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Wednesday, August 30, 2006 — No Region Specified

Developing new market opportunities for low-income communities

Source: World Business Council for Sustainable Development

A four-year program, run by the Mexican BCSD, will improve market opportunities for local entrepreneurs, creating new business networks involving MSMEs and lifting people out of the informal economy. Funding for the project comes from the Inter-American Development Bank through their Building Opportunity for the Majority initiative. By leveraging the advantages of smaller firms ? their proximity to clients, their outreach and knowledge of local needs and culture ? the pr...
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006 — No Region Specified

Gates Foundation Awards $1.5 Million to Grameen Foundation

Source: Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation, a leading global microfinance organization, today announced it has received a $1.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support its work worldwide. The three-year grant will support Grameen Foundation's strategic plan to reach five million additional new families, ensure that 50 percent of them permanently escape poverty within five years of becoming a microfinance client, and champion innovations that transform the microfinance industry. The unrest...
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006 — No Region Specified

Entrepreneurs to Benefit from Buffett Windfall

Source: Inc.com

Warren Buffett's blockbuster gift of about $31 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is great news for aspiring business owners in the developing world. The foundation is looking to use Buffett's largesse to expand microlending campaigns in Africa and India. These programs make small loans to individuals so that they can buy equipment, such as a cell phone or a sewing machine, to start a business. At a press conference announcing Buffett's donation, Melind...
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006 — No Region Specified

Microenterprises - A Solution for Those Lost in Poverty

Source: Bella Online

The establishment of microenterprise opportunities brings hope to many who are willing to develop their current skills and take the time to learn new ones. Excerpt: The disproportionately high levels of poverty found in many developing countries became the catalyst needed to create a formal process to help citizens of these states develop a means to earn an income. Traditional lending institutions have not been readily accessible to many of these people (particularly women). This fact brought fo...
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006 — No Region Specified

Opportunities to profit from the honourable poor

Source: Financial Times

The idea that money can be made from the poor has attracted much interest in the past couple of years, fuelled by books such as The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid and Banker to the Poor.? Brazil is one market with plenty of potential. Excerpt: The real secret of Casas Bahia?s success, however, lies in its system of customer finance. Just 10 per cent of sales are paid for in full at time of purchase. Of the remainder, 20 per cent go on credit cards ? a recent innov...
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Monday, August 28, 2006 — No Region Specified

SMEs would alleviate urban and rural poverty

Source: Ghana Web

Mr David Quaye Annang, Tema Municipal Chief Executive observed that Micro and Small-Scale Enterprises had the potential for the future growth of both employment and incomes, as well as the alleviation of urban and rural poverty in the country. Excerpt: Tema, Aug. 25, GNA - Mr David Quaye Annang, Tema Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) on Thursday, observed that Micro and Small-Scale Enterprises (MSEs) had the potential for the future growth of both employment and incomes, as well as the alleviation...
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Monday, August 28, 2006 — No Region Specified

Turkey's born-again farmer

Source: Asia Times

Organic food might change your life, but organic farming can change the lives of thousands. Nazmi Ilicali, born in 1953, grew up in the east of Turkey in the province of Erzurum, famous for its scorching summers and hard winters. Erzurum, one of Turkey's poorest districts, is where Nazmi's life has been spent enriching the barren lives of those around him. Excerpt: He struggled on and finally, with the help of his family and a burning new interest, he began to recover. Nazmi discovered f...
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Thursday, August 24, 2006 — No Region Specified

India's Banks Are Big on Microfinance

Source: Business Week

Lending money to the poor has largely been the province of small operators, but major financial institutions are now starting to focus on it in a serious way. ICICI Bank (IDN) is a big money-center lender that deals with sizable companies in Bombay, Bangalore, and New Delhi. It is also one of India's biggest consumer lenders. So why does Nachiket Mor spend a lot of tie in India's economically depressed rural hinterland looking for prospective borrowers? He recently visited a family of fi...
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

Negroponte: $100 laptop trials to kick off

Source: C-Net

Reports that trials of the $100 laptop project will kick off in Thailand alone have been quashed by Nicholas Negroponte. Excerpt: Reports that trials of the $100 laptop project will kick off in Thailand alone have been quashed by Nicholas Negroponte. Negroponte, the chairman of the One Laptop per Child group, said Monday that field trials of its low-cost PC for children in the developing world will start everywhere the laptop is required at roughly the same time. In an e-ma...
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

Tanzania: Bank Sets Aside $5 Million to Lend to Informal Sector

Source: All Africa

Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania will set aside $5 million to assist Tanzania's small and medium firms. Excerpt: Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania will set aside $5 million to assist Tanzania's small and medium firms. The chief executive Hemen Shah last week told The EastAfrican that the institution had signed an agreement with PRIDE Tanzania, a small micro-provident fund, to finance the project. He said the bank's entry into the micro-lending sector signifies it...
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

Nigeria Approves 8 Microfinance Institutions

Source: All Africa

The Central Bank of Nigeria yesterday gave approval-in-principle to Accion, a United States-based microfinance company and seven others, including indigenous firms, to operate as Micro-Finance Banks (MFBs) in the country. Excerpt: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday gave approval-in-principle to Accion, a United States-based microfinance company and seven others, including indigenous firms, to operate as Micro-Finance Banks (MFBs) in the country. The other seven companies are ...
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

Borrowing seen as way out of poverty trap

Source: Financial Times

From a concept first used in the developing world, microfinance has recently expanded to Europe. Hundreds of government- and private-funded initiatives have sprung up to fill the void opened by the reluctance of European banks to lend money to the poor or unemployed. Excerpt: An elegant Parisianwoman sipping her cappuccino in a caf?on Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle is one of the last people you expect to launch into a passionate tirade about microfinance. Yet Maria Nowak is no ordinary P...
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 — No Region Specified

Uganda: Micro Finance Institutions Need Help

Source: All Africa

I am glad that President Yoweri Museveni appointed a minister of state for micro-finance. Ugandans will have a smile on their faces since this is a step towards poverty eradication in Uganda. However, a number of things need to be done for the business community to benefit from the micro-finance and for the government not to lose out. Excerpt: I am glad that President Yoweri Museveni appointed a minister of state for micro-finance. Ugandans will have a smile on their faces since this is a step t...
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006 — No Region Specified

Water scarcity affects one in three

Source: Financial Times

A third of the world?s population is suffering from a shortage of water, raising the prospect of ?water crises? in countries such as China, India and the US Excerpt: A third of the world?s population is suffering from a shortage of water, raising the prospect of ?water crises? in countries such as China, India and the US. Scientists had forecast in 2000 that one in three would face water shortages by 2025, but water experts have been shocked to find that this threshold has already bee...
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Monday, August 21, 2006 — No Region Specified

Tiny grants, big hope in AIDS fight

Source: Globe and Mail

In the Mashuru area of Kenya, a single woman with HIV who had no source of income now runs a small general store, is self-sufficient and, most importantly, is eating properly, thanks to a $140 grant from World Vision. In the same region, a group of 15 women have used a $1,400 grant from the humanitarian organization to expand a small business of rearing goats for sale at market, using the added profit to care for HIV orphans and vulnerable children in their villag...
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Monday, August 21, 2006 — No Region Specified

Declining water supply brings a deluge of ideas

Source: Financial Times

We live in a world in which 2.6bn people consume water from unsafe and polluted sources, according to United Nations figures. Against this, it takes up to 100,000 litres to produce 1kg of beef, 75 litres to make one computer chip and 780 litres to create one litre of fruit juice, says Waterwise, a UK non-governmental organisation ? an idea known as ?embedded water?. Excerpt: We live in a world in which 2.6bn people consume water from unsafe and polluted sources, according to United Nations figur...
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Monday, August 21, 2006 — South Asia

Microsharks

Source: The Economist

Rapid expansion of Indian microcredit leads to a turf war with the government. Excerpts: The dispute centres on one poor rural district, Krishna. Some women were reported to have killed themselves because they could not repay the MFIs. In March a top government official in Krishna temporarily shut 50 branch offices of four MFIs, seized and destroyed their records and told their borrowers not to repay their loans. He accused the microfinance groups of charging exorbitant rates. There h...
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Friday, August 18, 2006 — No Region Specified

Fighting Bird Flu With Cellphones

Source: Wall Street Journal

Indonesia Goes Wireless to Overcome Reporting Delays on Cases of Deadly Disease Excerpt: In Indonesia it often takes days, if not weeks, for reports of bird flu to find their way to health authorities in Jakarta. The delay can prove deadly. Earlier this year, the killer H5N1 virus spread among several members of a single family, likely originating with sick chickens that slipped under health officials' radar. Now Voxiva Inc., a small Washington, D.C., company, has devel...
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Friday, August 18, 2006 — No Region Specified

Entrepreneur has quixotic goal of wiring Rwanda

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Greg Wyler, an American tech entrepreneur, dreams of bringing the Internet to this troubled country. There are a few hurdles. Excerpts: Greg Wyler, an American tech entrepreneur, dreams of bringing the Internet to this troubled country. There are a few hurdles. One is a battered communications tower atop this 14,787-foot volcanic peak. The air is too thin for helicopters to transport the several tons of equipment needed for repairs. Instead, it has to go by hand. One recent mor...
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Friday, August 18, 2006 — Asia Pacific

Chinese Take a Turn at Turning a Sub-Saharan Profi

Source: New York Times

Through all the iterations of the world?s engagement with Africa, most of its nations have remained stuck in an economic trap in which they primarily supply valuable raw materials to the developed world while serving as a marketplace for cheap manufactured goods.? But China seems to be offering Africa something new, a straightforward business relationship between equals based on mutual interest and noninterference in the internal affairs of its allies. Excerpts: China, it seems, is sudden...
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Thursday, August 17, 2006 — No Region Specified

Thai kids to get low-cost laptops

Source: The Associated Press

The ambitious project to provide low-cost laptop computers to poor children around the world is about to take a small step forward. More than 500 children in Thailand are expected to receive the machines in October and November for quality testing and debugging. Excerpt: The ambitious project to provide low-cost laptop computers to poor children around the world is about to take a small step forward. More than 500 children in Thailand are expected to receive the machines in October and November ...
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Thursday, August 17, 2006 — No Region Specified

Making Microfinance Easier

Source: Business Week

Entrepreneurs in the developing world are starting or expanding businesses using small loans from individuals they're paired with online. Excerpt: For 15 years, Angel Asenov Isaev, a 29-year-old Gypsy living in Sliven, Bulgaria, worked in a bike repair shop in the center of town, struggling to save enough capital to start his own shop. About five months ago, Isaev applied for a $250 loan from a local microfinance institution (MFI) called REDC Bulgaria. He got the loan,...
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 — No Region Specified

Informal Sector ; a Base to Development

Source: AllAfrica

The informal sector proves to be the major mechanism for economic growth and development. In most low developed countries, the informal sector is the largest source of employment, investment and government revenue. This is because the informal sector offers the best opportunity for the upward mobility in lifeline of the poor people and their children. In Rwanda, the informal sector is significant especially among the poor, the disadvantaged, low income earners and a vast ma...
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006 — No Region Specified

Bikes Power Computers, Telephones in Developing World

Source: Voice of America

An old invention is taking on a new use to bring phone and computer services to rural areas. VOA Frank Ling reports on efforts to power these systems using renewable energy and bike power. Excerpt: The World Bank says that billions of people in underdeveloped countries do not have access to basic communication services, necessary for meeting the health, educational, and economic goals of people around the world. Communication networks, present everywhere in ind...
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006 — No Region Specified

Women Urged to Lead the Fight Against Poverty

Source: AllAfrica.com

Women have been urged to take central stage in the fight against poverty in their communities. Addressing the Limpopo Female Farmer Of The Year awards ceremony, Land and Agriculture Minister Lulama Xingwana said women needed to use agriculture to overcome hunger and unemployment. Women farmers have to contend with the social difficulties of life, deal with the challenge of food security and strike a balance between entrepreneurship and skill transfer.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006 — South Asia

?Our mission is giving loans to the poor?

Source: The Tribune

Vikram Akula, CEO of India?s fastest growing microfinance institution, speaks to Ramesh Kandula in Hyderabad about his poverty alleviation plan. Excerpts from the Interview: How big is SKS Microfinance in comparison with other such institutions in India? Today, SKS is the fastest growing microfinance institution in India. It is one of the top five la...
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Monday, August 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

Turning Small Farms Into Big Business

Source: The Skoll Foundation

Amitabha, winner of the 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, now sells inexpensive irrigation systems to small farmers in India who have benifited significantly from the new product. Excerpt: Amitabha Sadangi's vision is to create the means for sustainable rural livelihood, empowering the poor to achieve food security, improved health and education, increased income and a stable and productive natural resource base. He has worked in rural development for more than 20 years, and has ...
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Monday, August 14, 2006 — No Region Specified

ICICI's K.V. Kamath Shapes a Business Plan in Rural India's Uncertain Financial Terrain

Source: Knowledge @ Wharton

In an interview with Michael Useem, Wharton professor of management and director of the school's Center for Leadership & Change Management, Kamath discusses ICICI's foray into rural banking and other challenges. Excerpt: The key challenge is to look to new horizons. Our growth so far has been based on our ability to identify opportunity horizons very early and build businesses to scale those horizons. In our case, we had to get the capital right, get the people right, get the technol...
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Monday, August 14, 2006 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A revolution in a laptop

Source: Aljazeera

In an article published on Sunday, Aljazeera discusses Negroponte and his project to produce a $100 laptop for the developing world. Excerpt: After an inauspicious birth 25 years ago when Ronnie Reagan and Maggie Thatcher were in their prime, the IBM 5150, retailing at $1,565, ushered in the age of the modern PC. A quarter of a century on the legacy of the PC is ubiquitous. Chances are one is at work in every facet of your daily life ? chances are, you are using one r...
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Friday, August 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Kenyan bank to use IT to link East Africa

Source: Business in Africa

Nairobi - Kenyan, Tanzanian and southern Sudanese nationals would shortly begin to bank in any of the three countries when the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) completes the rollout phase of its latest computer technology, a KCB executive has said. According to Dr Tony Githuku, the bank's technology and operations divisional director, the bank was in the process of acquiring new advanced banking software to link its subsidiaries in the three East Africa countries before the end of the ...
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Friday, August 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

A Firm Foundation

Source: Business Today

Excerpt: We can?t all be Warren Buffett: The 75-year-old billionaire recently announced that he would donate $37 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to alleviate disease and poverty in developing countries. But that doesn?t mean that we turn a blind eye to the world?s problems: Sometimes, the most seemingly mundane of objects can spark great opportunities for change. For Laila Iskandar, founder and managing director of the Community and Institutional Developm...
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Friday, August 11, 2006 — No Region Specified

Businesses Cash in on Water

Source: The New York Times

Excerpt: Everyone knows there is a lot of money to be made in oil. But a fresh group of big businesses is discovering there may be even greater profit in a more prosaic liquid: water. ?You?ve got exploding urban populations, increased pollution and a need to address those things in a meaningful way,?? said Ian Barbour, general manager of Dow Chemical?s Water Solutions unit. ?Of course, we?re investing significantly in the water business.? Most analysts expect the water mar...
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Thursday, August 10, 2006 — South Asia

Microloans May Work, but There Is Dispute in India Over Who Will Make Them

Source: The New York Times

Tyler Cowen, co-author of Marginal Revolution , reports for the New York Times from Hyderabad: My visit suggested that microfinance is working, but it is often more corporate, more commercial and under more attack than I had expected. He goes on to describe the tension between state-sponsored microfinance programs and private ones, with interesting anecdotes sprinkled in. MICROFINANCE is b...
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Monday, August 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

What works at the top doesn?t work at the base

Source: IDB America

By Charo Quesada Hobbled by an inadequate and often incomplete basic education, low-income people in Latin America and the Caribbean are forced to take low-skill jobs that offer few opportunities for training or advancement. Obviously, they are also a distinct disadvantage when it comes to starting and running a business. As Alejandro Espinosa of Grupo Nueva of Chile put it at the IDB conference Building Opportunities for the Majority, ?successful businesses can?t happen in fail...
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Monday, August 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

The roots of financial democracy

Source: IDB America

By Charo Quesada The poor in Latin America and the Caribbean tend to live on the margins of the financial mainstream. Unfamiliar with and distrustful of commercial banks, they rely entirely on cash transactions and informal financial services such as those provided by loan sharks. Improving the situation of millions of families who cannot save money, obtain loans, increase their assets, mitigate risks or transfer resources securely is one of the central objectives of the I...
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Monday, August 07, 2006 — Latin America

Clinton Speaks on Poverty and Politics in Latin America

Source: IDB America

A highlight of the IDB?s ?Building Opportunities for the Majority? conference in June was a conversation between Luis Alberto Moreno, the Bank?s president, and Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States. Clinton participated in the conference because the IDB?s new initiative dovetails with many of the activities of the William J. Clinton Foundation. Moreno and Clinton discussed a wide range of topics, including inequality, trade, alternative energy, AIDS and the rewards of public serv...
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Monday, August 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

Coffee, and Hope, Grow in Rwanda

Source: The New York Times

Excerpt: OVER the last dozen years, the view from Gemima Mukashyaka?s small coffee garden in the lush emerald-green hills of southwestern Rwanda has changed. In 1994, after the genocide that killed 800,000 people, it was a site of devastation, chaos and abandonment. Five years ago, when worldwide coffee prices spiraled downward, her neighbors in the densely populated region near Butare were uprooting their coffee trees and planting quick-growing food crops to survive. But today, there...
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Monday, August 07, 2006 — No Region Specified

More Action Needed By Business in South Africa On Poverty

Source: AllAfrica.com

Excerpt from Interview: Futhi Mtoba, Chairman of Deloitte Southern Africa, provides a look at where the corporate responsibility movement stands in South Africa, particularly as it relates to poverty alleviation. According to Mtoba, there is general understanding, and even genuine desire on the part of business to do something, but for various reasons implementation is lacking. One solution for increasing momentum, says Mtoba, is to develop better methods of...
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Friday, August 04, 2006 — No Region Specified

The tides hold hope as a source of energy

Source: International Herald Tribune

There is more riding the giant waves here than surfers, thanks to a growing number of scientists, engineers and investors. A group of entrepreneurs is harnessing the perpetual motion of the ocean and turning it into a commodity in high demand - energy. Right now, machines of various shapes and sizes are being tested from the North Sea to the Pacific to see how they capture energy from waves and tides. The industry is still in its infancy, but it is gaining attention bec...
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Thursday, August 03, 2006 — No Region Specified

Professionals, entrepreneurs new pillar of China

Source: China Daily

Excerpt: China's 150 million entrepreneurs and freelance professionals are being recognized along with workers, farmers and intellectuals as a new pillar of Chinese society and economic development. The Outlook Weekly, Xinhua's news magazine, reports that entrepreneurs and professionals contribute one third of the country's total tax revenues. Emerging as a new economic force they include private enterprise owners, technicians and managers and independent pro...
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Thursday, August 03, 2006 — No Region Specified

ICT Access Centers to be introduced in rural areas

Source: News From Bangladesh

Excerpt: The government for the first time is going to introduce ICT Access Centers for the rural people to attach the underprivileged section to the technology-based knowledge society, reports UNB. The rural ICT Access Centers, to be equipped with modern computers and Internet facilities, will provide ICT-enabled services to the rural people to bring them into the mainstream of development. ?Within next two months, we?ll be able to introduce such knowledge centers,? Sc...
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Wednesday, August 02, 2006 — No Region Specified

Seattle may shape "Microfinance 2.0"

Source: The Seattle Times

Excerpt: It's not hard to understand why the idea of microfinance appeals to technology entrepreneurs like Kintan Brahmbhatt. Making tiny loans to help very poor people start businesses fosters entrepreneurship, he said. Brahmbhatt, a Microsoft program manager, is convinced this innovative approach to dealing with poverty has the potential to change the world. He's become an advocate for microfinance at the company, in the Seattle area and in his native India.
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Tuesday, August 01, 2006 — No Region Specified

India?s farmers switch faith to mobile phones

Source: Times of London

Excerpt: FOR centuries, Indian farmers have relied on ancient rituals, the study of wind direction and local gossip to ascertain the annual onset of the unpredictable monsoon rains. Deciding when to sow their crops and when to take their produce to market is based on experience and instinct. In Jaipur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, landowners continue to put their faith in a 16th-century ceremony that is performed every year on the eve of Guru Purnima, the full Moon day in the Hin...
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Tuesday, August 01, 2006 — No Region Specified

Poverty-stricken Rwanda puts its faith and future into the wide wired world

Source: Guardian Unlimited

Excerpt: Office workers talking over Skype. Fibre-optic cable snaking hundreds of miles underground and to the top of a 4,500-metre volcano. Paperless cabinet meetings with every minister using a laptop. This may sound like an advanced western country rather than a tiny, poor African state. Yet this is Rwanda, now in the midst of an extraordinary development plan to leap into the 21st century. More mobile in every pocket than chicken in every pot, the Vision 20...
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Tuesday, August 01, 2006 — No Region Specified

Africa and the G8: A business perspective on progress one year later

Source: Ethical Corporation

Excerpt: Governments and development agencies are starting to take the private sector seriously as a vehicle for development, argues Graham Mackay, chief executive of SABMiller. A year on from the Gleneagles Summit - and governments, NGOs, multilateral organisations, civil society and the private sector are taking stock of what has been achieved in the past year. As an African-originated multinational business committed to helping achieve the millennium development goals w...
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