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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
Monday, January 31, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Citi, Citi Foundation join hands with PMN

Source: Daily Times

KARACHI: Citi and the Citi Foundation have joined hands with the Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) to launch Phase II of their flood relief efforts. Citi, the Citi Foundation and Citi Alumni have contributed over $425,000 toward the recent flooding disaster in the country. As part of Citi Pakistan's Phase II of flood relief efforts, they have launched a 'Microfinance and Disaster Management Capacity Building Programme' for the microfinance industry with the PMN. Through these pr...
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Monday, January 31, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Farm-Africa to Launch 150 Branded Veterinary Stores Across Kenya

Source: Guardian.co.uk

More than 300,000 farmers in Kenya will have access to better animal healthcare with the nationwide launch ofa chain of veterinary stores offering standardised medical products for livestock. Farm-Africa has received funding to establish a network of 150 stores throughout the country over the next four years. The franchise is believed to be the first ...
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Monday, January 31, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Online Matchmaker Fights Poverty by Funding Businesses

Source: CNN

A Danish entrepreneur is trying to end poverty in Africa through microcredit -- funding African businesses by connecting them with investors from around the world. Tim Vang is the co-founder of MYC4, a web-based marketplace that lets investors bid to provide loans to small and medium-sized African businesses. Bidders compete in an online auction, with those offering money at the lowest interest rates financing the loan. Typically, around 50 investors will part fund a single loan. ...
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Monday, January 31, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Booting Up Tanzania With Help From Google

Source: Fast Company

When Joshua Stern, a graduate of Stanford with a degree in computer science, served in the Peace Corps in Tanzania from 2006 to 2007, one thing soon became clear. "The major takeaway there," he tells Fast Company , "was that the best development work being done was being done by these local groups, community-based organizations." The small groups were often the most effective--yet they had no web presence, no effective way to communicate with other small NGOs or to raise f...
Monday, January 31, 2011 — No Region Specified

Will Mobile Money Kill banking?

Source: Financial Post

Central Banks will Demand Authority over Mobile Companies Conversations at receptions, luncheons and in the hallway at the World Economic Forum in Davos can be fascinating. Over lunch I sat with former stock exchange executive who is working to set up back end payment system for money transfers by mobile. In developing nations where banking infrastructure is poor or non-existent, the growth of mobile payment transfer systems has been explosive. M-PE...
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Friday, January 28, 2011 — South Asia

Microcredit in Bangladesh 'Helped 10 Million'

Source: BBC News

Microcredit lifted 10 million Bangladeshis out of poverty between 1990 and 2008, according to a report. The work of Grameen Bank and others helped many families to raise their income above $1.25 a day, said the US-based Microcredit Summit Campaign . The study follows recent criticism of microfinance, which works by providing small loans to people to invest in ge...
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Friday, January 28, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Former Lehman Banker Leads Social Ventures in China, Battles Dyslexia in Schools

Source: Fast Company

China's social entrepreneurship scene is not all that well known , but the Hong Kong-based Avantage Ventures is trying to change that by infusing the country with a hefty dose of capital and mentorship. The company is led by founder Yvonne Li, a former investment banker with Lehman Brothers, who has a particular zest ...
Friday, January 28, 2011 — No Region Specified

New Vision For Non-Profits

Source: Forbes

No description provided
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Thursday, January 27, 2011 — No Region Specified

(From Davos) China's Economic Micromanaging Unsustainable

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - Belgium's economy minister said on Wednesday that heavy state involvement in emerging market economies is unsustainable, and it urged China to open sectors up to foreign companies. Vincent van Quickenborne, Belgian minister of economy and reform, told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos that China gives hefty state subsidies to co...
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Thursday, January 27, 2011 — Europe & Eurasia

Local ?Bridge-Maker? Turns Up at Davos

Source: thestar.com

Shawn Ahmed is tweeting gleefully about the white all-access badge he's been handed at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where politicians and CEOs are meeting this week to try to solve some of the world's biggest problems. The 29-year-old Canadian landed a coveted seat representing the YouTube community after winning an international online competition called the Davos Debates. It's a coup for a guy from Richmond Hill who ditched a graduat...
Thursday, January 27, 2011 — South Asia

(From Davos) Challenges Remain for Booming India

Source: AFP

By Richard Carter (AFP) - 11 hours ago DAVOS, Switzerland - India has a huge presence at this year's Davos meeting, with bullish bosses hailing a booming economy but warning that creaking infrastructure and wealth gaps could yet stifle its stellar rise. A massive poster trumpeting investment in "Inclusive India" greeted the 2,500 members of the global business, political and media elite at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at this Swiss ski resort. Indi...
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011 — No Region Specified

(From Davos) Poverty's Success Story

Source: The Washington Post

The World Economic Forum convening this week in Davos, Switzerland, is organized around the theme of "Shared Norms for the New Reality." As in past years, the conference will feature plenty of debate about how to solve global challenges in a multipolar, interdependent world. This "new reality," however, is getting a little old. Politicians, commentators and pundits have long opined - in Davos an...
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurship Summit to be Held at Rutgers-Camden on Feb. 18

Source: Rutgers Today

CAMDEN -- A conference examining how investments in social entrepreneurship can help to increase jobs and grow businesses, non-profits, and other organizations will be held at Rutgers-Camden during 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18 . "Innovation, Social Benefit, and Job Creation: The Potential of Social Entrepreneurship in South Jersey" will explore how new business models and services are helping non-profit and for-profit organizations to diversify their revenue st...
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — No Region Specified

Harvard Business? Exec Ed Program Focuses on Emerging Markets

Source: Boston Herald

Harvard Business School will launch a new executive education program in April, hoping to cash in the demand by industries to tap into the potential of emerging markets. Dubbed "Building Businesses in Emerging Markets," the five-day session is designed to help executives understand emerging markets, identify new business and optimize their organization's strategy in specific countries, HBS said. Tuition, which includes books, accommodations and most meals, is $8,750. ...
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Investing In China's Future One Student At A Time

Source: The Huffington Post

For Calvin Chin , the road to higher education requires just a few hundred dollars at the right moment. Take Winnie, for instance. She was a senior at Guangzhou University when her father had to quit his teaching job because his eyesight started to fail him. He went back to working...
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Africa Needs an Agricultural Revolution

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Africa's peasants are migrating to the cities in huge numbers because it is becoming increasingly difficult to survive on their farms. Farmers are trapped into using inefficient technologies; average cereal yields have barely increased in 40 years and farm sizes are shrinking. Although Africans are leaving the farm, far too few are finding productive jobs in the cities. Most are getting poorer, the cost of safety-net programmes is escalating and Africa's dependence on concession...
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — Latin America

Colombia: For the Poor, a New Way to Protect Against Disaster

Source: Global Post

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia - Before a sales team for Liberty Mutual fanned out into a crime-infested slum to sell insurance, the venders bowed their heads, asking god to bless their work and protect them from thieves. A ramshackle neighborhood where horse carts ply the streets and the floors of many houses are made of dirt might seem an odd place to peddle insurance. After all, insurance companies have historically ignored the poor. But the Liberty team was offering something new to l...
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Monday, January 24, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Web Inventor Seeks Voice-Enabled Internet in Africa

Source: Fast Company

Tim Berners-Lee is best known as the father of the World Wide Web, but his latest side-project in Senegal and Mali--the World Wide Web Foundation's VOICES project --aims to give youth and families without typical computing abilities a way to access the Internet with voice-enabled apps. "VOICE...
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Monday, January 24, 2011 — South Asia

Yunus Signs Clothing Deal with French Company

Source: The Daily Star

Yunus Centre and ID Group, a French company, yesterday signed a deal to produce functional clothing for children of 0-5 years under social business in Bangladesh. The business will also provide technical training to the rural poor and generate employment. It plans to start production by the year-end. They will also set up a day-care centre for children under another social business, Yunus Centre said in a statement. ID Group Chief Executive Officer Jean-Luc Soufflet and Nobe...
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Monday, January 24, 2011 — Latin America

Jamaicans May Bank on a Mobile Future

Source: Jamaica Observer

JAMAICA can choose a mobile phone-based financial services delivery system which targets those persons who currently do not have easy access to the established banking network. Carl Rosenquist, a Chartered Information Technology Professional with the British Computer Society, was one of several industry experts trumpeting the development during the Mobile Financial Services Conference at the Terra Nova All Suites Hotel in Kingston in December, which aimed to develo...
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Monday, January 24, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Islamic Micro Lenders Set Up Global Network

Source: TheNews.com

LAHORE: Islamic Microfinance Network (IMFN) has been set up to assemble the international Islamic Microfinance organisations on one platform, a statement said. The IMFN head office is in Lahore and its regional offices will be in Ghana, Mauritius and Middle East. According to IMFN official the board members of IMFN are Farida Tariq, Chairperson, Amjad Saqib, Vice Chairman, and Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer. Kawako Yasuma, CEO, Ghana Islami...
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Monday, January 24, 2011 — No Region Specified

Business Schools With a Social Appeal

Source: The New York Times

LONDON - Business schools can be cutthroat places. After struggling to gain admission to the top schools, students compete for grades and the best work placements. Meanwhile, the schools themselves jostle for position in the various global rankings, competing in order to attract the most able students. But in the never-ending battle for dominance, one London business school has decided to appeal not to potential students' wallets, but to their consciences. Starting in September, the...
Friday, January 21, 2011 — South Asia

Designing the Future of Housing for India's Poorest

Source: Fast Company

The words "affordable housing" don't properly explain the work of Micro Home Solutions . The company, based in Delhi, India, does occupy that housing space, but its more of an interdisciplinary design services company for low-income urban dwellers, drawing upon the insights of sociologists, urban planners, architects, policy-makers, and engineers to help create a sustainable living ecosystem for some of the world's poorest residents...
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Friday, January 21, 2011 — South Asia

Indian Scavengers Doing What Officials Can't

Source: The New York Times

In cities and in the countryside, in forests and on beaches, along roads and riverbeds, India is choking on garbage. India generates more than 100 million tons of municipal waste a year. On a per capita basis, this is far lower than most developed countries, but the amount of garbage generated is growing fast. More problematically, very little of India's waste is properly treated. The ...
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Thursday, January 20, 2011 — No Region Specified

Tracing families? escape from poverty

Source: MIT News

For all the detailed tools developed to study finance in past decades, relatively few scholars have brought those methods to bear on a pressing social question: How do poor people manage their finances? Now, a long-term study of the poor in small villages in Thailand is shedding light on the issue. Having a sound financial strategy, including a commitment to saving money, has a large impact on lifting families out of poverty, the research reveals. Moreover, advances in wealth...
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Thursday, January 20, 2011 — South Asia

India proposes regulating microfinanciers

Source: AFP

MUMBAI (AFP) - An Indian central bank panel has put forward proposals for nationwide regulation of the microfinance sector after the industry was buffeted by accusations of lending abuses. The panel urged that interest rates on microloans be capped at 24 percent a year and that loans to the poor total no more than 25,000 ...
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

After Sudan's Referendum: A Former "Lost Boy" Turns Entrepreneur

Source: Fast Company

On January 9th, Southern Sudanese voted on whether to become a separate, independent nation. While the results of that vote are still up in the air (though early indications reveal a majority voted for secession from the North ), one fearless entrepreneur, Nico Ajak Bior, already has his sights se...
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 — North Africa and Near East

Combating Poverty With Clean Energy

Source: IDN-InDepthNews

ABU DHABI (IDN) - Fighting poverty by promoting sustainable development and mitigating climate change is one of the priorities of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for 2011. With this is view, he is calling for a global revolution that would benefit some 1.6 billion people in developing countries still lacking access to electricity. Addressing the Fourth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on January 17, Ban said: "Our challenge is transformation. We need ...
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Diamond Cab Picks Up Hong Kong's Fledgling Social Entrepreneurship Scene

Source: Fast Company

Social entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon in Hong Kong--and one venture philanthropy startup, Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVhk) , has been at the forefront of the movement, with several investees under its portfolio focused on the elderly and disabled. The group's newest project, Diamond Cab , officially launches next week. "Diamond Cab is the first branded, high-quality taxi servic...
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Central Bank of Nigeria to Establish MFI Fund

Source: Next

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will establish a microfinance development fund to promote accessibility to financial services for low income earners, just as it is planning a review of the 2005 Microfinance Policy. Kingsley Moghalu, the deputy governor, financial system stability, said this yesterday at the opening of the 5th Annual Microfinance Conference and Entrepreneurship Awards, adding that the policy review would be announced soon. Mr. Moghalu said the policy is c...
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Monday, January 17, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Majority of Microfinance Beneficiaries are Women

Source: Zawya

AMMAN - Vast majority of loans for micro projects in Jordan were extended to female entrepreneurs over the past few years, a recent study showed Sunday. According to the Arab Microfinance Regional Report, launched yesterday, women borrowers for micro projects represented over 70 per cent of total people who had access to micro credit facilities. Experts from lending institutions expected the trend of funding schemes run mainly by women to continue in the coming years. During...
Monday, January 17, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Infographic: A New Gold Rush in Africa

Source: The Wall Street Journal

While Africa's resource wealth continues to lure the bulk of foreign investment, the rise of a new consumer class is beginning to shift the balance. See country-by-country data on foreign investment, GDP and more. ...
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Monday, January 17, 2011 — No Region Specified

Creation Investments Closes Global MFI Fund at $32M

Source: VCCIRCLE

Creation Investments Social Ventures Fund I, a global microfinance-focused private equity fund, has made a final close at $31.8 million. The fund is now eyeing investments in Asia, besides Latin America and Eastern Europe. The Fund's investor base includes 74 US and European institutional investors along with family offices and high net worth individuals. Creation Investments Capital Management, LLC, is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The fund has till date deployed half of this...
Monday, January 17, 2011 — South Asia

Muhammad Yunus: Sacrificing Microcredit for Megaprofits

Source: The New York Times

In the 1970s, when I began working here on what would eventually be called "microcredit," one of my goals was to eliminate the presence of loan sharks who grow rich by preying on the poor. In 1983, I founded Grameen Bank to provide small loans that people, especially poor women, could use to bring themselves out of poverty. At that time, I never imagined that one day microcredit would give rise to its own breed of loan sharks. But it has. And as a result, ...
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Friday, January 14, 2011 — No Region Specified

We are Proud to Partner with SAP: Prof. Yunus

Source: VoiceofSouth.org

One year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, SAP continues to invest in immediate housing assistance and long-term economic development activities that will improve the short- and long-term living conditions of Haitians and help develop sustainable businesses and income opportunities. SAP is working to positively transform lives and society through its expertise, software and investments, and partnerships with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Creative...
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Friday, January 14, 2011 — No Region Specified

NetSuite Donates Cloud Services to Social Enterprises

Source: Talkin' Cloud

NetSuite , the SaaS business management solution vendor, is a publicly traded and profitable corporation. But NetSuite has a softer side, too - specifically, NetSuite.org, the company's corporate citizenship program that gives away NetSuite subscriptions for free to social enterprises. That is, enterprises, both non-profit and otherwise, who use market forces to achieve a soci...
Friday, January 14, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund Co-Invests $2.2 Million in Ugandan Cotton Ginnery

Source: Fast Company

The New York-based Acumen Fund --a non-profit investment firm that seeks social and financial returns while helping reduce global poverty--is now in the East African country of Uganda. The Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) will receive $2.2 million from a co-investment between Acumen Fund and Root Capital, with the goal of improving the company's organic cotton output and helping civil war refugees in...
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Thursday, January 13, 2011 — South Asia

ICICI Bank, Vodafone Join Hands to Offer Mobile Banking

Source: Economic Times

NEW DELHI: In order to take advantage of the mobile teledensity in India, private sector lender ICICI Bank today entered into an agreement with mobile service provider Vodafone Essar to offer financial products such as savings accounts and pre-paid instruments. This partnership is expected to bring the unbanked and under-banked population into the organised financial services ...
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Thursday, January 13, 2011 — No Region Specified

World Agriculture Threatened by Water Gluttony: Report

Source: AFP via Google News

NEW YORK - World agriculture employs more than one billion people but is in trouble because it's the biggest consumer of ever scarcer water and a huge producer of greenhouse gas emissions, a new report said Wednesday. Worldwatch Institute, a research group on climate, energy, agriculture and the green economy, said there had to be a revolution in investment in food and water to reverse a "frightening" long-term depletion of stocks. "Agriculture as we know it today is in troubl...
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Thursday, January 13, 2011 — Asia Pacific

China's Top Social Innovators to Watch in 2011

Source: CNN Global

By Calvin Chin I firmly believe that China will be a leader in social innovation. But while there is a tremendous amount of dynamism and energy in this newly emerging sector, ...
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 — South Asia

A Light in India

Source: The New York Times

In vast stretches of the developing world, after the sun sets, everything goes dark. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 70 percent of the population lack electricity. However, no country has more citizens living without power than India, where more than 400 million people , the vast majority of them villagers, have no electricity. The place that remains most in darkness is Bihar, India's poor...
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011 — No Region Specified

Quake-hit Haiti Looks to Textile Park for Jobs Boon

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - The U.S. and Haitian governments signed a deal on Tuesday with a South Korea n garment manufacturer to develop an industrial park in quake-hit Haiti in one of the largest investment projects in the poor Caribbean country. The project with South Korea's Sae-A Trading Company Limited is also backed by the Inter-American Development Bank and intends to breathe new life into Haiti'...
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: Stanford University to Explore Entrepreneurship and Development in Continent

Source: allAfrica.com

On Saturday, January 29th, Stanford University will host its fifth annual Stanford Africa Forum. This year the conference will explore Entrepreneurship and Development in Africa. The topic of entrepreneurship is particularly relevant to Africa. In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion in the development community that socioeconomic advancement is better achieved through business (entrepreneurship and social enterprise) than through traditional aid. Many iterations...
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011 — South Asia

SKS Cuts Interest Rate to 24.55%

Source: Business Standard

SKS Microfinance, the only listed microfinance institution (MFI) in the country, has reduced interest rates from 26.69 per cent to 24.55 per cent. The change would apply uniformly across the country, with effect from January 11. "The company will not collect any credit shield charge, loan processing fee or card fee. With this, all effective interest rates will remain at 24.55 per cent (depreciating), or a flat 12.55 per cent a year, for all future disbursements," the company said in a f...
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 — Latin America

$2.5 Million Prize for Transforming Banking Sector in Haiti

Source: PR Newswire

SEATTLE and PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced today that Haitian mobile operator Digicel won a $2.5 million award from the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI). Digicel was recognized for being the first to launch a mobile money service in Haiti, Tcho Tcho Mobile, that meets the competition's stringent criteria. This award,...
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Half of Tanzania?s Population on Phone

Source: AfricaNews.com

A research team at the University of Dar es Salaam says half the Tanzanian population is currently hooked to mobile phones, and that it takes just a handset to run a business in the country. Led by Prof Ophelia Mascarenhas of the university, there is no need for offices, visiting cards or huge capital investments. He is joined by Dr. Raphael Mmasi and Dr. Hezron Makundi of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) in his findings. The team however re...
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

East Africa Poised to Tap a Reborn South Sudan

Source: Stabroek News

NAIROBI/KAMPALA, (Reuters) - East African nations could reap trade and investment opportunities worth billions of dollars to help develop south Sudan if it splits from the north, but they will have to compete with bigger rivals like China to do so. Southerners are expected to vote overwhelmingly in favour of separation in a referendum next week, a vote that follows decades of civil war with the north and, the south says, economic and political m...
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Monday, January 10, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Impact Investing in the Poor, the Next Big Thing

Source: The East African

Over the next 10 years, investors across the world will not just be preoccupied with financial returns, but will also pay closer attention to the social, environmental and development impacts of their activities, says a report. This will see impact investment, as this trend is known, rake in up to $667 billion in profits over the period and achieve the billing of the newest emerging asset class of the next decade, according to the report prepared by JP Morgan and Rockefeller Foundation....
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Monday, January 10, 2011 — South Asia

Govt to De-risk Home Loans to Poor

Source: Express India

New Delhi The government is in the process of setting up a mortgage guarantee fund which will cover the risk of home loans given to the poor by banks and housing finance companies, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja said. "Housing finance companies (HFCs) and banks hesitate to serve the low-income market for a variety of reasons such as inability to assess credit worthiness, uncertain cash flows and lower profits," she said while addressing t...
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Friday, January 07, 2011 — No Region Specified

The Profits of Nonprofit

Source: The Scientist

In the beginning, they called her a fool. When pharmaceutical chemist Victoria Hale told friends and colleagues that she wanted to start a nonprofit pharma company, they laughed at her, said it was career suicide, that it couldn't be done. "About 90 percent said that in strong or gentle words," recalls Hale, who had previously worked at the US Food and Drug Administration and Genentech. "But I knew I wanted to try." And so she did. In 1998, Hale wrote a business plan, gathered seed ...
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Friday, January 07, 2011 — South Asia

Ebay Founder Plans to be India's Biggest Social Investor

Source: Business Standard

The philanthropic fund started by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of Ebay Inc, plans to be the biggest investor in projects targeting India's 900 million poor, living on less than $2 a day. "The rate at which we're investing, we will probably be the leading firm in that space at the bottom of the pyramid," said Jayant Sinha, managing director of Omidyar Network's India operations. Ranked second on Barron's list of the world's 25 best philanthropists last month, the...
Friday, January 07, 2011 — No Region Specified

A New Plan for Job Growth in Haiti

Source: PRI's The World

Unemployment and underemployment were huge problems in Haiti even before last year's devastating earthquake. And despite the influx of aid groups, and millions of dollars in aid, many Haitians remain without a job. But two students from the Massachusetts Ins...
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Thursday, January 06, 2011 — South Asia

Indian Tales of Inclusive Business Models

Source: Harvard Business Review

We just spent the last few weeks criss-crossing India to discover how private sector companies are striving to support India's quest for "inclusive growth." Inclusive growth has become the economic development mantra for both Indian politicians and CEOs in recent months. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is championing this concept to ensure that even as the red-hot Indian economy keeps growing at 9%, this growth is equ...
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Thursday, January 06, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Can P&G make money in places where people earn $2 a day?

Source: CNNMoney.com

Despite the growing belief that the billions of poor -- what the late management thinker C.K. Prahalad termed the "bottom of the pyramid" -- can actually make up a viable economic market, most attempts to harness it have failed. Procter & Gamble ( PG ), a $79 billion (in sales) company better known for its middle- and upper-middle-class brands than for its low-end offerings, thinks there's another way to re...
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Thursday, January 06, 2011 — No Region Specified

Dermalogica Puts Kiva's Microloans in Women's Manicured Hands

Source: Fast Company

Microfinance platform Kiva is moving into a salon near you thanks to a collaboration with professional skincare company Dermalogica. The pair are teaming up to launch JoinFITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship), a global entrepreneurship platform that will offer microloans to women in 56 countries. Over the next two years, JoinFITE will finance 25,000 female entrepreneurs--with a little help from Dermalogica's customers.
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011 — South Asia

Husk Power Systems Wants to Lead "a Revolution in Electricity"

Source: Fast Company

Sometimes the simplest ideas can produce powerful results. Husk Power Systems (HPS) is premised on a simple need--for electricity--and a simple material--discarded rice husks. The for-profit social enterprise was started four years ago by three Indians from the state of Bihar, along with one American classmate from the University of Virginia...
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011 — No Region Specified

Microlenders, Honored With Nobel, Are Struggling

Source: The New York Times

MUMBAI - Microcredit is losing its halo in many developing countries. Microcredit was once extolled by world leaders like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair as a powerful tool that could hel...
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011 — Latin America

To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor

Source: The New York Times

The city of Rio de Janeiro is infamous for the fact that one can look out from a precarious shack on a hill in a miserable favela and see practically into the window of a luxury high-rise condominium. Parts of Brazil look like southern California. Parts of it look like Haiti. Many countries display great wealth side by side with great poverty. But until recently, Brazil was the most unequal country in the world. Today, however, Brazil's level of economic ineq...
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Tuesday, January 04, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Harvard Business Review on Reaching India?s ?Vast Middle?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The meltdown of the microfinance industry in Andhra Pradesh, as we have noted carries big risks not just for an industry designed to serve the poor but for the entire concept that the poor can be profitable customers. That has been an emerging trend in management thinking about emerging markets in the last few years, in part because of the success of microfinance. But since these matte...
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Tuesday, January 04, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Joseph to Spearhead M-Pesa Expansion in Africa

Source: Business Daily

Michael Joseph, the immediate former CEO of Safaricom, has been tapped to spearhead the expansion of M-Pesa to other African countries as part of a plan to have a seamless mobile money transfer service on the continent. M-Pesa is already successful in Kenya, and is now also available in Tanzania, Afghanistan, South Africa, while a pilot service is on in India. But Vodafone is looking at spreading the services to other African countries such as DR Congo, Lesotho, and Mozambique wit...
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Tuesday, January 04, 2011 — No Region Specified

More Business Schools Embracing 'Do-Gooders'

Source: MSNBC

The popular image of a modern-day business school student as a sharp-suited spreadsheet wizard increasingly is being turned on its head. For reasons ranging from the economy to a change in attitudes, many students today are pursuing business school degrees with a view toward working with non-profits, or launching socially responsible businesses. Myles Lutheran is an example. Until recently he was the archetypal ...
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Monday, January 03, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Award Winning Social Enterprise Uses Bikes to Power Utilities

Source: Justmeans

Every year, Echoing Green selects a handful of social entrepreneurs to participate in a two-year fellowship. Echoing Green fellows receive start-up capital and technical assistance to build their fledgling social enterprises. Perhaps the most interesting Echoing Green fellow this year is 23-year-old Jodie Wu, founder of Global Cycle Solutions. Based in Arusha, Tanzania, Global Cycle Solutions is innovative from both an engineering and entrepreneurial perspective. The company creates dev...
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Monday, January 03, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

African Huts Far From the Grid Glow With Renewable Power

Source: New York Times

As small-scale renewable energy becomes cheaper, more reliable and more efficient, it is providing the first drops of modern power to people who live far from slow-growing electricity grids and fuel pipelines in developing countries. Although dwarfed by the big renewable energy projects that many industrialized countries are embracing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, these tiny systems are playing an epic, transformative role. The ...
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Monday, January 03, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Interest Rates on Microloans in Rwanda to Drop

Source: The East African

Rwandans will soon pay lower interest rates following the launch of the Transparent Pricing Initiative project in the country. The initiative, which is already operational in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, is part of the broader MFTransparency programme aimed at impelling African microfinance institutions to price loans fairly and educate citizens on interest rates. "Rather than attempt to control interest rates, we facilitate transparent pricing in microfinance products so that all ...
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Sunday, January 02, 2011 — South Asia

The Rich Market that is India's Poor

Source: The National

MUMBAI - The sleek, portable computing platform, akin to the iPad, offers all the practical features of a tablet computer - internet browser, multimedia player, PDF reader and video-conferencing capability. But its biggest draw is its price: US$35 [Dh128]. Unveiling the prototype of the touch-screen computing tool in July, Kapil Sibal, who at the time was India's human resources and development minister, pegged the device as India's answer to the $100 laptop developed in 2...
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