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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 — No Region Specified

TechnoServe Partners With Cargill to Support Entrepreneurs in Venezuela

Source: PR Newswire

CARACAS, Venezuela, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- TechnoServe, in partnership with Cargill, has created an entrepreneur development program in Venezuela to identify promising small b...
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Danone Expands Its Pantry to Woo the World's Poor

Source: Wall Street Journal

RICHARD TOLL, Senegal-Twice a week after work, Senegalese webmaster Demba Gueye treats himself to a snack: a 10-cent tube of Dolima drinkable yogurt. It's a splurge considering his two-dollar-a-day food budget, and the 50-gram sachets are "teeny." But the 25 year-old says they're delicious. "I'm crazy about it," he says. The yogurt is an attempt by French food company ...
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010 — No Region Specified

Paul Collier: Why Natural Resources Should Help End Poverty

Source: New Statesman

Natural assets can be hugely valuable for the poorest countries. In Afghanistan, the Americans have used new aerial prospecting technology to scour the country for natural resources. So far they have found $1trn's worth. Properly used, this would be enough money to transform Afghanistan into a land of prosperity. It could finance the security, schools and infrastructure that are the foundations from which ordinary people can earn a decent living. ...
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010 — South Asia

Rang De: India's First Online Platform for Micro-Credit

Source: Economic Times

Kanakama Redi, a vegetable vendor in Puri, Orissa used to work from 8.00 am till late in the evening. Yet, most of her earnings were lost in repayment of the loan, availed at higher credit rates, to buy vegetables. Like her, Baban who makes bamboo baskets too could not make the most of her skills earlier as she required money for the raw material and it came at a high interest from the local lender. But things changed once micro-finance facilitator Rang De took care of their small-term requir...
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Friday, June 25, 2010 — Latin America

IGNIA Completes Closing of Fund I at US$102 Million

Source: PR Newswire

MONTERREY, Mexico, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- IGNIA Fund I, LP Latin America's first and largest impact investing fund, announced today that after seven rounds, it has concluded its fundraising process having reached US$102 million to serve businesses at the base of the socio-economic pyramid. This last round was led by J.P. Morgan with a US$5 million commitment and by Corporacion Mexicana de Inversiones de Capital (Fond...
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 — South Asia

The Pyramid Base Will Get Much Larger

Source: Business Standard

C K Prahalad's paradigm of targeting the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid makes for great anecdotes. But it's easier said than done. India is the ideal environment for "field experiments". Secular growth has seen millions move up from abject poverty to lower-income and then from lower-income to middle-income level. The sociologists and demographers have fierce, politically-loaded arguments about the percentage of poverty reduction. ...
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 — South Asia

Millennium Development Goals: Profit has a Place at the Base of the Pyramid

Source: Financial Times

The death in April of C.K. Prahalad, the academic who identified the "fortune at the bottom of the pyramid", was a loss to many - and particularly those who believe business has a role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the list of eight targets drawn up by the United Nations in 2000. However, Mr Prahalad's work lives on: many companies are looking at ways to address the development goals - which include poverty reduction...
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The AIDS Funding Dilemma

Source: Miller-McCune

In the "AIDS exceptionalism" debate, emotions run high, and the options are difficult: Shift some AIDS funding to other care, or find billions in new support. Dr. Jerome Kabakyenga has just walked a pair of visitors through a pair of vividly different Ugandan hospital laboratories - one ultramodern, the other an outdated relic. ...
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can Ice Cream Help Pull Rwanda Out of Poverty?

Source: Time

Motorcycle taxis zip along the narrow tarmac road from Butare, Rwanda's second largest city, to the National University on the outskirts of town. Along the verge, clusters of students mosey towards campus while men on bicycles laden with sacks of beans cruise past a backdrop of terraced hills. About halfway between town and the university, the students pause at a modest yet modern white-stucco storefront where a hand-painted banner announces the arrival...
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 — Latin America

Nestle to Sail Amazon Rivers to Reach Emerging-Market Consumers

Source: Bloomberg.com

Nestle SA will begin sailing a supermarket barge down two Amazon river tributaries tomorrow as it competes with Unilever to reach emerging-market customers cut off from branded goods. The world's largest food company will send a boat with 100-square meters (1,076 square feet) of supermarket space on a journey to 18 small cities and 800,000 potential consumers on the Para a...
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 — South Asia

Bajaj to Get into Water Purification Biz

Source: Sify Finance

Bajaj Electricals Limited has decided to foray into the water purification business in the country and plans to roll out its water purifier product in the current financial year. The company sees a huge opportunity in the water purification business in the country the size of which is estimated at Rs 2,000 crore per annum and is growing at the rate of around 20 per cent. "We are looking to enter the water purification business as it offer...
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 — Latin America

Slim, Gates Team Up on Health in Mexico, Central America

Source: Forbes

Carlos Slim and Bill Gates are working together to fight poverty in Mexico and Central America. The two richest men in the world announced the $150 million 2015 Meso-American Health Initiative today at a press conference at the Museo National de Antropologia in Mexico City. Slim and Gates, who will each donate $50 ...
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 — South Asia

Threat of Microfinance Defaults Rise in India as SKS Plans IPO

Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Savita Ramesh Rathore stood at the door to her dimly lit workshop in Mumbai's Dharavi slum, filled floor-to-ceiling with bundles of old clothes, and tallied up the cost of her son's wedding last year. "Jewels, clothes, food, the town hall," said Rathore, 50, who makes towels from discarded clothes. She borrowed 30,000 rupees ($645) from moneylenders charging 60 percent interest and took additional loans from frien...
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Desperately-Poor Rwanda, Most Have Health Insurance

Source: The New York Times

MAYANGE, Rwanda - The maternity ward in the Mayange district health center is nothing fancy. It has no running water, and the delivery room is little more than a pair of padded benches with stirrups. But the blue paint on the walls is fairly fresh, and the labor room beds have mosquito nets. Inside, three generations of the Yankulije family are relaxing on one bed: Rachel, 53, her daughter Chanta...
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Behind-the-Scenes Logistics of Kenya?s Mobile-Money Miracle

Source: The Economist

IT IS like magic. By clicking a few keys on a mobile phone, money can be zapped from one part of Kenya to another in seconds. For urban migrants sending money home to their villages, and for people used to queuing at banks for hours to pay bills or school fees, the M-PESA money-transfer service, operated by Safaricom, Kenya's largest mobile operator, is a godsend. No wonder it is used by 9.5m people, or 23% of the population, and transfers the equivalen...
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 — No Region Specified

Turning Your $25 into Loans for Students in Developing Nations

Source: L.A. Times

As she stood onstage at her graduation ceremony in Managua, Nicaragua, Luceymi Maria Lopez Lopez described how the diploma felt in her hand. " Grandioso ," she said. " Superbien ." "I never thought I would be able to finish," Lopez said. Two years ago, she might have been right. Until 2009, the loans that financed her college education didn't exist. But these days, thanks to the efforts of 27-year-old So...
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Monday, June 14, 2010 — South Asia

Micro-Pensions at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Financial Express

Gautam Bhardwaj has no time to waste. With a Bluetooth device fixed on his left ear and a huge Victorinox backpack on him, he is busy trying to win over customers for his micro pension product. So, even when he hires an auto or a cab, he instantly engages in an discussion with the driver. "Bhaiyya, kab tak auto chalaoge...." And, over the next half an hour or so, he convinces the driver to start saving for his retirement. On most occasions, he knows he has ...
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010 — Latin America

Gates Foundation, USAID Announce Innovative Fund for Mobile Money Services in Haiti

Source: PR Newswire

SEATTLE and WASHINGTON, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced a $10 million incentive fund to jumpstart financial services by mobile phone in Haiti and expedite the delivery of cash assistance to victims of the country's devastating earthquake by humanitarian agencies. This initiative lays the foundation f...
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Monday, June 7, 2010 — No Region Specified

Award to Honor C.K. Prahalad

Source: Wall Street Journal

Two months after the death of corporate strategy expert C.K. Prahalad, an environmental group this week is starting an award in his name as part of a broader attempt by Silicon Valley investors to make their region a center of green technologies and ideas. The first recipient of the award, to be named Monday, is Héctor Núñez, president of Wal-Mart Stores
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Monday, June 7, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Unlocking Cassava Potential for Food and Industrial Use

Source: Ghana News

Recognizing the potential of cassava as the 'poverty and drought fighter' crop in Africa, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Farm Concern International have launched a 3-year program that will help 30,000 small holder farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania increase cassava for food and industrial use by processing it at village level. The first of its kind in this region, the project dubbed "Cassava Village Processing Project" (CVPP) will unlock potenti...
Monday, June 7, 2010 — South Asia

Grameen Fibreglass in the Pipeline

Source: The Daily Star

Grameen Telecom Trust and IES Alliance of Bahrain have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a joint-venture fibreglass company in Bangladesh. The proposed company, Grameen Fibreglass, will make fibreglass products, pipes for sanitation and sewerage purposes, building materials, boats and furniture, said a statement. Prof Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Grameen Telecom Trust, and Shahid Ahmed, managing director of Alliance Fibr...
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Friday, June 4, 2010 — South Asia

Frugal Innovation for Financial Inclusion

Source: Economic Times

For inclusive growth in India, private enterprises should innovate to develop customised and cost-effective products and services for under-penetrated markets. The hallmark of such innovations is our completely homegrown Tata Nano, which Bruce Nussbaum suggested contains two salient forms of innovations, 'frugal engineering' and 'inclusive innovation' and christened it as frugal innovation or Nanovation. Frugal innovation is a whole new management philosophy, ...
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Friday, June 4, 2010 — No Region Specified

Siemens Seeks Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Financial Times

Siemens, the German engineering company, has always been long on emerging markets. A bold strategy to launch tens of what it calls "base level" products in large emerging markets like India, China, Brazil and Russia has the scale of ambition the Siemens family must have felt when they built a telegraph line from London to Calcutta in 1870. Backed by an initial €3bn investment, the aim is to design and manufacture new products in BRIC...
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Friday, June 4, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M-Pesa Deals with Banks Push Its Agents into a Tight Corner

Source: Business Daily Africa

Safaricom's tie-up of its money transfer service M-pesa with commercial banks is set to diminish the earnings of commission agents while lowering the cost for consumers and the firm. While the telco pays the retail agents between Sh8 and Sh70 per transaction, commercial banks that offer the same services charge fixed commissions. Safaricom is likely to save millions of shillings working with banks, say analysts, who add customers in t...
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Friday, June 4, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Outcry as Angola's Market for the Poor Faces Closure

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - In the slums of Angola's capital Luanda lies one of Africa's biggest outdoor markets, Roque Santeiro, where poor Luanda residents can make a living or buy cheap food for their families. Roque Santeiro is named after a hero who died protecting his city in a Brazilian soap opera that aired in the 1980s, just as the market in Luanda started to prosper during Angola's civil war. Three decades later, hundreds of thousan...
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Friday, June 4, 2010 — No Region Specified

GSMA's 'Mobile Money for the Unbanked' Announces Seven New Grant Recipients

Source: PR Newswire

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 25, 2010 -- The GSMA announced the details of a further seven grantees from the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) Fund, which is administered by the GSMA Foundation, Inc. with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. New grantees are Cellcard in Cambodia, Digicel in Fiji, Orange in West Africa, Safaricom in Kenya, Tata Indicom in India, Telenor in Pakistan and Tigo in Africa.
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