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
Thursday, May 28, 2009 — No Region Specified

Enterprise Introduces a Whiff of Revolution

Source: Financial Times

By Sarah Murray In her book Dead Aid ,* Dambisa Moyo calls for the end of aid to Africa within five years. Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda - which has halved aid as a percentage of its gross domestic product in the past decade - recently argued in the Financial Times that aid creates instability and dependency while failing to reduce poverty or disease. Ms Moyo and Mr Kagame are among those questioning traditional models of dev...
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Thursday, May 28, 2009 — South Asia

Profit for Good

Source: Financial Times

By Sarah Murray In water-scarce India, access to modern irrigation technology has long eluded the country's 260m smallholder farmers. Now, small-scale manufacturing and a distribution system is bringing irrigation products to growing numbers of these farmers, generating water savings of 30-50 per cent, energy savings of 50 per cent and increased crop yields of up to 70 per cent. The new system is not, however, funded by a multilateral de...
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009 — South Asia

Slumdog Entrepreneurs

Source: New York Times

Over the last five years, Mumbai has been blessed with two significant depictions. In 2004, Suketu Mehta wrote “Maximum City,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is one of the best books about a great city in recent years. In 2008, “Slumdog Millionaire,” a romantic tale of urban poverty and quiz show success, sold millions of tickets and won a bucketful of Oscars. Both capture the energy and diversity of Mumbai, but neither adequately captures the economic...
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Coca-Cola Distribution Model Contributes to Entrepreneurship

Source: Social Funds

Report finds that the company's Manual Distribution Centers have led to the creation of 12,000 jobs while contributing to the Millennium Development Goals. -- As part of its commitment to the Business Call to Action, Coca-Cola has developed a Manual Distribution Center (MDC) model in Ethiopia and Tanzania that has the potential to contribute to some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Coca-Cola's efforts in Africa are described in a report entitled ...
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Is Aid Working?

Source: Financial Times

It is hard to argue with the lofty ambition to end once and for all the scourge that is global poverty. How the world should go about this, however, is much more vexed. If poor countries do not have sufficient capital, aid advocates argue that there is a moral imperative for rich ones to help. Since 1970 hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral and multilateral aid has been sent to Africa from the developed world. G20 leaders agreed at last month’s summit London that an extra $50bn ...
Thursday, May 21, 2009 — No Region Specified

The patient capitalist


CHAMPIONS of market forces are a glum lot these days, for the most part. But not Jacqueline Novogratz, a market-minded development expert. The current crisis in capitalism, she believes, strengthens her call for a sweeping change in how the world tackles poverty. “The financial system is broken, yes, but so too is the aid system,” she observes. In her view, “a moment of great innovation” could be at hand. In “The Blue Sweater”, her recently published ...
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009 — No Region Specified

Emerging markets: Monitor Group study offers lessons

Source: MBA Universe

What makes businesses succeed in emerging markets, where the customer profile and demands are quite different from more affluent western markets? Monitor Inclusive Markets, part of the consulting company Monitor Group firms, has released “Emerging Markets, Emerging Models,” a report analyzing the actual behaviors, economics, and business models of successful “market-based solutions”—financially-sustainable enterprises that address challenges of global poverty.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009 — No Region Specified

Is Innovation at a Crossroads?

Source: Fast Company

Over the last few years the traditional thinking about innovation has been turned on its head. We used to assume that innovation was driven by access to the most advanced tools and resources. But the emphasis has shifted more recently to the role that scarcity plays in driving innovation. This change has inspired a newfound belief that innovation will emerge from the bottom up, out of developing markets, as opposed to being exported by rich nations like the U.S. and Japan. ...
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa?s No.1in No.2

Source: Water & Wastewater International

Human excrement is serious business. Three African social entrepreneurs, David Kuria, Joseph Adelegan and Trevor Mulaudzi, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in February to share this revolutionary approach to solving the global sanitation crisis. The entrepreneurs speak from experience; each has established lucrative and groundbreaking businesses related to people “doing their business” — and providing the proper sanitation facilities for it often in crow...
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009 — No Region Specified

Smooth operators

Source: The Economist

Even those with very little money have a sophisticated approach to finance. Paying interest on your savings will strike most people as odd. Yet some poor people in the developing world do just that. In West Africa, for example, some people pay roving susu collectors a fee amounting to a -40% annual interest rate for looking after their deposits. And the authors of a new book about the financial lives of people who ear...
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Monday, May 18, 2009 — Asia Pacific

Moving Beyond the Moving Anecdote

Source: Michigan Ross School of Business

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For years, groups working on poverty-fighting ventures have used stories, anecdotes, and milestone markers to highlight their work and secure funding. Unfortunately, these things don't actually measure the effectiveness of an organization's effort. Nor do they showcase any unintended consequences, long-term changes, or missed opportunities. But Ross professor Ted London, after several years of field research, has developed a tool that organizations can u...
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Friday, May 15, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: SME Private Equity Undeterred by Global Crisis

Source: Ratio Magazine

It is still difficult to assess the full impact of the global financial crisis on Kenya, but concerns that private equity investors would now pull back have not materialized, at least not in the SME sector where several new funds are entering the market. Rachel Keeler takes a look at the latest developments. Kenya’s private equity market has been on a happy growth curve since 2002. New funds here inspired by the success of private equity abroad are now welcoming international mone...
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Friday, May 15, 2009 — South Asia

Crossing the Divide - The business of social good

Source: Live Mint

Three years ago when we first started looking for money, we had only social venture funds interested in us; now, in the last month, I have got calls from mainstream venture capital funds who are interested in investing,” says Ashwin Naik, founder of Vaatsalya Healthcare Solutions Pvt. Ltd, a start-up that is building a chain of low-cost hospitals in rural and semi-urban India. That perhaps indicates how far for-profit social enterprises have travelled in the last few years to be r...
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Thursday, May 14, 2009 — Europe & Eurasia

Re-emerging Poor a Target for Some Retailers

Source: Reuters

BELGRADE (Reuters) - As recession squeezes the fledgling middle classes of emerging economies, special shops for the poor are seizing the opportunities. Slovenia and Serbia are among countries opening "SOS" shops that allow custom only from those officially registered as poor, who need special cards to access them. "We see this effort as a new retail concept," Trade Minister Slobodan Milosavljevic said at a ceremony in March to open the first SOS shop, a whitewashed old house with...
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 — Latin America

Suman Bery: Mexican Surprises

Source: Business Standard

Mexico tends to be in the news for all the wrong reasons: financial crisis, illegal immigration, drug-lords, and most recently as the apparent origin of the H1N1 virus. A recent visit there allowed me the privilege of seeing a very different side of Mexican life. It also stimulated reflection as to what lies ahead for India as it gets richer and urbanises further. Mexico’s population of 105 million makes it the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Its p...
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Monday, May 11, 2009 — No Region Specified

State of affairs in subcontinent may hurt entrepreneurship

Source: Live Mint

Miami, US: US-based Endeavor Global, a non-profit group formed in 1997 and whose mission is to promote the growth of entrepreneurs in emerging markets, selects what it calls “high impact” entrepreneurs from developing nations and offers them intensive strategic and management support. By high impact, Endeavor means these firms have the potential to inspire large scale change in the lives of people and improve the economy. Entrepreneurship in India, it says, has a bigger risk...
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Monday, May 11, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

N7.3bn Microfinance Equity Fund for Nigeria, Ghana

Source: Business Day

The gap between the demand for and supply of micro credit for micro-financing of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the Anglophone West Africa has drawn the attention of some business development companies to launch a fund that would pool funds together to fill up this gap basically in Nigeria and Ghana. Alitheia Capital ( Nigeria ), Goodwell Investments (The Netherlands) and JCS Investments Limited ( Ghana ) have come together to launch a fund focused on investing in and developing...
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Thursday, May 7, 2009 — South Asia

After a Small Car, it?s a Small Home from Tata Housing

Source: Live Mint

Bangalore: Soon after Tata Motors Ltd launched the Nano, touted as the world’s cheapest car, another group company announced on Wednesday that it will build homes that cost between Rs3.9 lakh and Rs6.7 lakh. Privately held Tata Housing Development Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd, has launched the first of these projects, branded Shubh Griha, in Boisar, a distant suburb in Mumbai, the company said. The firm will invest up to Rs100 crore in a 1,200-unit township in the ...
Monday, May 4, 2009 — South Asia

GE Healthcare Innovates in India for Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Business Standard

GE Healthcare, the $17 billion health solutions business of General Electric Co, is acquiring a dual focus in India which is both similar to what it has for other emerging markets and also different. Like so many other MNCs, it is targeting emerging markets, of which India represents a major chunk, as a critical growth area. But India is also rapidly becoming a key geography where some of the innovative products to address the market at the bottom of the pyramid are being developed. ...
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Monday, May 4, 2009 — South Asia

Something to Cheer: Nano Homes for Rs 3-5 Lakh

Source: The Times of India

BANGALORE: Creating products and services for the bottom of the pyramid is the sweet spot where social objectives marry economic benefits. After cars and mobile calls, developers and social entrepreneurs are looking at creating ‘Nano’ homes. On the anvil are houses for between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for a constituency as diverse as domestic help, taxi drivers, plumbers, senior citizens, graduates, newly wed couples - basically, those who earn between Rs 6,500 and Rs 13,000 ...
Friday, May 1, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Developing Health, Developing Profits


Pfizer's Dr Ponni Subbiah is at the forefront of a revolution in the way the pharma industry views its business, who it believes its customers are, and how it can be socially responsible. There is currently much talk of pharma's emerging markets - China, India, Brazil, Russia - but this expanded world view still excludes most countries, and billions of the world's population. The most potent symbol of global poverty - and dire health needs that go with it - is sub-Saha...
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