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Thursday, April 27, 2006 — No Region Specified

China to produce low-cost computers of its own

Source: People's Daily Online

A Chinese company has developed the first computer costing around 1,000 yuan (125 U.S. dollars) using a Chinese-made Godson II CPU, and plans to put the computers into industrial production in June. We hope everyone can afford our computers, said Zhang Fuxin, an expert of the Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) under the Chinese?Academy?of?Sciences in charge of developing Longmeng computers. Last...
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Thursday, April 27, 2006 — No Region Specified

Interview with Jed Emerson: Foundations: essential and missing in action

Source: Alliance

--Could you give a couple of examples of recent innovations that you feel are really exciting? One great example is Nurcha (National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency) in South Africa, which provides bridge financing for the low-cost housing sector. The Open Society Institute pledged a loan guarantee of up to $50 million. Using that as a catalyst, Nurcha began to guarantee loans from South African commercial banks to low-cost housing developers and contractors. A bank lending m...
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: PR Newswire

Calvert Foundation announced today that it invested a total of $1 million during the first quarter of 2006 in Davis, California-based MicroCredit Enterprises (MCE), a not-for-profit, anti- poverty business venture that leverages private capital to make tiny business loans to people -- mostly women -- living in extreme poverty in developing countries. The microloans promoted by MCE are provided at low rates that avoid the crippling costs and heightened risk of failure that result from the predato...
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006 — No Region Specified

Public private partnerships pose challenges for companies, but those who persist can find their effo

Source: Ethical Corporation

Cross-sector partnerships ? such as those between business and non-governmental organisations, or business and government ? are an increasingly popular way for companies to contribute to society. But making partnerships work can be difficult. Establishing clear rules of engagement and building trust is often a problem. Too often partnerships are more like sponsorship, with companies footing the bill for projects in which they are not closely involved. To be successful, par...
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Ethical Corporation

CSR offers a middle way; a sustainable path between unbridled capitalism with its mixed consequences on the one hand and rigidly regulated economies plagued with artificial and stifling limitations on the other, argue David Chandler and William B. Werther, Jr. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) represents nothing less than a debate about the future of our society. Amidst issues of ethics, corporate governance, and other efforts to balance conflicting demands, society seeks to c...
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006 — No Region Specified

Future Capital to Foray Into Retail of Financial Products

Source: The Economic Times of India

Future Capital, a majority-owned company of Pantaloon Retail, is chalking out a massive foray in the next few months into the manufacture and retailing of financial products, based roughly on a Latin American model. Termed ?Project Moneybazaar?, the format will focus on tapping the middle and mass end of the consumption market with a retail credit plan that will offer everything from credit cards, auto and consumer durable finance, mutual funds, insurance, money transfer, financial ...
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Monday, April 24, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Connecting developing nations

Source: International Herald Tribune

A pregnant woman at home alone in her remote village in Sierra Leone unexpectedly went into a difficult labor and, with no access to a doctor or medical facilities, a minor medical emergency could have taken a tragic turn. But the woman, Emma Sesay, managed to use one of the few cellphones in the village of Port Loko and called her husband, who borrowed a car and rushed home from his job, picking up a midwife along the way. They arrived in tim...
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Thursday, April 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

Competition is Good

Source: Mobile Africa

It has taken an extraordinarily long time to get this far, when in the late 80s and 90s it was only Mobitel that provided the mobile phone facility, which only the rich could afford. With Areeba coming aboard, the pricing of mobile phone services out of the reach of many people continued. Think of this. Just two years ago, One Touch chips were going for 1.2 million cedis (USD $129) . One needed a letter of introduction and prayers to be able to secure a One Touch chip. Today all one nee...
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Thursday, April 20, 2006 — No Region Specified

ACCION and Argentina?s Banco Columbia to Promote Microfinance for Poor Entrepreneurs

Source: Microfinance Gateway

ACCION International, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, today announced the creation of Columbia Microcr?dito, partnering with Argentina?s Banco Columbia to deliver financial services to the country?s entrepreneurial poor. Argentina?s first commercial microfinance venture, the new alliance will deliver microloans through Banco Columbia?s national branch network, with the goal of reaching 20,000 clients within four years. Banco Columbia, a mid-sized Argentine bank with...
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Thursday, April 20, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Wall Street Journal

Celtel International BV, Africa's third-largest mobile-services provider, has agreed to buy 65% of Nigeria's Vmobile for just over $1 billion, Celtel's Kuwaiti parent said. Mobile Telecommunications Co. said in a statement on the Kuwaiti stock-exchange Web site that the deal includes an option for the purchase of the remaining 35% of Nigeria's third-largest mobile-phone operator. The deal would be the latest for fast-expanding MT...
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: The New Nation

Speakers at a seminar here on Monday called upon the private and state-run commercial banks to provide all assistance for the micro-finance institutes (MFIs) in credit operation to cut poverty in the country. Commercial banks can earn huge profit from this sector as loan recovery is 95-99 per cent in micro-credit system and the poor people invest the credit in various income generating activities, they added. Credit and Development Forum (CDF) organised the seminar on &quo...
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: CNet

Forget about cash and credit cards. There's a new payment alternative for buying CDs, DVDs and other such entertainment pleasures--your cell phone. Online payment specialist PayPal, a unit of Internet auction giant eBay, has introduced PayPal Mobile to North America. The wireless version of its service enables users to buy goods and exchange money using their phones. Transactions are conducted by secure text message. Music heavyweights Universal Music Group and MTV alr...
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Monday, April 17, 2006 — No Region Specified

ICICI Bank Targets 250 MFIs

Source: Financial Express

Besides retail, ICICI Bank, the second-largest commercial bank, has aggressively doubled its rural microfinance and agri-business loan portfolio over a period of nine months. The outstanding in group's total rural microfinance and agri-business portfolio has increased to Rs 10,000 crore compared to Rs 5,200 crore last year. This comes from an outreach of to 3.2 million low-income clients. Simultaneously, the bank has also increased its partner strength of microfinance institution...
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Monday, April 17, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Malaya

THERE are hundreds of school-age children in Bulacan who, for all sorts of reasons, do not attend school. One of the obvious is poverty. Many children come from desperately poor families unable to afford school fees. Some kids just do not like school ? it has no relevance or appeal. For others, it is a case of feeling they do not belong or have missed too much, either through illness, family breakdown or because they?re too often needed at home. The National Youth Commission reports o...
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Friday, April 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

FYI: Morgan Stanley Boosts Emerging Markets Research Capacity

Source: EuroWeek via IEM

Morgan Stanley has axed 50-60 equity research jobs in Europe and the US in favor of hiring new research staff to cover equities in the growing markets of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, Euroweek reported recently. The same article says research departments across the major banks have come under pressure through competition and new demands from clients. (Ed. note - Euroweek's article is behind a firewall - we'll have to take ...
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Friday, April 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

PwC report: business needs to commit to sustainable development

Source: EurActiv.com

A new PricewaterhouseCoopers' report says companies will be driven by sustainable development in the next ten years. It identifies six trends that will encourage businesses to be more socially and environmentally responsible in the future. ? global markets will play a much bigger part than government policy in the decision-making process of companies, especially...
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Thursday, April 13, 2006 — No Region Specified

Pakistan: Livelihoods & micro-credit for women

Source: ReliefWeb

Collapsed sheds, landslides and falling rocks triggered by the October 8th earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, killed more than 100,000 heads of livestock in northern Pakistan, mainly buffaloes and cows. Additionally, in the immediate weeks after the quake, many farmers were forced to sell their livestock at a very low price because of the lack of shelter and to provide food for their families. This significantly reduced number of livestock in rural areas foretells of immediately reduced inco...
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Rural Students Benefit from the World of Computers

Source: China Daily

Born into a farmer's family in Luocheng, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Liang Yanfang, 16, a Mulao ethnic minority girl, had no idea what a computer looked like two years ago. With her parents working away from their village in the Guangzhou, she lived with her grandma, often feeling disconnected from the outside world. But her life took a turn when she entered the four-story Deshan Middle School, probably the most luxurious building ...
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Monday, April 10, 2006 — No Region Specified

Market Forces, Governance, Globalisation, Innovation, Among Major Influencers

Source: PrimeZone

NEW YORK, April 10, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Sustainable development will steadily advance over the next 10 years, with six major trends influencing industry world-wide, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers' report, Corporate Responsibility: Strategy, Management and Value. The challenge of creating strategies that meet immediate needs without sacrificing the needs of future generations will be driven by the growing influence of: global market forces; revisions in corporate gover...
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Monday, April 10, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Business Day

AS a new development approach, making markets work for the poor (MMW4P) can have a big impact in SA because it is about changing the circumstances that prevent the poor from participating more effectively and extensively in the market economy. By lowering the barriers blocking people?s participation in markets, by getting businesses to extend their activities to poor regions and by giving the poor a leg up into market activities, development agents ? public and private ? will be helpi...
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Monday, April 10, 2006 — No Region Specified

Grameen Group, Groupe Danone team up to set up social business enterprise

Source: Financial Express

Grameen Group Thursday signed an agreement with Groupe Danone, a French dairy company, aiming to provide nutrition to the low income and nutritionally-deprived population of the country. The joint venture project, titled Grameen Danone Foods, a social business enterprise, will establish its first factory in Bogra involving $ 1.0 million (10 lakh). Leaders of four Grameen enterprises--Grameen Byabosha Bikash, Grameen Shakti, Grameen Kalyan and Grameen ...
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Monday, April 10, 2006 — No Region Specified

Micro Pension Plan Set to Get off the Block

Source: Economic Times, India

The government may be struggling to convince the Left about the New Pension Scheme (NPS) and the need to channel a slice of the pension and provident fund kitty into equity. Shaji Vikraman But there?s hope round in an unlikely source. Early next week, 50,000 women, many of them struggling to eke out a living, will sign up for the country?s first micro pension scheme. These ladies, members of Ahmedabad?s Self-Employed Wom...
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Friday, April 7, 2006 — Asia Pacific

Hong Kong's initial foray into BOP enterprise development

Source: Xinhua Online

More than 300 participants from various sectors on Thursday attended the Conference on Social Enterprise to discuss new approach to helping the poor. The conference, jointly organized by the Commission on Poverty and the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, aims to enhance community understanding of social enterprise and explain its relevance to poverty alleviation. The one-day conference was the first of its kind and scale in Hong ...
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Thursday, April 6, 2006 — Latin America

Source: PC World

Chip maker moves forward with plans to sell an affordable desktop PC in developing countries. Jeremy Kirk Intel has partnered with a Mexican telecoms company to sell an affordable PC designed for first-time computer users in developing countries. It's the latest effort by technology vendors to develop products for emerging markets. Advertisement Intel said the PC would be a small, energy efficient system with full-featured PC technologies. It will be cheaper than...
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Wednesday, April 5, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: The Weekend Australian

NOKIA has significantly raised its outlook for the global mobile phone market, saying it would grow by 15 per cent or more this year, which would mean shipments of about 914 million handsets. The Finnish market leader's previous forecast was for growth of 10 per cent or more from about 795 million handsets in 2005. Motorola, the world's No2 handset maker, does not produce overall forecasts but was thought to be in line with Nokia's original numbers. Speaking y...
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Wednesday, April 5, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Earth & Sky Radio Series

JB: This is Earth & Sky, on the need for fresh water and the use of simple technologies in the developing world DB: They can make a huge difference for some of the billion-plus people on Earth today who live in poverty so extreme that they are at risk of dying every day. Consider the Sahel region of Africa. It's been in drought conditions for decades. When rains do come, reservoirs and wells fill up. But, in some places, the water has to be carried to farmer's fields by h...
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Tuesday, April 4, 2006 — South Asia

Private-Public partnership model to improve the livelihoods of the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP)

Source: Moneycontrol.com

CII - ICRISAT & Coca-Cola Foundation Collaboration for Backward Areas Development through Strategic Intervention in Watershed Development The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Coca-Cola Foundation will collaborate for sustainable and equitable management of Rural Water Resources Infrastructure and other Natural Resources Management (NRM) through watershed+ interventions in Dungarpur district...
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Tuesday, April 4, 2006 — No Region Specified

Winners to be announced May 11

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

After months of preparation by participants in the inaugural Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Competition, the finalists have officially been selected. On March 30th, fourteen semi-finalists and their teams were joined by members of the St. Louis community at a speaker event held at Washington University. Serving as keynote speaker for this event was Theresa Wilson, founder of The Blessing Basket Project, a sustainable non-profit operating in 5 countries around the world which...
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Tuesday, April 4, 2006 — No Region Specified

Chasing Capital

Source: MSNBC

Two local microfinance nonprofits are recruiting private investors to join them in their fight against global poverty. Redmond-based Unitus Inc. recently completed a $9 million initial close on a $20 million private equity fund meant to buy stock in its microfinance partners. The new money will provide additional resources for the nonprofit's eight microfinance partners, which are located abroad and backed by Unitus-facilitated grants and loans. Those partners currently provide s...
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Tuesday, April 4, 2006 — No Region Specified

Sales effort gives India's rural poor an opportunity

Source: The Seattle Times

CHOLLERU, India ? With its open sewers and mud-walled homes, this impoverished farming village of 2,200 in southern India did not look like fertile territory for an entrepreneur. But Srilatha Kadem was undeterred. Oblivious to the midday heat, she marched briskly along the unpaved streets, her cloth bag filled with soaps and shampoos and her heart with vaulting ambition. She stopped at a tile-roofed house, where a gray-haired woman in a green sari lounged in the shade of the small vera...
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Monday, April 3, 2006 — No Region Specified

Pilot scheme benefits migrant workers

Source: China Gateway

Li Caiyun and her husband do not need to worry about expensive hospital bills now their company has joined a local government medical insurance pilot scheme, specially designed for migrant workers. It takes them only 10 minutes to walk to their local healthcare centre, where they spend as little as 20 yuan (US$2.5) for medicines for ailments such as colds and fevers, said the couple from east China's Anhui Province. Before the scheme, they h...
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Monday, April 3, 2006 — No Region Specified

The case for social investment

Source: The Standard

Noel Wandera A Group of organisations, including the Nairobi Stock Exchange, a number of stockbrokers and fund managers, individuals, some local NGOs, corporations, and a UK-based international NGO have launched an initiative to promote social investment in Kenya. Operating under the umbrella of Kenya Social Investment Forum (KSIF), the group aims at promoting financial transactions intended to achieve social objectives and deliver financial returns to investors. KSIF has ...
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