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 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Ragpickers join India Inc value chain

Source: The Economic Times

It?s ragtime folks! India Inc. is poised to get ragpickers to strike fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Top companies like Tetra Pak, Dabur, Amul, Parle, Karnataka Dairy, among others, are wooing ragpickers to participate in their value chain. Though Tetra Pak is spearheading the movement of carton collection, companies are signing up thick and fast. In the normal run, paper mills cough up $75-110 per tonne for used Tetra Pak cartons. That works out to precisely Rs 4 a kilo. India...
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Friday, June 29, 2007 — Asia Pacific

Microsoft Launches Educational PC In India

Source: Forbes

Microsoft has teamed up with Advanced Micro Devices and India?s Zenith Computers to launch a personal computer aimed at Indian students for 21,000 rupees ($513). The IQ PC will run on AMD Athlon processors and have education software from both Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - ...
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Thursday, June 28, 2007 — No Region Specified

Innovative Marketing for the Relatively Poor

Source: Business Standard

At a time when ?inclusive growth? is taking centrestage in India, a report by the World Resources Institute and International Finance Corporation provides some food for thought. The report, ?The Next 4 Billion?, focusses on developing a market strategy for the millions of people living in relative poverty; what it calls ?base of the pyramid? (BOP). It defines BOP as people with incomes below $3,000 in local purchasing power. The report says that together as a group, the BOP has substa...
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 — No Region Specified

MBA Students Find a Divine Perspective on Global Poverty

Source: Financial Times

God and Mammon are not generally seen in each other's company, let alone in a business school classroom. But as more MBA students become interested in the potential for the private sector to foster growth in some of the poorest parts of the world, one student-led initiative has led to a most unusual alliance ? a partnership between Vanderbilt University's business school students and its divinity students. The unorthodox partnership ? the Project Pyramid Global Poverty Allevia...
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Monday, June 25, 2007 — No Region Specified

Profit for the Poorest


In advance of last week's G-8 Summit, President Bush announced a new initiative to promote private sector development in Africa. While overshadowed by the news of economic sanctions against Sudan and the climate change debate, the Africa Financial Sector Initiative (AFSI) is a step forward in the administration?s foreign aid policy. By providing much-needed technical assistance and creating private equity funds for underserved markets, the U.S. has made an intelligent choice in its fight aga...
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Monday, June 25, 2007 — No Region Specified

Gana-Gana con los Pobres (Win-Win with the BOP)

Source: Dinero

Los mercados de bajos ingresos pueden ser la puerta del crecimiento. Para tener ?xito, hace falta desarrollar una relaci?n de respeto y de largo plazo con el consumidor. Lecciones de empresas que lo est?n logrando. Pensaba que nunca iba a tener un piso decente. En 19 a?os que llevo viviendo aqu?, jam?s hab?a visto una baldosa, dice Mar?a Agat?n, al explicar c?mo cambi? el piso de cemento de su sala por baldosas de cer?mica. Y de la fina, se?ala con orgullo. Le ...
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Monday, June 25, 2007 — No Region Specified

Not Another Cure-All Pill for Poverty


The cover story of this summer?s Stanford Social Innovation Review hits like a bombshell: ? Microcredit Misses Its Mark .? For the development-savvy, pro-market reader, the claim seems out of line. In the long, spotty history of development aid, isn?t mi...
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Friday, June 22, 2007 — No Region Specified

Just What Overcrowded, Polluted India Didn't Need - The $3000 Car

Source: The Independent

Anyone wishing to escape the human crush of India's teeming capital to visit the marble splendour of the Taj Mahal can travel by train in just two painless hours. Alternatively, they can struggle to negotiate the crowded single-lane road that heads south to the city of Agra in a journey that can take up five hours. But if India's roads seem cluttered and inadequate, things are set to get much worse. Over the coming months, a series of car manufacturers are set to unveil new mo...
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Thursday, June 21, 2007 — Asia Pacific

Big Boom Coming Soon in India's Small Car Segment

Source: The Times of India

Even as competition has built up to unprecedented levels in the car market, one segment has remained untouched - that of entry-level small cars. But that's all set to change from next year, with a slew of cars priced around Rs 1 lakh revving to get off the blocks. Urban planners might be appalled at what this could mean for traffic congestion and parking, but companies - and consumers - are raring to go. The first launch will be that of Tata Motors' much-talked-about Rs 1 la...
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Monday, June 18, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Future of Tech is in the Developing World

Source: CNN Money

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- It can't be said too often, because so few people even still understand its gravity: The adoption of technology in the developing world is tech's biggest trend. A new report by Forrester Research predicts there will be 2.25 billion PCs in the world by 2015, up from 755 million today. The vast majority of that growth will come in places like China, India, Brazil and Eastern Europe. This growth has implications for everyone developing technology, whether ch...
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 — No Region Specified

Small-scale Business Funding

Source: Ethical Corporation

Corporate social responsibility and NGO engagement comes in many shapes and sizes, but very few companies are still able to see the potential for profit in poverty. The traditional philanthropic model involves the allocation of grants through charitable foundations. And thank goodness it does, as these corporate grants make possible much of the work carried out by NGOs around the world to tackle poverty. However some companies are beginning to go one step further and to con...
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Monday, June 11, 2007 — No Region Specified

It's Good Business, But a Strategy That Saves Lives As Well

Source: The Boston Globe

'Corporate social responsibility often means leveraging the concern (or guilt) of the affluent on behalf of those less fortunate: Sell to First World consumers and redistribute some of the profits to address Third World problems. But a case has been made for a different strategy that involves selling to the poor themselves. In a speech last month, for instance, Harish Manwani, the chairman of Hindustan Lever Limited, pointed to his firm's marketing Lifebuoy soap to India...
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Wednesday, June 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

Microfinance Misses Its Mark

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

To understand why creating jobs, not offering microcredit, is the better solution to alleviating poverty, consider these two alternative scenarios: (1) A microfinancier lends $200 to each of 500 women so that each can buy a sewing machine and set up her own sewing microenterprise, or (2) a traditional financier lends $100,000 to one savvy entrepreneur and helps her set up a garment manufacturing business that employs 500 people. In the first case, the women must make enough money to pay o...
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 — No Region Specified

Flaws in Measuring the World's Poor May Hinder Solutions

Source: Wall Street Journal

But to some economists, the World Bank's definition of poverty is flawed, arbitrary and tends toward suppressing the numbers. Sanjay Reddy, a Columbia University economist and longtime critic of the bank's counts, says, If their dream is a world free of poverty, they ought to know how to measure it. Our dream is a world free of poverty is a slogan at the World Bank. One challenge facing Paul Wolfowitz's replacement at the bank's helm is how to count the wo...
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Monday, June 4, 2007 — No Region Specified

Big Corporations Try to Tap a Market They Have Ignored

Source: Reuters

The world's biggest corporations are scrambling to tap a market they have largely ignored for decades - the world's four billion poor people. From South Africa to Brazil, companies like Danone and Unilever sell individual packets of yogurt and soap in rural villages and urban open-air markets. In the telecommunications sector, the biggest growth area is among the poor, who are snapping up cellphones. Some 60 percent of the world's population exists on less than ...
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Monday, June 4, 2007 — No Region Specified

MFIs must increase range, volume of services

Source: The Financial Express

Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) can play a vital role in bridging the gap between demand and supply of financial services if the critical challenges confronting them are addressed. The first challenge relates to sustainability. It has been reported that the MFI model is comparatively costlier in terms of delivery of financial services. An analysis of 36 leading MFIs by Jindal and Sharma shows that 89% of the MFIs sample were subsidy dependent and only 9% were able to cover more than...
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