are looking forward to naming the winners at the awards presentation on Oct. 30.? There are three fin...
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006 — No Region Specified

Microsoft's Mundie: A bottom-up approach to tech

Source: News.Com

For a good part of 2006, Craig Mundie has been on a jet plane visiting Microsoft customers and political leaders in other parts of the world. Craig Mundie was one of the premier speakers at the December 2004 WRI Conference; 'Eradicating Poverty Through Profit.' I found one quote from this article particularly interesting: I've been the liaison to China for the last seven years, and India for the last four years, and Russia for the last three years. So in many of t...
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: DFCU Boosts SMEs

Source: New Vision

DFCU Limited has received credit worth sh22b from the European Investment Bank to lend to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Announcing the deal, Moses Kibirige, the executive director, said the facility would serve SMEs interested in expanding and growing their businesses through leasing over the next one year. The funds will finance eligible SMEs in agro-business, fishing, mining, construction, tourism, transport, education and health care, Kibirige said.
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Monday, October 16, 2006 — No Region Specified

Venture capitalists descend on India

Source: Financial Times

Unlike private equity investment, the venture capital industry remains in its infancy in India. Private equity deal volumes are expected to triple to $7bn by 2010 compared with $2.2bn in 2005, according??to??Bain,??the??consultancy. But investment in start-ups accounts for only about 20 per cent of the total number of private equity and venture capital deals done in India, according to Venture Intelligence, a domestic company that tracks private equity and venture capital d...
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Monday, October 16, 2006 — No Region Specified

Public Private Partnerships an Imperative for Achieving Rural Development

Source: Highway Africa News Agency

In addition, he said, that accessibility to rural communities would thrive when the Private and Pubic Partnership (PPP) is entrenched. PPP is the key to moving the rural people ahead, he declared. Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has warned that Africa may suffer another round of digital divide based on lack of data in the evolution of telecommunications on the continent.
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Monday, October 16, 2006 — No Region Specified

Uganda: ICT Boosts Farmers' Profits

Source: New Vision

If used properly, Information Communication Technology (ICT) could be used to develop agriculture, for example we can now just call and get to know the prices of our products. We can also access them from MTN's 197 and 198. Even middlemen who come looking for the products find us already aware of the prices, they no longer cheat us, Kamya says. With a village phone at her residence, she only needs to call and know about the market prices for her red pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, ca...
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Monday, October 16, 2006 — No Region Specified

For India's Traditional Fisherman, Cellphones Deliver a Sea Change

Source: The Washington Post

A convenience taken for granted in wealthy nations, the cellphone is putting cash in the pockets of people for whom a dollar is a good day's wage. And it has made market-savvy entrepreneurs out of sheepherders, rickshaw drivers and even the acrobatic men who shinny up palm trees to harvest coconuts here in Kerala state. The cellphone is bringing new economic clout, profit and productivity to Rajan and millions of other poor laborers in India, the world's fastest-growing cellphone market....
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Friday, October 13, 2006 — No Region Specified

Malaria Treatment Grabs $20M

Source: Red Herring

Amyris Biotechnologies is currently focusing on an alternative treatment for malaria, as the disease is becoming resistant to common drugs. The treatment itself already exists in the form of artemisinin, taken from wormwood. But extracting the drug is both complicated and expensive to do; Amyris is looking end-run the process by synthetically producing an in-house, low-cost version of drug. It?s a mission that carries big names: the University of California, Berkeley, and the Institute for One W...
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Thursday, October 12, 2006 — No Region Specified

U.S. Group Reaches Deal to Provide Laptops to All Libyan Schoolchildren

Source: The New York Times

The government of Libya reached an agreement on Tuesday with One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit United States group developing an inexpensive, educational laptop computer, with the goal of supplying machines to all 1.2 million Libyan schoolchildren by June 2008. The project, which is intended to supply computers broadly to children in developing nations, was conceived in 2005 by a computer researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nicholas Negroponte. His goal is to desi...
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Thursday, October 12, 2006 — No Region Specified

Microfinance Institutions Reach Crucial Agreement with Government in Andhra Pradesh

Source: MicroCapital

In a broad reaching agreement, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) operating in Andhra Pradesh, India have reached an agreement with the state government on MFI interest rates, product portfolio, inter-MFI competition, credit disbursement and loan recovery methodologies. An agreement pertaining to a smaller jurisdiction ? the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh was earlier reported on MicroCapital. As per the terms of the agreement, MFIs have agreed to an interest rate ceiling of 15%. Th...
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

US Banks Woo Migrants, Legal or Otherwise

Source: The Wall Street Journal

As U.S. leaders craft policies to curb illegal immigration from Mexico, the U.S. Federal Reserve is devising programs to extend banking services to undocumented immigrants. A new remittance program aims to bring Mexican migrants who send money home into the mainstream U.S. financial system, regardless of their immigration status. Dubbed Directo a Mexico, the remittance program enables U.S. commercial banks to make money transfers for Mexican workers through the Federal Res...
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Fertile Ground: Hedge Funds Travel to Africa

Source: Wall Street Journal

With stocks in more-traditional emerging markets like Brazil and Russia still close to historical highs, some hedge funds are turning to resource-rich sub-Saharan Africa for investments. The push reflects both the uptick in some of the region's economies and the growth of hedge funds -- loosely regulated pools of private capital -- and their search for new frontiers. It's a combination of falling returns in all the traditional emerging markets, cash flowing into hedge fu...
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Uganda Gets SMS, Internet Banking

Source: The Monitor

DUCONT, a Dubai-based information technology service provider, has teamed up with Uganda's Solutions For Business to support financial institutions in the country. Officials said during a presentation on October 4 that the partnership would reduce on the costs of banking services and eventually eliminate long queues at the commercial banks. Solutions For Business Executive Director Saddiq Mwai said: Working with Ducont is an opportunity for Ugandans to access over...
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

MFIs Want Moneylenders Regulated

Source: New Vision

MICRO-Finance Institutions (MFIs) have asked the Government to check the higher interest rates levied by moneylenders who have threatened the industry. While MFIs' interest rates are between 19%-29%, moneylenders' rates are 30% and above. Money lending is legal, but requires written contracts between the lender and the borrower. The moneylender is obliged to keep proper records of accounts. Unlike MFIs, moneylenders do not require application, ...
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

ICICI Offers New Remittance Products

Source: The Hindu

Buoyed by the robust performance of its remittances business, private sector banking powerhouse, ICICI Bank plans to launch a slew of innovative products in this segment before the end of this fiscal. The bank also plans to scale up its presence in the Gulf besides exploring alliance possibilities with overseas banks to boost this business, especially in the emerging markets. We have a few innovatively-structured products tailor-made for the remittances market in the ...
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Kalam unveils LIC's micro iinsurance product

Source: The Economic Times of India

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Thursday unveiled Life Insurance Corporation's insurance product which seeks to benefit economically underprivileged segments of society. The new policy, Jeevan Madhur, will cover individuals in 18-60 year age group. The minimum sum assured under the plan is Rs 5,000 while maximum is Rs 30,000. The premium for the policy can be paid weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly. The minimum premium is Rs 25 pe...
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Friday, October 06, 2006 — No Region Specified

China sets up special fund to support SMEs

Source: People's Daily Online

China has set up a special fund to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said China's Ministry of Finance (MOF). The funds, which come from the central government's budget, will offer China's SMEs free financial aid and loan repayment subsidies of up to 2 million yuan (250,000 U.S. dollars) per project, according to a policy document issued by the MOF and the National Development and Reform Commission. The MOF said the fund aims t...
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Friday, October 06, 2006 — No Region Specified

Emerging market risks often ignored

Source: Financial Times

A significant proportion of European companies making investments in emerging markets are ignoring serious risks that would be deal killers in their own markets, according to a new survey published on Friday. The findings of the study by Deloitte, the business advisory firm, suggests that in their rush to tap into new growth opportunities, more than 20 per cent of the top 100 of Europe?s top infrastructure companies polled are undeterred by bribery, corruption or money-laundering. Mor...
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Thursday, October 05, 2006 — No Region Specified

Private Equity Inflow 'May Support Rand'

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

PRIVATE equity investment flows into SA over the next couple of years are expected to help support the rand and partly compensate for a drop in foreign direct investment, according to experts. Following a surge in investment over the past couple of years, driven by deals such as Barclays' purchase of a majority stake in Absa and Vodafone's purchase of a further stake in Vodacom, it was feared that foreign direct investment would dry up. However, this could be supple...
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Thursday, October 05, 2006 — No Region Specified

Micro-Financiers Ignoring Farmers, Says Poverty Body

Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi)

Micro-Finance institutions have been faulted for neglecting agriculture in favour of jua kali (informal sector) projects. The Poverty Eradication Commission chairman, Dr Gilbert Oluoch claimed lending institutions targeting micro- and small scale enterprises were ignoring farming for fear of losses due to the current erratic rain patterns. This, Oluoch said, had adversely affected economic development. The chairman was speaking during a monitoring and evaluation tour of som...
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006 — No Region Specified

SMEs Need More Than Cash

Source: New Era (Windhoek)

There have been extraordinary successes and spectacular failures since the first attempts, but in the process government has learnt valuable lessons. She noted that while great efforts went into making finance available, not as much effort was invested in providing business support, which is an equally important ingredient for success. Many SMEs failed because they were suddenly presented with the new challenge of sizeable loans to repay, coupled with limited experience...
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006 — No Region Specified

Thailand and Japan join up to drive SME development

Source: Bangkok Post

Thailand and Japan have agreed to co-operate with each other and exchange experiences and knowledge to establish a university for small and medium- enterprise (SME) development in Thailand. The organisation of Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation of Japan (SMRJ) has agreed to prepare a second master plan to develop SMEs in Thailand from 2007 to 2010. The plan would focus on SME development in terms of future globalisation, said Jhitraporn Techacharn, the director-general of the O...
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