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  • Philips launches global initiative to develop solutions for ultra low-cost mobile phones

    Sets out roadmap for sub-$5 hardware and software platform to drive handset costs below $20 Royal Philips Electronics today announced a global initiative to develop ultra low-cost mobile phones to bring the benefits of the technology to an untapped global customer base of 3.3 billion people. The first product from the project will be a sub-$5 system solution ? an integrated hardware and software platform constituting all the electronics needed in a mobile phone ? that wil...

  • Hi-tech cell phones help Africans trade crops

    Daniel Mashva heaves his sack of cabbages and sweet potatoes into a rickety shared taxi and travels nine hours under the scorching sun to the market in Johannesburg. By the time he arrives, half his tiny harvest is rotten and the 48-year-old father of five returns to his impoverished village just a few pennies richer. That was before new cell phone technology changed his life. Mashva now dials up to a virtual trading platform on his new hi-tech phone and sells...

    Mobile Africa
  • Cheap Phones for Third World

    Coverage is growing in developing countries, but phones are still too expensive. With growing wireless phone coverage, even in the poorest parts of the globe, cell phone manufacturers want to lower the cost of their devices to encourage stronger demand in developing countries. The GSM Association (GSMA) announced on Monday that it is pushing down the target cost for mobile phones to below $30. ?The next phase of our initiative aims to drive even gre...

    Red Herring
  • Why ICICI Bank sells cattle feed, by Prerna Raturi & Prasad Sangameshwaran

    Take the case of ICICI Bank that encountered a particular problem. The bank had financed 200,000 villagers across the country to buy buffaloes. But these customers were unwilling to buy more than two to four buffaloes. The bank could not convince these customers to increase their stock to a sizeable number, such as 20 buffaloes. The rationale of the villagers was simple. More buffaloes would mean hiring additional help to look after the herd. On the contrary, four buffaloe...

  • Mutual benefits of profits from poverty, by Peter Day

    Suddenly, in the middle of something approaching squalor to rich world eyes, here’s a supermarket. A real shop in a town of tiny stallholders, quite well stocked and with a constant flow of local buyers. When the owner Dominic Siasamallisi started selling things about five years ago, he did not have anything like a shop, just a basket of one or two household necessities by the side of road. Mr Siasamallisi got his start from a private bank called The K-Rep G...

    BBC News
  • Middle class in India has arrived, by T N Ninan

    Only 2 per cent of households have credit cards (so much, then, for the vaunted advent of plastic money). Even that basic item in a middle-class household, the refrigerator, exists in only a sixth of all households in the country (probably because only a third of rural households have a domestic electric connection!). It might be as much of a surprise to know that half of all the TV sets sold in the country are either black and white, or small (i.e. 14-inch) colour sets. T...

  • Model Credit Bureau “Open Source” Solution Being Tested in Morocco

    A credit bureau to assist microfinance borrowers move into mainstream financial services. PlaNet Finance Maroc (Morocco) and Grameen Foundation USA (GFUSA) today announced a joint initiative to develop a software package for creating a credit bureau for microfinance borrowers. This innovative program, when implemented, will allow poor borrowers in Morocco to establish a credit history which will help move them into the financial mainstream. The project, managed by PlaNet F...

  • KYRGYZSTAN: Micro-credit promotes rural business culture

    The programme In Kyrgyzstan began in 1998, in a small group of villages participating in a pilot scheme. When that proved successful it spread throughout Kyrgyzstan and today operates in 130 villages. It works by organising low income communities into self-help groups that then blossom into rural cooperatives and micro-credit agencies. The programme is based on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that aims to boost rural livelihoods, among other things and the National Poverty Reduc...

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