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Tuesday, December 23, 2008 — No Region Specified

Microfinance Leader Makes Multi-Million Dollar Investment in Microinsurance Companies

Source: Press Release

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23?? -- ACCION(R) International, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, today announced that it plans to expand its investments to support the development and marketing of microinsurance services to the poor. ACCION has taken a $1.2 million equity share in ParaLife a Swiss microinsurance holding company offering financial protection to low-income populations and people with disabilities.? ACCION, drawing on its microinsurance experience, institutional relationsh...
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Friday, December 19, 2008 — No Region Specified

Connecting the Next Billion Users

Source: BBC

Click reporter David Reid travelled to Hyderabad for the Internet Governance Forum - where governments and net users discuss what's next for the web. The talk at the IGF was about how to get the net's next billion users online and how it can aid economic development. It is not just about surfing the internet faster and downloading movies, this is actually one of the most vital and important economic tools of the twenty first century, said Marcus...
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Friday, December 19, 2008 — No Region Specified

Business Gurus Explore Opportunity in Poverty

Source: India Express

Bangalore :? A major market research company was recently tasked by a French NGO to explore mobile phone usage patterns in slums in Kolkata, including the kind of information they like to receive on their phones and the price they were willing to pay, as part of an effort to scope out business opportunities entwined in social development. A start-up technology company in Bangalore is exploring ways to make low-end mobile phone experiences as entertaining as high-end ones with the unde...
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Monday, December 08, 2008 — No Region Specified

Vodafone, Western Union Offer Transfers Via Cell

Source: Wall Street Journal

By AMOL SHARMA Vodafone Group PLC plans to announce a partnership Monday with Western Union Co. to allow international money transfers via mobile phones, as the wireless carrier seeks to tap into the increasing flow of cross-border remittances. The companies are initially launching a pilot program that will allow residents of Reading in the United Kingdom to send money to family members and friends in Kenya, where Vodafone is the 40% owner of local wireless operator Safaric...
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Monday, December 08, 2008 — No Region Specified

Now VCs to Invest in Rural Tech

Source: Business Standard

Venture capitals in India, which traditionally invested in urban segments or technology sector, have begun investing in rural-centric technology firms. Avishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund, Acumen Fund, and Rural Innovations Network are showing increased focus on rural markets. A non-profit investment firm E+Co, with investments in 28 countries, plans to begin operations in India. The firm with $183 million capital mobilised and $24.6 million investment portfolio will focus on c...
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Monday, December 08, 2008 — No Region Specified

McCann Offers Peek at Lives of Latin America's Poor

Source: Wall Street Journal

By Antonio Regalado During presentations at McCann Worldgroup's office in Bogot?, Colombia, staffers have taken to letting a chicken loose to hunt and peck around clients' feet. In Mexico City, the big advertising agency hired a local merchant to install racks of potato chips and otherwise transform its conference room into a bodega, or corner grocery store. Clients lunch on tacos served on a plastic table mat. The point of these exercises: to give big ma...
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurs Turn Business Sense to Good

Source: Business Week

By Steve Hamm As chief executive of Mercy Corps since 1994, Neal Keny-Guyer helped turn the Portland (Ore.) relief organization into a global powerhouse with 3,500 employees and a budget of nearly $300 million. But he was taken aback last year when one of his lieutenants proposed the radical step of buying a bank in Indonesia. Why would a not-for-profit disaster relief agency go the capitalist route and buy a bank? Gradually, though, he warmed to the idea. He saw that, if M...
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008 — No Region Specified

Power to the People

Source: Financial Times

In rural areas of India, local midwives have a new device to help them deliver babies: a headlamp. The headlamp, which is solar charged, not only makes their work easier but also replaces kerosene lamps, which provide poor light quality and run on costly fuel that emits heat and pollutes the air. To pay for the lamps, midwives can turn to microfinance institutions for small loans. The matching of the headlamps and micro-loans was the brainchild of Harish Hande, an entrepreneur who is ...
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008 — No Region Specified

A For-Profit Brings Clean Water to the Poor

Source: BusinessWeek

Tralance Addy knows all too well what can happen to people if they run afoul of dirty water. When his company, WaterHealth International, was shooting a video to promote its water purification systems for rural villages, he posed beside a lake near Hyderabad, India, that was none too clean. The video producers suggested he reach down into the lake and let the water run through his fingers. Which he did. Unfortunately, he forgot to wash his hands immediately afterward. A few hours later, he becam...
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Monday, December 01, 2008 — No Region Specified

From Microfinance to Microinsurance

Source: Forbes

By Andrew Kuper The financial services industry is facing unprecedented challenges worldwide due to excessive risk-taking. Complicated investment vehicles, insufficient transparency and excessive swapping of credit default risk have had a severe and pervasive impact on confidence. The world's most advanced markets for financial services are reeling in uncertainty. Standing in stark contrast to these perilous markets is the largest, most underserved market per capita in ...
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Monday, December 01, 2008 — No Region Specified

Bottom View

Source: The Financial Express

If estimates by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) stand true, the rural housing stock in India will rise by 42-44 million by 2025. A study, ?Rural Housing in India: Challenges and Opportunities?, collected data from 3,000 households in 150 villages. Results reveal that most households reported increase in income over the past decade, with land owning households reporting about 25% increase in their income. ?A lot needs to be done to improve availability of adequate housi...
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