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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
Friday, June 30, 2006 — Latin America

Peso power brings hope to poor

Source: Financial Times

Excerpt: E very weekend Hilario Amador makes the short journey to the city centre of Zacatecas where he deposits 120 pesos with Patrimonio Hoy, a self-help building scheme run by Cemex, Mexico's largest cement company. The money is equal to about 20 per cent of his weekly wage at a local abattoir and it has allowed the 38-year-old to receive regular supplies of the materials he needs to tile the floor, repair the roof and build two extra rooms...
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Thursday, June 29, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Business Joins African Effort to Cut Malaria

Source: The New York Times

Excerpt: With malaria spread across southern Mozambique, executives at the international mining company Billiton expected some workers to call in sick as it began building a massive new aluminum smelter amid the cornfields here. What they did not expect was that nearly one in three employees would fall ill ? 6,600 cases in just two years. And they certainly did not expect 13 deaths, not after the company had built a medical clinic, doused the construction site with pesticides and hand...
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Thursday, June 29, 2006 — Latin America

Banco ProCredit looks to boost loan portfolio 57% this year - Ecuador

Source: Business News Americas

Excerpt: Ecuadorian niche bank Banco ProCredit aims to increase its loan portfolio to US$115mn by the end of this year, up 57% on end-2005, CEO Pedro Arriola told BNamericas. The bank's strategy focuses on strong growth in the small and microenterprises segment, a significant increase in its deposits base and development of a wide range of financial products, the executive said. The average loan extended by ProCredit is US$2,500 and its clients typically earn just US$5...
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 — No Region Specified

Uganda: USAID Pushes for Rural Mobile Banks

Source: The Monitor (Kampala), D. Livingstone Ssempijja

BANKING institutions have been urged to start rural mobile banking services to attract more people into the banking industry and help the country instil a savings culture; much lacking in Uganda. The service that involves making banking transactions through a combination of banking technologies such as Point of Sales Services, Automated Teller Machines, Mini-ATMs (Movable ATMs) and mobile phones does not necessarily require bankers to visit banks. (...
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 — Asia Pacific

Small business growth could reduce poverty in Indonesia: World Bank

Source: TodayOnline.com

Excerpt: Small businesses, which employ millions of Indonesians, could become major engines of economic growth in this cash-strapped country and help reduce poverty, the World Bank has said. Indonesia's 15.7 million small enterprises make up more than 90 percent of all businesses and employ up to 60 percent of the workforce, outside agriculture, but their growth is hindered by access to credit and poor infrastructure, the World Bank's Indonesia director said in a report rel...
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: The Village Phone Comes to Rwanda

Source: AllAfrica.com

Excerpt: The Grameen Foundation of USA, in collaboration with MTN Rwanda, is re-energising its Village Phone scheme to bring mobile telephones to rural communities where no telecom services have existed before....
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Monday, June 26, 2006 — No Region Specified

Wireless: From zero to 3G - A cellphone utopia?

Source: International Herald Tribune, Eric Sylvers

Executives in the cellphone and computer industries are fond of speaking about bridging the digital divide, the gap between people with access to technology and those without. But translating the talk into action is not easy. In addition, the benefits of high-tech gadgetry for the poor often are not evident. How do you bring Internet access to remote villages in Africa? And are people's lives going to improve once they can get online? The GSM Association, a trade group that represents...
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Monday, June 26, 2006 — No Region Specified

India's next test: spreading prosperity

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Excerpt: Much has been written about the incredible strides India has taken since 1991, when it opened up its markets to foreign investors and slashed regulations. With 6 percent to 8 percent growth rates over the past decade, India has become a hot spot for investors, a dynamo in the outsourcing and high-tech industries, and a competitor for headlines with that other emerging economic power, China. Yet, while India has changed dramatically - with a rising consumer econom...
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Monday, June 26, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Remittances Policy That Works: The Case Of Ghana.

Source: GhanaHomePage

Abstract: In an opinion piece, Yaw Sophism discusses Ghana's policy for remittances....
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Monday, June 26, 2006 — No Region Specified

Globe Talk: Mobile banking as aid tool

Source: Middle East Times

Excerpt: Mobile phones are becoming commonplace enough in some of the remotest parts of the world, much to the delight of both private companies and public policymakers. For phone manufacturers and service providers, some of the globe's poorest people have turned out to be one of their most profitable demographic groups, while for international development agencies, the proliferation of mobile handsets is one key means to bridge the ever-increasing technological divide between rich and poor....
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Monday, June 26, 2006 — Latin America

Development bank seeks new approach to Latin America's problems

Source: Miami Herald

Excerpt: With leftist politicians on the rise throughout Latin America, Washington policymakers are turning their sights on the left-behind majorities fueling the populist surge. It is the latest struggle for the hearts and minds of people in a region swept first by free market reforms favored by the U.S. government and now buffeted by a shift to more home-grown policies that sometimes fly in the face of the United States. Sensing a seismic shift in South American sentimen...
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Monday, June 26, 2006 — South Asia

Tata promises Rs 1 lakh car by 2008

Source: Hindustan Times

Excerpt: Tata Motors on Friday said it would launch the much-touted Rs one lakh car in early 2008, as the company had completed its styling and designing and tested the prototypes within the plant. Tata Group Chief Ratan Tata told shareholders that the launch of the car would create a new paradigm in low-cost personal transport, carve out a new market segment and reach a broader base of the pyramid. ...
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Friday, June 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

WDI's Ted London Selected as Finalist for Best Dissertation Award

Source: University of Michigan Website

Excerpt: Ted London, William Davidson Institute (WDI) director of the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) research initiative and a faculty member at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, has been selected as a finalist for the Barry M. Richman Dissertation Award....
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Friday, June 23, 2006 — Latin America

The World Is Hot

Source: The New York Times

Abstract: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes about climate change and its impact in the developing world. Note: TimesSelect is needed to view this article....
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Thursday, June 22, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The New Frontlines of Capitalism: Microcredit Comes to Borguind?

Source: The Globalist

Abstract: A Peace Corp volunteer writes about her experience starting a microfinance program in Burkina Faso....
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN eyes 3G, mobile banking launch in Nigeria

Source: Reuters South Africa

Abstract: Cellular giant MTM expects to apply for a liscence to provide mobile banking services in Nigeria....
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Grameen Shakti, Rahimafrooz win world's leading green energy award

Source: Financial Express

Abstract: The Ashden Awards recognized four "pioneering projects from Bangladesh, India, Mexico and Tanzania," which brought electricity to rural areas through green power....
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: Good Business

Source: AllAfrica.com

Excerpt: LAST week's launch of the South African Social Investment Exchange (Sasix) serves to reinforce the idea that local business is concerned about more than just its own profits. The social investment exchange works very much like a stock exchange, except that in this instance companies place their money in a particular project, and receive a social return -- the upliftment and development of a worthy cause -- as opposed to a monetary return. The id...
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN takes internet to poor

Source: Myadsl.co.za

Excerpt: An initiative to provide convenient internet connectivity as well as access to a wealth of education information via a bespoke online portal to some of the country's poorest communities was launched on Wednesday by mobile services operator MTN....
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IFC Supports Madagascar?s SME Sector with First-of-Its-Kind Investment

Source:

Antananarivo, Madagascar / Washington, D.C., June 13, 2006?The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will provide joint risk-sharing with the Republic of Madagascar and two local banks to make loans available to owners of small and medium enterprises. This is the first joint investment under the International Development Association/IFC Pilot Program for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. Henri Rabarijohn, IFC?s Country...
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006 — South Asia

Immigrants from India spread business success to homeland

Source: USA Today

Excerpt: Bhatia and many thousands of Indian immigrants with strong ties to the USA and India are storming back to their ancestral homeland to cultivate business and cut deals. With 1 billion people, a rising wave of consumers and annual economic growth of 8% since 2004, India is the world's most promising economy after China....
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Monday, June 19, 2006 — No Region Specified

Exposing the myth of Third World aid

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Abstract: In a review of William Easterly's new book, White Man's Burden, Michael Duffy explores the problems of aid to the developing world and asks what can be done about them....
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Monday, June 19, 2006 — South Asia

Indian medical care goes global

Source: Aljazeera.net

Excerpt: With hospitals in India's cities boasting first world medical care at third world prices, the country is poised for a major share in the multibillion dollar global healthcare market....
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Monday, June 19, 2006 — No Region Specified

Mobile phones bridging rich-poor divide

Source: World Peace Herald

Abstract: Even in some of the world's remotest locations, cell phones, which were once unheard of, have become an integral part of everyday life....
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Monday, June 19, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Small Businesses and Economic Growth

Source: AllAfrica.com

Abstract: Anas A. Galadima explores the challenge of small business devevlopment in Nigeria....
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Friday, June 16, 2006 — No Region Specified

PCs for Third World, by design

Source: Electronic Engineering Times Asia

Abstract: Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) are taking their fierce rivalry to the Third World. At stake is an untapped emerging market of 3.8 billion people, whose purchasing power, according to World Bank figures, is less than $4,000 per household....
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Friday, June 16, 2006 — No Region Specified

Banking on Sustainability

Source: The Motley Fool via Yahoo

Abstract: On Monday, The Financial Times, in association with the International Finance Corporation (the private-sector arm of the World Bank), announced its 2006 Sustainable Banking Awards. Sustainable banking incorporates social, environmental, and corporate-governance objectives into a bank's operations, all based off the concept of sustainable development....
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Friday, June 16, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rural Kenyan women on vanguard of African 'solar revolution'

Source: AFP via Yahoo

Abstract: A growing number of Kenyan women are part of a business movement to sell solar panel cookers in the region....
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Thursday, June 15, 2006 — No Region Specified

Group Pressures U.S. to Help End Global Poverty

Source: Los Angeles Times

Abstract: A group of prominent business leaders, many of whom are Republicans, are working to encourage government and business to invest in products and services that meet the needs of the BOP....
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

Will women reach their potential?

Source: The BBC

Abstract: The role of women in the global economy is on the agenda at the "Davos for Women" summit taking place in Cairo. Among the topics being discussed is the impediments that women still face as they try to contribute to economic development....
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

LA Times: Four part series on remittances

Source: Los Angeles Times

Abstract: In an depth series, the Los Angeles Times explores the global practice of remittances as a substitute for foreign aid. Special thanks to Worldchanging.com....
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New Mobile Phone Program to Bring Economic Lifeline to Rural Rwanda

Source:

(CSRwire) Washington, DC, June 14, 2006 ? With the nearest telephone sometimes six miles away, a mobile phone is more than just a means of communication for rural communities in Rwanda; it is an economic lifeline. To help spur greater telecommunications access for villagers, Grameen Foundation, a global non-profit organization that combines microfinance with new technologies to empower the world?s poorest people, and mobile network operator, MTN Rwanda, are launching an innovative new venture: V...
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Bona Bagaggawale: Co-Operatives Would More Effectively Serve the Poverty Eradication Purpose

Source: The Monitor

Abstract: After dabbling in microfinance, Uganda, under the leadership of a new finance minister, is reintroducing the cooperative system as the core of its rural development program. This article also includes interesting commentary on microfinance. As Dr. Augustus Nuwagaba notes about Uganda's experience wiht microfinance, Uganda's poverty eradication programmes are usually implemented in a poor way and during time of electioneering. In the end, people per...
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006 — No Region Specified

Foreign Aid Has Flaws. So What?

Source: The New York Times

Abstract: The New York Time columnist Nicholas Kristof discusses a book about the flaws of foreign aid and asks challenging questions to the international development community. Note: You must be a member of TimesSelect to view this article....
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006 — No Region Specified

New environment chief targets poverty

Source: The BBC

Abstract: Achim Steiner, the incoming head of the UN Environment Program, is looking to take a policy approach that addresses the link between environmental degradation and poverty. As he explains in the article, "But what I became interested in was development and poverty - the realisation that for the poorest of the poor, stopping environmental degradation and having the ability to manage it properly is the easiest way for them to work their way out of poverty."...
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006 — Latin America

PM to address IDB conference in Washington DC

Source: Radio Jamaica

Abstract: Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller is one of many speakers at the Inter-American Bank's conference, "Building Opportunity for the Majority."...
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006 — Latin America

Too soon to call a turn

Source: Financial Times

Abstract: In an opinion piece, Richard Lapper explores the possibility of shifting political winds in Latin America. He also discusses the BOP and the new agenda of Inter-American Development Bank, which is being pushed ahead in full force by the Bank's new president, Luis Alberto Moreno....
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Monday, June 12, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Cape Times

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were a Utopian, feel-good scheme bound to fail because no single aid agency was held responsible for anything. That was the word from New York University economics professor, William Easterly, speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Cape Town this week . Easterly described the MDGs as the worst designed incentive scheme for public policy seen in my lifetime. The MDGs are a set o...
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Monday, June 12, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Business in Africa

African leaders are seeking Iqbal Surv?s counsel ? his company, Sekunjalo Investments, has been central to the facilitation of a yet to be announced $20bn infrastructure project in a neighbouring country. Walk out of a one-and-a-half hour discussion with Dr Iqbal Surv?, who describes himself as a ?medical doctor, philanthropist and social entrepreneur? and you will disregard all the skeptics and believe that there is hope for Africa to eradicate poverty, and not in our grandchildren...
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Monday, June 12, 2006 — No Region Specified

IBM chief calls for end to colonial companies

Source: The Financial Times

Excerpt: In a rare public intervention, Big Blue?s chairman and chief executive writes in today?s Financial Times that traditional multinational companies need to abandon their almost colonial approach to operations outside their home country. He cites as examples of this old-style method the way GM, Ford and his own company built factories in Europe and Asia but kept all the research and development in the US....
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Friday, June 09, 2006 — North Africa and Near East

Source: KuwaitTimes.net

KUWAIT: For the world's poor getting a loan to start up a business is almost impossible, because of the strict rules most banks follow including the necessity to borrow against collateral. However, microfinancing - though not a totally new financing concept - is growing more popular now that it helps the poor and yet manages to get a bit of cash for the lenders. Microfinance can be defined as the provision of comprehensive financial services to micro-entrepreneurs. Still, the i...
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Thursday, June 08, 2006 — No Region Specified

INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK UNVEILS SCHEME TO HELP LOW-INCOME FAMILIES

Source: BBC

(Excerpt) The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has unveiled an initiative aimed at generating economic opportunities for low-income people in Latin America and the Caribbean. IADB President Luis Alberto Moreno told reporters Tuesday [6 June] that the "Building Opportunities for the Majority" initiative would seek innovative solutions to help low-income people develop their economic potential and accumulate assets. Moreno said that the benefits of economic growth had not trickled down to mo...
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Thursday, June 08, 2006 — No Region Specified

UN boss urges business leaders to spread wealth to poor

Source: AFP

(Abstract) In Nigeria, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan pressed business leaders to embrace practices that integrate the BOP into the global economy. Globalization, Annan remarked, has brought wealth and prosperity to many, but has also not addressed the needs of countless others....
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: All Africa

By Moses Mackay (Excerpt) Five years ago Patrick Schofield and his partners set up a company with the sole purpose of creating jobs and reducing poverty. Today, Streetwires has grown beyond any of their expectations and continues to make a difference in people's lives. At the time of our launch we were looking at ways of creating jobs and reducing poverty in the communities, said Schofield,...
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

botswana: housing for poverty alleviation

Source: All Africa

By Onalenna Modikwa Selebi-Phikwe Phikwe Town Council has welcomed the pilot poverty alleviation and housing schemes by the Department of Housing. The programme was started in 1992 by government to facilitate economic empowerment of poor households who do not qualify for SHHA loans through employment creation, poverty alleviation and home ownership. The main objective of the programme by the government for low income housing was to integrate income generation ...
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

NAPEP Unveils New Poverty Reduction Scheme

Source: This Day

Abstract: Nigeria's National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has unveiled a new wealth creation initiative for the BOP, which revolves around micro-credit for small entrepreneurs.? Credit initiatives have so far received a 99% repayment rate....
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

IADB unveils expanded private-sector lending plan

Source: Reuters

By Gilbert Le Gras WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - The Inter-American Development Bank unveiled on Tuesday a six-point plan to alleviate poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean partly through expanded use of private-sector financing. The recent commodities boom has curbed Latin American needs for loans to cover budget shortfalls so one of the first things IADB President Luis Alberto Moreno said he did when he took office eight months ago was order a focus on helping key...
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

IDB going after region's poorest

Source: Jamaica Observer

Patrick Foster Wednesday, June 07, 2006 The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) yesterday announced a potential US$8 billion per year initiative, through which it seeks to promote economic opportunities for the 360 million people in the Latin American and Caribbean region, whom the bank says live on less than US$300 (J$19,500) per month. Called 'building opportunities for the majority', the initiative will be launched at a conference in Washington DC on June 12 and...
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Gulf News

Dubai: European bank Credit Suisse says a micro-finance fund set up three years ago to lend to poor people in developing countries has been a star performer with a near-100 per cent payback record. Burkhard Varnholt, head of financial products and investment advisory at Credit Suisse, told Gulf News the $50 million fund which re-finances mirco-finance organisations in countries like Cambodia, Afghanistan and Mozambique has the best risk-return profile among some 150 money market funds...
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: MarketingWeb

Excerpt: So, is there fortune at the bottom of the pyramid? Fulton says to find this out and to also be able to best cater for this often misunderstood and under serviced market, marketers need to get personal experiences as to how those at the bottom of the pyramid live. ?Marketing managers need to live where the poor live. They need to, as part of their research, go into townships or informal settlements, spend extended time there to see what peop...
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006 — No Region Specified

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

Source: GreenBiz

Cross-sector partnerships -- such as those between business and non-governmental organizations, 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 su...
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Home Page Ghana

Kasoa (C/R), June 4, GNA - Mrs. Rose Newman, National Vice President of the Association of Rural Banks, has expressed concern about the refusal of the women groups and other customers to repay loans granted them under the micro-finance programme. She stated that the programme, was initiated by the government and the World Bank to help reduce poverty facing people in rural areas especially women and urged them not to throw the laudable idea out of gear. Mrs. Ne...
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006 — No Region Specified

Poisonous Tree Frog Could Bring Wealth to Tribe in Brazilian Amazon

Source: The New York Times

I came across this article in?last week's New York Times and thought that it might be of interest.? ? Abstract: An indigenous group from th...
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Monday, June 05, 2006 — No Region Specified

Innovation in nations such as India, with low cost operations and high levels of poverty, can be ada

Source: AME Info

According to Prahalad, the secret to India's corporate success is not just the low cost of labour. Instead, it is judicious use of capital investment, a hefty reliance on outsourcing, smart use of technology and creative cost-cutting practices - techniques which can be adapted to other parts of the world. Named by BusinessWeek as 'the most influential thinker on business strategy today', Prahalad points to the 'bottom of the pyramid' as the foundation for future bu...
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Friday, June 02, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: china.org.cn

In a pilot program promoting stronger village involvement in poverty alleviation participating poorer communities in four provinces will themselves make local development decisions, manage funds, undertake smaller infrastructure projects and public service improvements. It's a two-year community-driven development (CDD) program launched yesterday by China's State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (LG...
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Friday, June 02, 2006 — No Region Specified

All-Filipino team wins MIT entrepreneurship tilt

Source: inq7.ent

A team composed of Filipino students and professionals bagged the top prize in the MIT $100K, an entrepreneurship content run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The 17-year-old contest has facilitated the birth of over 60 companies with an aggregate value of 10.5 billion dollars, generated 1,800 jobs and 175 million dollars in venture capital funding. CentroMigrante won this year's award with the idea of providing clean and affordable temporary hous...
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Friday, June 02, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Business Standard

Over 30,000 families living below the poverty line in Asia?s largest slum at Dharavi may soon have insurance cover for their medical expenses and regular health check-ups, thanks to a unique care model. The scheme focuses on partnership between general physicians and the poor families through a health maintenance organisation (HMO), supported by a general insurance company and micro-financing institutions. A year?s research by actuaries has gone into the making of this model, b...
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Friday, June 02, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: Fast Company .com

Have we got a business deal for you! Build a state-of-the-art cell-phone network in one of the world's poorest countries. And include among your target customers the country's poorest citizens -- many of whom live without running water, few of whom have ever seen a telephone. Laughable, right? Not when the entrepreneur behind this deal has spent 20 years building one of the world's most remarkable financial institutions. Not when he ranks among the leading social innovators of his...
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Thursday, June 01, 2006 — No Region Specified

The Third World Goes High Tech

Source: Spiegel Online

Corporations specializing in information technology have discovered a new market -- the world's poor. But high-tech is often already there, and Third World innovations may soon be available in the developed world. The computer of the future is like a pet: always wanting to be fed -- not unlike an oversized Tamagotchi. Otherwise, it causes trouble. After 10 hours in front of the monitor, you have to run down to the nearest kiosk, buy a new prepaid card, scratch free the code and ty...
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Thursday, June 01, 2006 — No Region Specified

Source: The Business Standard

He was the second employee in Nokia?s mobile division, when few imagined Indian telecom would do so well. From marketing manager in 1995? after stints with Pepsico and Reckitt Benckiser ? to managing director of Nokia India, Sanjeev Sharma has played a pivotal role in ensuring the Finish company?s domination in the marketplace. Sharma, who declined to shift to Singapore for a larger role in Nokia because he thought ?India is were the action is? will bid the company adieu on June 30. He talks to ...
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Thursday, June 01, 2006 — South Asia

Source: The Hindu

BANGALORE: HP on Wednesday announced a revolutionary pen-based technology that allows users to compute in their respective languages even without prior knowledge of English or typing. The gesture-based keyboard [GKB], developed by researchers at HP Labs India, also holds the potential for Indian languages derived from the Devanagari ? Tamil scripts and Kannada scripts ? to be used in a similar manner. This is to benefit more than 1.5 billion non-Engli...
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Thursday, June 01, 2006 — No Region Specified

Growing in India: Food for the world

Source: International Herald Tribune

By Anand Giridharadas by Anand Giridharadas Within ...
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