An Ironic Impact of COVID-19: Will the Pandemic Put Digital Health (Finally) on the Path to Reducing Health Inequalities at Scale in Emerging Markets?
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a digital health revolution, and Michal Matul and Niti Pall at AXA Emerging Customers say these shifts could help close the healthcare access gap in emerging markets. Based on AXA's work bundling digital health services into its inclusive insurance products across nine countries, they share key lessons on how telemedicine can sustain this momentum and become a viable option for eliminating health inequalities over the long term.
In the Race for Dominance in African Fintech, Partnerships With Phone Makers Are Transforming the Landscape
Corporate partnerships and acquisitions have proliferated in Africa's fintech sector in recent years, as companies fight for dominance in the growing digital payment space. Digital economy analyst Jill Lagos Shemin highlights an emerging element of this trend: alliances between mobile phone makers and payment providers and telecom operators. She explores how these partnerships can boost customer access to smartphones and digital credit, while expanding Africa's digital finance ecosystem and building tech players' footprint in this sought-after market.
Activating a Network of 4 Million: Community Health Workers are Key to Fighting COVID-19 – Here’s How They Can Accelerate Financial Inclusion
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the role of community health workers. According to Tanjila Mazumder Drishti, Khondokar Anwar Shadat and Raiya Kishwar Ashraf at BRAC, it has also demonstrated their potential as proponents of financial access — for themselves and the families they serve. They explore a BRAC initiative to enroll its 50,000 health workers in Bangladesh in mobile money, and share how this scalable model could have enormous implications for global financial inclusion.
Transforming Microcredit After COVID-19: Why ‘Building Back Better’ Will Require a Radical Reboot of Local Financial Systems in the Global South
Microcredit advocates have expressed the expectation that the industry can play a major role in economic and social recovery in the Global South after the COVID-19 pandemic. But economist Milford Bateman argues that shifting these micro-lending programs into community-owned financial institutions would make a more substantial impact. He shares a roadmap for empowering community-focused economies, and explores how a plan modeled after elements of the U.S.'s New Deal could transform local finance.
Social Protection Goes Digital: Lessons From an Innovative, WhatsApp-Driven Outreach Campaign in Paraguay
The COVID-19 lockdown has reshaped social policy in Paraguay, as programs that depended on face-to-face contact to reach participants suddenly found themselves unable to conduct their usual outreach. Cristina Heisecke, Carolina de Miranda and Mauricio Royg of Fundación Capital share lessons from an innovative solution to this challenge: a digital campaign that used WhatsApp to offer a remote alternative to the in-person training and coaching of the country's flagship cash transfer program.
Developing a ‘Purpose Mindset’: How Microsoft’s Employee Giving Efforts Are Impacting the Company – and the World
Microsoft is mainly known for its tech innovations, but it has brought a similarly inventive approach to employee giving. Akhtar Badshah at Catalytic Innovators Group, who led Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts for 10 years, explores this model in his new book, "Purpose Mindset: How Microsoft Inspires Employees & Alumni to Change the World." He discusses the company's efforts to effect large-scale social change through small-scale staff donations and volunteerism, and shares lessons for other organizations that want to foster a culture of purpose and empathy.
Addressing COVID-19 While Building Long-Term Capacity: Trends and Opportunities in Africa’s Growing Pharmaceutical Markets
The African pharmaceutical market’s estimated worth is between US $40 – $65 billion, but it remains largely untapped, with a heavy reliance on imports. According to Biodun Awosusi at Health Systems and Development Enterprise, the COVID-19 crisis shows the urgent need to unlock new partnerships and investments to accelerate the local production of medical supplies, medicines and vaccines, which could save lives and create jobs. He explores how Africa’s pharmaceutical sector is responding to the pandemic, and how it could be strengthened for the longer term.
Social Enterprises as Job Creators: Four Ways the Sector Can Boost Employment Opportunities in Africa
By 2030, there will be about 1 billion people in Africa of working age – an increase of approximately 40% since 2018. This means more jobs will urgently be needed to improve living conditions, reduce unemployment and create sustainable economic growth in the region. Carola Schwank at Siemens Stiftung argues that impact-oriented entrepreneurs can play a key role in creating these jobs – but they need backing to maximize their untapped potential. She shares four key recommendations on how to support social enterprise job growth in Africa, taken from a recent report.