Francisco Noguera

Friday Roundup – 11/12/10: Updates on Tata’s Nano and Health Innovations

If NextBillion had a “best seller” list, our piece on the Tata Nano would surely be among the top five, if not all the way at the top. Well, the “people’s car” hit the news stands again this week. This week’s Economist features a short piece reporting disappointing market performance for the Nano in its native India, alludes both supply difficulties and sluggish demand for it.

The Nano’s poor performance shouldn’t imply a defeat for the idea of cheap cars for the masses in emerging markets; also this week, The Times of India reported that Italy’s Piaggio will soon launch a 3-seat vehicle aimed at markets like India and South East Asia. We’ll keep an eye out for that and other innovations in transportation; in effect, cheap cars for everyone will definitely be out of the question in world that is increasingly urbanized. Our allies at EMBARQ do a fantastic job reminding us of these through their recent Cities in Focus series featuring transport systems in both developed and developing countries.

The Economist also reports on the recent mHealth Summit in Washington DC. The article highlights the partnership of Healthpoint and Procter and Gamble, as well as other trends discussed during the summit. For example, it mentions a study published by The Lancet that analyzes recent innovations in mobile-based health interventions in Kenya.

As you will find out next week here on NextBillion, the mobile revolution in Kenya is becoming increasingly deep, particularly as it relates to financial services for the poor. How it translates into other development challenges, like health, will be a question of increasing interest for us in the coming months.

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