The solar industry has helped over 360 million people in off-grid communities gain access to basic electricity – and the sector is moving beyond just lighting. Many companies now offer household appliances and, increasingly, “productive-use” appliances that support income-generating activities. However, investment in companies deploying these technologies remains minimal. Leslie Labruto at Acumen and Jeff Stottlemyer at CLASP explore the problem, and some potential solutions.
India’s transgender women community, or Hijra, has a recorded history of over 4,000 years, and once held a respected position in the country's political and spiritual life. But today, violence, hate crimes and discrimination against the Hijra are common, and dignified employment is scarce. Manish Jain co-founded Kineer Services to address these issues - he discusses the ways Kineer creates job opportunities and supports the mental and physical health of the Hijra, and other sexual minorities and neglected communities.
What’s Working – And What’s Not – in Africa: A New Report Aims to Inform Better Development Practice on the Continent
The challenges facing Africa are substantial – but so too are the unique assets the continent possesses. As the development sector works to address those challenges and leverage those assets, it's useful to highlight both the approaches that are working – and those that aren't. That's the goal of Next Generation's recent report on the social investment and development industry trends impacting Africa. Reana Rossouw explores its findings.
Africa’s Tech Startup ‘Investment Frenzy’: Fact, Fantasy – or a Wakeup Call for Better Investing Strategies?
Are Africa's tech startups really facing an "investment frenzy" that's driving excessive valuations, growth-at-all-cost business models and unrealistic investor expectations? That was impact investor Lauren Cochran's argument in a much-discussed NextBillion article. But according to Marsha Wulff at LoftyInc Capital Management, the problem isn't an excess of funding – it's "group-think" among foreign investors who don't see the true value of local, African-led startups.
Blockchain has been sparking social innovation for years – and much of it has focused on payments. Ripple has been an innovator in this space since 2012, leveraging its blockchain-powered payment technology to enable international remittances through a network that now spans over 40 countries and six continents. In this Q&A, Ken Weber, Ripple’s Head of Social Impact discusses the company's multi-faceted efforts to "advance socially responsible and equitable uses of blockchain, cryptocurrency and related technologies.”