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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, October 31, 2011 — South Asia

Indian Companies' Embrace of Shared Value Project Will Boost Inclusivity

Source: Guardian.co.uk

India is a country of stark contrasts. In recent decades, the sub-continent has experienced a rapid rate of economic growth, and has risen to become a key player in the G20. However, this stands in stark contrast to the fact that India still ranks 119 out of 169 countries on the Human Development Index. Widespread poverty, ill health and malnutrition are but a few of the critical issues that still plague hundreds of millions of India's citizens. Inclusive growth, ie ensuring that In...
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Monday, October 31, 2011 — No Region Specified

GBF Welcomes Bob Webster as New Chief Operating Officer

Source: Grassroots Business Fund

The Grassroots Business Fund is pleased to inform you that Bob Webster will join GBF's staff as Chief Operating Officer (COO) beginning this November. He has more than 25 years of experience in international development, including investing, technical assistance and non-profit management. Prior to joining GBF, Bob was the Executive Vice President at CDC Development Solutions (CDS), a non-profit organization that supports small business growth for economic oppo...
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Monday, October 31, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Bill Gates and the Chinese Government Want to Take On World Hunger

Source: Fast Company

The world's largest charitable foundation and one of the world's more totalitarian governments might seem like odd bedfellows, but both, it turns out, have similar goals. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that they are launching a far-reaching partnership with the Chinese government for international aid work on Wednesday. Over the coming months and years, the Gates Foundation and the Chinese Ministry of Scie...
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Monday, October 31, 2011 — No Region Specified

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN): An Interview with CEO Luther Ragin, Jr.

Source: Forbes

Recently, I interviewed Luther Ragin, Jr., CEO of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)-the leading non-profit organization dedicated to the development of a successful impact investing industry. Impact investments aim to address social or environmental challenges while generating financial returns. Prior to joining the GIIN in September as the organization's first chief executive, Mr. Ragin served as the Vice President of Investm...
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Monday, October 31, 2011 — South Asia

Mobiles Can Save India?s Poor Women

Source: livemint.com

India ranks 122 out of 138 nations in the United Nations Development Programme's gender equality index-and for good reason. Only 65% of Indian women are literate, compared with nearly 83% men. A third of the married Indian women are underweight. Maternal mortality rate is high (450 per 100,000 live births) in part due to inadequate antenatal care coverage. Women now account for 39% of HIV infections, and awareness of prevention and treatment still lags. Can any technological or comm...
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Friday, October 28, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Women Lead the Way in the Struggle Against Swaziland's HIV Crisis

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Siphiwe Hlophe's shrewd, enterprising spirit is apparent within moments of meeting her. "You work for Comic Relief?" she says. "Brilliant! I might walk away from this meeting with some money." Hlophe, a Swazi woman living with HIV, wants the money for the charity she directs, Swaziland for Positive Living (Swapol), which supports rural communities affected by HIV. Her resourcefulness is striking in a country where women are denied the right to re...
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Friday, October 28, 2011 — No Region Specified

Big Pharma Giving Away Drug Patents to Help Cure Tropical Disease

Source: Fast Company

Intellectual property is crucial for pharmaceutical companies to survive; without it, their pricey blockbuster drugs can be replaced with cheap generics. And yet, big companies like AstraZeneca, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Sanofi, and Merck are willingly putting some of their intellectual property information in a public database . The pharmaceutical industry hasn't gone crazy--it's just participating in an in...
Friday, October 28, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Famine, Vouchers Can Be Tickets to Survival

Source: The New York Times

The town of Dhobley, Somalia, sits at the gateway of hell. Just west of Dhobley is the border with Kenya, and the road to Dadaab, which hosts a giant complex of refugee camps; Dhobley has become the last stop in Somalia for a growing stream of desperate, starving people in flight from famine. In Dhobley, as well, drought has ruined crops and felled cows. There is no government to help. The town is a battleground; control of Dhobley has teetered between the Shabaa...
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Thursday, October 27, 2011 — South Asia

PepsiCo Gves $8M to Support Access to Clean Water in India

Source: The Economic Times

PepsiCo Foundation is donating $8 million to support access to clean water in India, the food and beverage company announced Thursday. Water is a critical environmental and social issue as billions of people worldwide currently lack access to safe water for drinking and sanitation needs. A growing population, cli...
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Thursday, October 27, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Battling Poverty With Tiny Bits of Cash

Source: allAfrica.com

Bishoftu - At the outskirts of this town, 45 kilometres south of Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, Aselefech Desalegn fights the flames she uses for baking enjera, Ethiopia's staple flatbread. Like millions of poor Ethiopian women, she is also constantly battling to feed her children. In recent years her livelihood has been supplying enjera to hotels in the town. "Except for the chair you see over there, all you see in the house comes from Buusaa Gonofaa," she says, referring to t...
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Thursday, October 27, 2011 — Asia Pacific

Micro Credit Providing a Lifeline

Source: China Daily

Small-business owners are becoming more reliant on non-governmental organizations to provide capital. Chen Jia reports from Shaanxi province. Chinese farmers finding it hard to obtain bank loans are turning to micro-credit organizations to help them launch their own businesses, amid the accelerated expansion of the non-governmental financial system. With savings of only 1,000 yuan ($157) and no other income five years ago, Li Wenqin, a farmer in her 50s, never thought that she wou...
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Thursday, October 27, 2011 — No Region Specified

Venturing into Growth Industries with High-Impact Capital

Source: Reuters

23rd in a series of excerpts from the book "The HIP Investor" (John Wiley & Sons, 2010). See other published articles in the series here ( bit.ly/gSJMtU ). How do impact investors spur long-term innovation? Through garage startups, which can also be sexy. That's where William Hewlett and David Packard originated what's now known as HP, or Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ). Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin followed in that tradition ...
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — South Asia

Research by JNU Shows Inequality Has Increased in Both Rural & Urban Areas

Source: The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Poverty in India has fallen at twice the rate since 2004-05 as compared with the previous decade, says a study by two professors of Delhi's Jawarharlal Nehru University . The average annual decline in poverty rose to 4.3% in the six years from 2004-05, as against 2.1% between 1993-94 and 2003-04, ...
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — South Asia

60,000 of India?s Rural Women Entrepreneurs Get a Boost

Source: Microfinance Focus

A partnership between International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Utkarsh Microfinance, a start-up based in Uttar Pradesh, India has helped 60, 000 women in rural parts of northern India have access to finance and increased credit. IFC's $550 000 investment has helped Utkarsh expand access to financial services for women entrepreneurs in rural parts of India. With IFC's help, Utkarsh is instituting practices that avoid over-indebtedness, encour...
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — South Asia

Opportunity for Socially Relevant MSMEs to Access Funding and Capacity Building

Source: Sankalp Forum

Sankalp Forum opens applications for Sankalp Awards 2012 (India and South East Asia), finalist MSMEs to get access to funding and capacity building. Sankalp Forum, a global platform for social enterprises, announced that it is now accepting applications for the Sankalp 2012 Awards. The awards will recognize emerging enterprises across 6 categories, including the newly laun...
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011 — No Region Specified

Unreasonable, Maybe, but It?s on a Social Mission

Source: The New York Times

DANIEL EPSTEIN wants to get one thing straight: He is an unreasonable man. Happily, proudly unreasonable. Entrepreneurs who want to change the world, he says, have got to be a little crazy. And so, to foster some practical zaniness, Mr. Epstein is a co-founder of something called the Unreasonable Institute , in Boulder, Colo. For the last two summers, he has helped preside over this academy for entrepre...
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 — South Asia

PharmaSecure gets $3.9M from ex-Google CEO

Source: MobiHealthNews

PharmaSecure announced this week a $3.9 million investment round led by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors. Other investors included Gray Ghost Ventures, Healthtech Capital and the TEEC Angel Fund. Healthtech Capital lead a $200,000 investment round for PharmaSecure in September. ...
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

GBF, LGT Venture Philanthropy Partner to Employ iCats Program

Source: News Release

The Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), a global organization that provides investment capital and capacity building to businesses that create economic opportunities at the base of the pyramid, announces that it will be partnering with LGT Venture Philanthropy ( LGT VP ) to employ their iCats Fellowship Program. Chosen through a selective application process, iCats Fellows will be placed with GBF's portfolio companies. Two GBF iCats Fell...
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Monday, October 24, 2011 — No Region Specified

Lisa Hall of the Calvert Foundation on Impact Investing: An In-depth Interview

Source: Forbes

Recently, I interviewed Lisa Hall, President and CEO of Calvert Foundation . Appointed by the Board in January 2011, Lisa joined the foundation in 2005 and brings nearly 25 years of industry experience and has held multiple policy and financial posts. Lisa has held positions in real estate and community development finance with the Enterprise Foundation, JP Morgan Chase and Travelers Insurance. Calvert Foundation's missi...
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Monday, October 24, 2011 — No Region Specified

Starbucks: Venti Plans for Micro Loans

Source: Big Think

The micro-lending revolution , which made it possible for community-based lending institutions to bundle together micro-donations of $25 into loans for entrepreneurs in emerging markets, is making its way to your local Starbucks . Starting No...
Monday, October 24, 2011 — No Region Specified

Urban Microfinance Clients Move Out of Poverty Faster than Rural

Source: Microfinance Focus

Rural microfinance clients are both poorer on average than urban clients and urban clients advance out of poverty at a relatively faster rate (26%) then rural clients (21%). These are the findings from a report released by Grameen Foundation that analyses the data collected by Grameen Koota using Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI). Grameen Koota (GK) has analyzed the data for more than 48,000 clients who have at least two PPIs. The results show that poverty levels of GK clients with da...
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Friday, October 21, 2011 — Latin America

Trashy TV with a Message: Soap Opera Attempts to Teach Women About Finances

Source: Fast Company

Entertaining as they may be, soap operas are not generally thought of as learning tools--unless you want to learn whose evil twin is having an affair with whose sister. But as parents can attest from hours of sitting through shows like Sesame Street , television is an effective teaching mechanism when used correctly. And where children may be attracted to a learning program by giant yellow birds and monsters living in trash cans, adults can be swayed by dramatic plotlines and engaging...
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Friday, October 21, 2011 — Latin America

Pro Mujer Announces $1 Billion Dollar Milestone at Annual "Giving Women Credit" Benefit

Source: PR Newswire

Pro Mujer, a non-profit, women's development and microfinance organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and empowering women in Latin America, held its annual "Giving Women Credit" Benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street on Wednesday evening in New York City. Kathleen A. Corbet, Founder & Principal of Cross Ridge Capital, was recognized as "Humanitarian of the Year" and Manuel Medina-Mora , C...
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Friday, October 21, 2011 — South Asia

Siemens Sees Growth in Low-cost Products

Source: Business Standard

German multinational Siemens has seen hundred per cent growth in the order book of its low-cost high innovation engineering solutions in 2010-11. The company is making a big push to consolidate its presence in India by setting up six factories to manufacture the innovative products this year. For the past two years, Siemens has been driving the strategy of innovating with low-cost products to compete effectively with local manufacturers. This has also helped it to increase sales. Althou...
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Thursday, October 20, 2011 — South Asia

Merging Self-help and Microfinance, Indian Activist Empowers Poor Farmers and Women

Source: WBEZ 91.5

Mohandas Gandhi famously articulated the idea of the "self-sufficient village," in which poor villagers run their own lives and help each other reach a higher, more dignified standard of living. Through unconventional means, activist Nileema Mishra is trying to make this vision a reality in rural India. Early in her career, Nileema veered away from the established activist model of competing for...
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Thursday, October 20, 2011 — Latin America

Green Businesses in Developing World Get $60M Boost, Along With Microfinance

Source: SustainableBusiness.com

The International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, is launching a $60 million equity financing mechanism to "promote homegrown green innovation in developing countries while encouraging the transfer of clean technologies from developed countries to developing countries." The Cleantech Innovation Facility will help small, highly innovative start-up companies that offer products or services that mitigate carbon emissions. It will n...
Thursday, October 20, 2011 — South Asia

Citi India Partners 12 NGOs for Economic Empowerment Projects

Source: Microfinance Focus

Citi India has partnered with 12 NGO's in 2011 and committed nearly Rs 100 million in grants across these NGO's for promoting economic empowerment in India. Since 1999, Citi has supported projects with over 22 NGOs across the country. During this period, Citi-funded programs have benefited more than 1.65 million economically disadvantaged families by way of enterprise development, youth education and livelihoods, financial capability and asset building, and microfinance. C...
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Malaria Scientist Celebrates Success After 24 Years

Source: Reuters

For Joe Cohen, a GlaxoSmithKline research scientist who has spent 24 years trying to create the world's first malaria vaccine, Tuesday, October 18, 2011 goes down as a fabulous day.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 — Latin America

International Medical Corps Helps Haiti in its Long Haul

Source: Fast Company

International Medical Corps is a model for global not-for-profits, with a plan that goes way beyond drop-in disaster relief. In Haiti, IMC is training locals, building communities, and doing everything it can to put itself to pasture. Dan Khodabakhsh doesn't require a whole lot of sleep. It's perfectly normal, in fact, for the 33-year-old doctor to work a double shift bandaging up drunks and pulling bullets from teenagers in the emergency room of UCLA's Harbor Medical Center...
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011 — Europe & Eurasia

Why We Prefer Social Enterprises and Co-ops as Business Partners

Source: Guardian.co.uk

At HCT Group, we believe that social enterprises and co-ops make natural business partners. When the time comes to find a new supplier, we will always ask if a social enterprise or a co-op can fit the bill. The recent publication from Social Enterprise UK, Fightback Britain showed that 29% of all social enterprises receive some work from other social enterprises. We would have hoped that that number...
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How Businesses Can Excel as the Poor Shift to Buying in Small Packs

Source: Business Daily

My colleague expressed shock at the price of packaged mushrooms in supermarkets in Eastlands compared to those in Westlands in Nairobi. The price for the same product was almost double in Eastlands compared to Westlands. She was surprised at the pricing logic, but this is just a poverty penalty. I explained that the rich always pay less than the poor in many circumstances. Micro finance institutions charge higher interest rates for loans than mainstream banks while shylocks ...
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Women Seen Key to Solving Hunger Issues in Africa

Source: Reuters

Sub-Saharan Africa faces daunting problems staving off famine in coming decades but food and development experts also say one solution to the problem is obvious: empower women. "They are the major producers of food crops in Africa. If we want to make a real headway on food production, we should be able to invest in women, improve their skills and access to the inputs they require," said Namanga Ngongi, president, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a top seed producer. ...
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Monday, October 17, 2011 — No Region Specified

Power Can Challenge Poverty ? And That Makes Universal Energy Access a Must

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Earlier this week, decision makers came together in Oslo to launch Energy +, the international energy and climate initiative. It promises to be a landmark contribution towards securing sustainable energy for all by 2030. The need for such progress is clear, given that half the world's population live without modern energy, the majority of people cook on an open fire, and two out of t...
Monday, October 17, 2011 — South Asia

Aakash May Not Help Bridge the Digital Divide

Source: livemint.com

Developments in the information technology world have been catching the headlines in the last few days. We lost "magician" Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., none of whose innovations I see being used by poor people. The Indian government launched the $35 (Rs. 1,700) tablet called Aakash, which Union minister Kapil Sibal called a "tablet for the poor." Also, the government released a telecom policy that, perhaps belatedly, proposes to give infrastructure sector status to th...
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Monday, October 17, 2011 — No Region Specified

Inefficient Developing World Stoves Contribute to 2 Million Deaths a Year

Source: ScienceDaily

An international effort to replace smoky, inefficient household stoves that people commonly use in lower and middle income countries with clean, affordable, fuel efficient stoves could save nearly 2 million lives each year, according to experts from the National Institutes of Health. In a commentary in Science , the NIH scientists noted that indoor air pollution from such inefficient stoves affects about 3 billion people -- nearly half the world's population. In addition to ...
Thursday, October 13, 2011 — No Region Specified

The Millennium Villages Project is Working Well

Source: Guardian.co.uk

The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is a systematic approach to achieving the millennium development goals in rural Africa. The model is community-led development with simultaneous, integrated, science-based interventions in five main areas: agriculture, education, health, infrastructure (roads, ...
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Thursday, October 13, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Elumelu Sees Impact Through Large-Scale Entrepreneurship

Source: allAfrica.com

Tony Elumelu, who made a meteoric rise as a banking executive before retiring last year, knows what he'd like to accomplish with his new initiatives. "One of my greatest joys would be to look back and say I've helped to create ten or a hundred very successful African entrepreneurs," the 48-year-old Nigerian said during an interview in late August at the end of an event-packed visit to East Africa. ...
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Thursday, October 13, 2011 — Latin America

Seattle Microfinance Nonprofit Looks Beyond Loans to Education

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal

Global Partnerships , a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides microfinance to the developing world, has shifted its strategy in recent years to expand its focus beyond the traditional microloans that it started with 17 years ago. ...
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011 — Europe & Eurasia

Afghanistan's Vast Mineral Deposits Could Lift it Out of Poverty

Source: Guardian.co.uk

For all the column inches and hours of negotiations spent discussing Afghanistan 's recent past, present and future, one of the most pressing parts of the puzzle remains largely overlooked and poorly understood. The country sits on top of vast mineral deposits, which, if properly managed, offer the best chance of lifting a generation out of poverty and weaning the country off internati...
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011 — Latin America

Peru Has Best Environment for Microfinance in Global Ranking

Source: Andina

Lima, Oct. 11 (ANDINA). Peru has finished atop the Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment 2011 for a third straight year, buoyed by an excellent legal framework, sophisticated regulators and a government commitment to use microfinance to expand financial access to the poor. This annual study, prepared by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ranks the business environment for microfinance in 55 countries and provides a perspective on both country-sp...
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011 — No Region Specified

California Creates New Corporation Types That Reward Doing Good (FAQ)

Source: Venture Beat

Even as Wall Street is being occupied and corporations are reviled, there is a revolution quietly raging across the country that empowers corporations to be a strong force for good. This week, California joined that revolution when Governor Jerry Brown created two new classes of corporations for businesses that seek to pursue both profit and purpose: Benefit Corporations and Flexible Purpose Corporations . These new legal structures are revolutionary in ...
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 — No Region Specified

Millennium Villages Project: does the 'big bang' approach work?

Source: The Guardian

By Madeleine Bunting Jeffrey Sachs is Marmite. Some love him, while others grumble about his high-handedness. But what no one can deny is his extraordinary energy and drive and how he makes things happen. He announced this week at the UN a second and final stage of the Millennium Villages...
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011 — No Region Specified

World Can Have Power, Cleaner Stoves for $48 Billion Annually, IEA Says

Source: Bloomberg

The world's entire population can have electricity and cleaner stoves by 2030 if $48 billion is invested each year, the International Energy Agency said in its first estimate of the cost to end energy poverty. The sum is about the same as the combined annual capital spend of Europe 's two biggest oil companies, ...
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011 — South Asia

Focus on Social Objective, MFIs Told

Source: livemint.com

Indian micro lenders, who were gripped by a crisis that began in October last year, are now under pressure from investors not to ramp up growth but to make sure they are sticking to their basic precept of serving the poor. Microfinance-focused private investors are increasingly making social performance assessment a must for the lenders. Microfinance institutions, or MFIs, provide small loans to poor borrowers. They lend at 24-36% on account of high operational costs, sourcing money fro...
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Monday, October 10, 2011 — South Asia

'India is to be a beachhead market for us': Danone

Source: Economic Times

Groupe Danone has kickstarted its bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP), or mass market, business by launching a milk-based fortified dessert called Fundooz in India. The 17-billion French dairy giant has set up a country business unit for this venture. The division will innovate "at various levels for the BoP population"...
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Monday, October 10, 2011 — South Asia

$25M Fund Set Up to Finance ?Small Cap? Agribusiness in East Africa

Source: The East African

A new fund has been set up by a group of impact investors and a US government agency to drive growth in East Africa's troubled agricultural sector. Already, $25 million has been invested into the African Agricultural Capital Fund (AACF) by the US Agency for International Development (USAid) and impact investors, who include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Pearl Capital Partners, a Kampala-based specialised A...
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Monday, October 10, 2011 — South Asia

LIBA Establishes India's First Research and Innovation Center for BOP

Source: Your Story

LIBA (Loyola Institute of Business Administration), among India's leading management institutes today announced the establishment of Prof. C.K Prahalad Center for Emerging India, India's first research and innovation center focused exclusively on BOP marketing and among the early pioneers across the globe in this space. The center will be a key landmark to India's growing BOP market estimated at 835 million and recognized as among the largest globally, besides emerging as th...
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Friday, October 07, 2011 — South Asia

Sanitation: Time to Tackle an MDG Laggard

Source: Guardian.co.uk

It is hardly the most glamorous role for Shah Rukh Khan , yet "the king of Bollywood" has agreed to lend his name to the cause of sanitation and hygiene, the laggards in the mille...
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Friday, October 07, 2011 — No Region Specified

The U.S. Secretary of State's Global Partnership Initiative on Impact Investing

Source: Forbes

Recently, I interviewed Kris M. Balderston, Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the Global Partnership Initiative (GPI), which is located in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State, and Lala Faiz, a Senior Partnerships Advisor at GPI, and who manages their Investing with Impact initiative . Rahim Kanani: Describe a lit...
Friday, October 07, 2011 — South Asia

Kerala Achieves Financial Inclusion in All Its Villages

Source: Microfinance Focus

Speaking at an event organized by State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced that Kerala now has a banking facility in all its villages. Kerala was declared a financially inclusive state in December 2007. At least one member in every household of the state had a bank account. According to an Economic Times report, The Reserve Bank of India directed that the plan be extended to provide banking facilities in all di...
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Thursday, October 06, 2011 — South Asia

Danone Floats New Unit to Develop Products for Masses

Source: Moneycontrol.com

French dairy firm Danone today launched a new business unit in India dedicated for developing products for the masses, as it looks to expand its presence in smaller towns and cities. The new unit, Danone BOP India will focus on development and marketing of products that will primarily target smaller towns, where disposable incomes are low. "We have launched a new business unit dedicated to base of pyramid [BOP] consumers... There have been lot of initiatives within the ...
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Thursday, October 06, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Cash Transfers Empower Poor Niger Women

Source: Microfinance Focus

A working paper released by Center for Global Development reports on the first randomized evaluation of a short term mobile cash transfer program in Niger . According to the paper's findings, women in households which use m-transfers, have greater control over the spending of the cash transfer and engage in consumption and production decisions. Households using m-transfers (ZAP) pu...
TAGS:urban
Thursday, October 06, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe: Telecel, ZimSwitch Provide Mobile Banking

Source: IT News Africa

Telecel, Zimbabwe's second largest mobile network operator in terms of subscribers, has teamed up with ZimSwitch to provide mobile banking for Zimbabweans. The service, in a country just emerging from 10 years of economic meltdown, is widely viewed as a huge breakthrough as far as technology is concerned in the country. Telecel Zimbabwe Marketing Director, Obert Mandimika, said the joint venture with one of the country's leading banks would enable banks to offer their cust...
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

For The Energy Impoverished, Hugh Whalan Is A Ray Of LED [Video]

Source: Fast Company

In order to read this you've powered up a computer, likely turned on a light, maybe you're also charging your phone or brewing a cup of coffee. Every one of these actions is a small sip of energy that you take for granted. "In fact, you probably struggle to remember how many times and ways you use energy in a day," notes Hugh Whalan, the co-founder of Energy In...
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011 — South Asia

Traveling Tellers, With Electronic Gear, Take Banking to Rural India

Source: The New York Times

KOLAD, India - Time was, banks employed armies of human tellers. Later, they replaced many of them with automated teller machines. Now, India is using a hybrid of the two - the human A.T.M. - to expand banking to its vast rural population. Swati Yashwant, a 29-year-old mother of one, is part of a growing legion of roving tellers intent on providing bank accounts to the nearly 50 percent of India's 300 million households that do not have them. Using a laptop computer, wireless modem ...
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance Infrastructure Can Expand Access to Energy in Africa

Source: Microfinance Focus

The Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION has on Tuesday released a report 'Microfinance and Energy Poverty' . The report highlights strategies for leveraging infrastructure of microfinance institutions and savings groups to increase access to energy in Africa. According to the findings of the report, there is a large and growing dema...
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011 — South Asia

The I-Slate: A Low-Cost Tablet for Kids in the Developing World

Source: Fast Company

Over the years, computers have become an integral part of education in the developed world. But what of schools in less wealthy areas that lack access to electricity, not to mention the cash for pricey electronics? The solution may come in the form of a $50 handheld electronic tablet, dubbed the I-slate. The device, developed by the Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (...
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011 — Latin America

Banmujer: Benefitting Over 300,000 Venezuelan Families Since 2001

Source: venezuelanalysis.com

One of Venezuela's most important public institutions created to assist impoverished women through micro- credit lending celebrated its 10-year anniversary last week. Banmujer first came into existence on September 21, 2001 as government run bank with the specific purpose of funding socio-productive business initiatives for women in particularly dire economic conditions. Since that time, the women's bank has granted more than 138 thousand micro-credits, benefiting over 300,...
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011 — South Asia

Empowering Farmers with Mobile-enabled Kisan Card System

Source: The Hindu

A mobile-enabled kisan card system to help the agricultural community engage in cashless transactions, especially with their input providers, was launched here on Sunday to benefit farmers in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu by Pallavan Grama Bank. K.C. Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, who launched the pilot project, said there was nothing new about mobile banking. "But this is for the first time that a structured launch involving the farming community have been don...
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Monday, October 03, 2011 — South Asia

Chotuwash, and More

Source: Business Standard

The Godrej Group is walking the talk on 'Good and Green', its brand campaign. If the low-cost refrigerator ChotuKool that runs on both battery and electricity created a buzz because of innovation (how much of it translated into actual sales is not known as yet), the Godrej Group is already ready for more. While ChotuKool is gearing up for national distribution through the postal system, in the pipeline are a slew of products targeted at the bottom of the pyramid. For examp...
Monday, October 03, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

ZIMBABWE: Poverty Alleviation Scheme Targets Kids

Source: IRIN

HARARE, 30 September 2011 (IRIN) - Orphans and vulnerable children from more than 80,000 households in Zimbabwe are set to benefit from a three-year government and donor-funded programme to cushion them from the worst effects of poverty. Led by Zimbabwe's Ministry of Labour and Social Services with support from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the governments of the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the European Commission (EC), the National Action Plan for Orphans and...
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Monday, October 03, 2011 — Latin America

Global Partnerships Makes First Investments in Colombia

Source: Global Partnerships

Global Partnerships (GP), a nonprofit social investor based in Seattle, Washington, and Managua Nicaragua, announced today that it has made its first loans to two partner organizations based in Colombia: Fundación Amanecer and Contactar. With the addition of these two partners to its portfolio, GP is supporting the work of 33 microfinance organizations and cooperatives in eight countries in Latin America, including Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua an...
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  • Managing Partners

    William Davidson Institute
  • Sponsoring Partner

    Citi Foundation
  • Content Partners

    IADB
  • Content Partners

    MercyCorps
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