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
Wednesday, December 20, 2006 — South Asia

ICICI Bank betting big on SME business

Source: Press Trust of India

The future of the SME business is very promising and ICICI Bank is ideally positioned to exploit the opportunity, Vijay Chandok, Senior General Manager (Small Enterprises Group), ICICI Bank, said here today. Many SMEs are in the investment mode to create capacities, quality processes and upgradation and modernisation of their facilities, he said, adding this constituted a huge opportunity in the segment for the country's second largest commercial bank. &...
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

Microfinance Can Become Global Model

Source: Mercury News

The Nobel Committee's well-deserved recognition of Dr. Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank with this year's prestigious Peace Prize marks a significant milestone in society's quest for peace. Their decision clearly trumpets: Poverty is a threat to peace. If poverty were a disease, then micro-credit would be the best vaccine. Access to capital in a capitalistic global economy is the best route to ensure access to other rights and needs. We have seen it work firsthand. Yunus...
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Monday, December 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Telecoms Hungry for Next Billion Callers

Source: BusinessWeek

One of the big topics discussed at this week's ITU Telecom World 2006 forum in Hong Kong has been how to narrow the digital divide by connecting people in poorer countries to the Internet. The estimated 1 billion Internet users and 2 billion-plus mobile phone subscribers worldwide are mostly clustered in wealthier markets. Now telecom and IT executives are on a quest for the next billion, and that growth is expected to come primarily from developing markets. Why focus ...
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Monday, December 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

A Grassroots Approach to Emerging-Market Consumers

Source: McKinsey Quarterly

When companies figure out how to serve low-income consumers in developing countries profitably, everyone wins: the disadvantaged gain access to products and services that the private sector is best positioned to deliver, while companies tap into vast new markets. On top of that, when core sectors of the economy?such as banking, electricity, telecommunications, and water?thrive, they transform consumers into producers and promote economic development. Unfortunately, this happy dynamic ...
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Monday, December 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

The five-minute foldaway house


When a fire in an informal settlement at KwaMbonambi in KwaZulu-Natal left scores of shack dwellers homeless, entrepreneur Rajan Harinarain came up with a solution, in the form of a foldaway house - complete with door, two windows and electrical fittings - that can be erected in five minutes. This week, Harinarain launched the patented dwelling developed from his concept together with the Zululand Chamber of Business Foundation, which will market the structures and provide the facilit...
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Monday, December 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Taking Tiny Loans to the Next Level

Source: BusinessWeek

An idea, not a person, was the most powerful force in philanthropy in 2006. President Bill Clinton devoted a big chunk of his annual Clinton Global Initiative to exploring it. The mighty Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation endorsed it. The choice of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner was a tribute to it. It was truly the year of microfinance. ?An idea, not a person, was the most powerful force in philanthropy in 2006. President Bill Clinton devoted a big chunk of his annual Clinton Global Initiat...
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Thursday, December 7, 2006 — No Region Specified

The "Next Big Thing" for Global Business

Source: TCS Daily

Businesses are not philanthropies. So doing business at the so-called bottom of the pyramid (BOP) requires new strategies and tactics that are generally not familiar to traditional businessmen. There is a real market at the BOP, and that market could evolve more quickly with the help of the business community. But to capture the interest of multinational corporations, they must see clearly how they can profit from this opportunity. The first step is being convinced that th...
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Wednesday, December 6, 2006 — No Region Specified

Aureos plans to raise new emerging markets funds and to open ten more offices

Source: AltAssets Press Release

Emerging markets private equity fund manager Aureos Capital has announced that it plans to raise new funds for Central Asia, Latin America and Africa. With the new funds Aureos expects to double its funds under management by 2008/2009. To date Aureos has raised and/or managed nearly $600m. The firm also plans to open ten new offices. Two new funds are scheduled for launch in 2007: an Aureos Central Asia Fund and a new, second-generation pan-regional Aureos Latin American Fund. A...
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Monday, December 4, 2006 — No Region Specified

Citi plans thumbprint ATMs for India poor

Source: Financial Times

Citigroup is rolling out a network of biometric automatic cash machines aimed at illiterate Indian slum dwellers, using the latest technology to woo the country's millions of unbanked poor. The machines will recognise account holders' thumbprints, eliminating the need for a personal identification number, and will have colour-coded screen instructions and voiceovers to help guide them through transactions. Citigroup has already installed two biometric au...
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Friday, December 1, 2006 — No Region Specified

Dean Kamen preserves the past and envisions a bright future

Source: Boston Herald

Kamen is currently at work on a water treatment system that was successfully tested just a couple months ago in a village in Honduras, he said. The portable device turns contaminated water into clean water by distilling it, using a fraction of the energy required by traditional distillation systems. Kamen predicts such systems could help solve health problems caused by waterborne pathogens all over the world. Another of his inventions was recently used to supply electricity...
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