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  • Cheap computing for millions!, by Harichandan A A

    Novatium Solutions, a Chennai-based startup is building a $100 (Rs 4,300) computer using the thin client architecture. This, the company hopes, will take computing to the next billion. In Bangalore, Encore Software is engaged in a similar experiment. Its SofComp is being promoted as a sub-Rs 10,000 mobile computer. Earlier, the company had developed the handheld Simputer with the help of professors from the Indian Institute of Science in the city. S...

  • Unitus Announces 6th Microfinance Partner In India

    Unitus today announced a $1.1 million investment in microfinance institution (MFI) Grameen Koota (GK) in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The MFI partnership will help GK grow from serving 22,000 to 500,000 clients by 2009. Unitus will provide up to $1 million in catalytic debt and a $100,000 grant for investment in human resources development and implementation of improved management info...

  • A New Threat To America Inc., by Jeffrey E. Garten

    The biggest challenge posed by these up-and-coming rivals will not be in Western markets, but within developing nations. That’s the arena of fastest global growth -- and home to 80% of the world’s 6 billion consumers, hundreds of millions of whom have moved into the middle class. Through long experience working in a Third World commercial environment, companies such as India’s Bajaj Group (transportation), Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, and Turkey’s Sabanci Holdings (packaging, ti...

  • ’Do-gooder’ companies strike gold in South Africa

    Companies the world over face pressure to pump profits back into the community, but in South Africa -- blighted by AIDS and the legacy of apartheid -- doing good has become a crucial component of success. Eleven years after the end of white rule, South Africa is battling the heaviest caseload of people with HIV, some of the world’s biggest wealth disparities and a patchy education system that still fails most poor students. At the same time, the government is pushin...

    Reuters (link opens in a new window)
  • Mobile payphone boost for SMEs, by Itumeleng Mogaki

    A GSM handset that street vendors can use as a public payphone could create a million jobs in Africa over a 24-month period, says its creator. The payphone developed by Cape Town-based SharedPhone International targets informal business owners such as taxi owners and hairdressers, who can then make the service available to anyone who cannot afford a handset or airtime. Described as a breakthrough technology in the GSM telecommunications sector, the payphone has been rolled...

  • Mobile phones boost Kenya’s small businesses

    The mobile phone has become the most essential work item for small businessman who, like so many others in the East African nation, makes a living from various different jobs at the same time. Thanks to an explosion of growth in the mobile phone industry in Kenya over the past five years, handyman Alex Theuri says his plumbing-electrical business has grown by about 50 percent. He also operates a community payphone via the mobile network and further cashes in on the boom b...

  • Mobile phones boom in Tanzania, by Simon Hancock

    Call centres have sprung up all over Tanzania. Most people do not actually own phones, so this is how many people communicate. It is a good business, and once again these phones are connected via GSM rather than landlines. Others have developed even simpler businesses based around mobiles, such as reselling their air time to others, or make a living sending and receiving text messages. Mobile phones seem to have created a new sector of the economy, and some now ...

    BBC News
  • Chutzpah Science, by Elizabeth Corcoran

    Bill Gates’ $28.8 billion foundation is more than double the size of the runner-up, the $11 billion Lilly Endowment, and the projects it has taken on are supersize. On the top of the agenda: battling the diseases that plague developing nations. The Gates Foundation has already pledged $1.5 billion to bring routine vaccines to the poorest children around the world. Now Gates wants to push scientists to create a more powerful arsenal. To put together its list of 14 challenges...

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