Guest Articles

June 3

Scott Anderson / James Militzer / Kyle Poplin

(Reinvented) Weekly Roundup: Cashless Betting, Good Pod, Beautiful Resolve

NextBillion is changing the format of our Weekly Roundup. Rather than more lengthy, editor-written analysis of weekly events, on Fridays we’ll curate a number of news articles, announcements, tweets, videos and other media that captured our attention over the course of the week.


India’s payments bank dropouts – too soon to sound the alarm?

Three of the 11 businesses licensed by the Indian government as payments banks (i.e., non-lending, financial inclusion-focused providers) have gotten cold feet. What’s scaring them away – and why the sky is not falling for the payments bank concept.


On a more positive note…

Among those remaining eight payments bank licensees is the Indian postal service, and this week the government approved a proposal for expanding its current limited banking services with 650 payments bank branches and 5,000 ATMs across the country. The network, which will become operational in March of next year, “will be the largest bank in the world in terms of reach,” says Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.


Good Pod

Our friend and master podcast pro Tony Loyd this week announced he will be scaling back his thrice weekly Social Entrepreneur podcast to once a week. Frankly, we’ve been amazed at how Loyd has kept up this breakneck speed considering the quality of the interviews and all the interesting people he manages to book on his show. New episodes of the podcast will now be released on Mondays. We wish him good luck and encourage you to subscribe to his show through your favorite podcasting app.



Hooray? Sports betting via mobile money takes off in Africa

After reports last month that sports betting has become a prime driver of M-Pesa’s transaction growth in Kenya, this week came the news that the prominent international sports betting outlet Betway has launched a cashless betting platform in Ghana. The platform will allow customers to place bets and receive any winnings via mobile. Some analysts view these developments as an exciting opportunity for the mobile money industry, urging other countries like Tanzania to follow suit. But what about the risks of making it faster and easier for low-income people to gamble?


Social Is Global

You’re reading NextBillion, which means you’re probably interested in social enterprise, have been for a while, and know plenty of others who are as well. But just in case you need the hard data, 3.2 percent of the world’s population are starting social ventures, with 5.75 percent of the total U.S. population involved in social start-ups as well, according to this study by American University’s Kogod School of Business that polled 167,793 adults in 58 economies.


Optimistic, but …

The good news is Africa’s starting its own disease control agency in an effort to control outbreaks like Ebola. The bad news is it might already be understaffed and underfunded.


A tough week for payday lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a proposal on Thursday meant to protect low-income U.S. consumers from falling into debt through payday loans. It would require lenders to determine if borrowers can afford to take on debt, bar them from taking auto titles as collateral, and restrict loan rollovers, among other measures. Expect a heated fight over the proposal this summer, as the industry and its defenders utilize the public commenting period to push back against the regulations before they’re finalized – and check out the Center for Financial Inclusion’s analysis of the rules here.



Beautiful resolve

FastCompany showcases a gorgeous way to increase entrepreneurship among marginalized women in Colombian neighborhoods still recovering from the legacy of kingpin Pablo Escobar.



ViiV Healthcare, majority-owned by GSK, will for the first time provide its HIV treatment called dolutegravir to millions of sub-Saharan Africans. It’s the largest deal GSK’s HIV unit has ever made in Africa. Dolutegravir has been recommended by the World Health Organization and Medecins Sans Frontieres, among others.


In Case You Missed It … This Week on NextBillion

NexThought Monday: New Paradigm for Leadership – Everyone Leads

‘Clubfoot Can Be Solved on a Global Scale’

5 Trends Accelerating the Acceptance of STEM Professionals in Sustainable Development

Creating a Less Taxing Climate for Off-Grid Solar Energy


Top photo by simonsimages, via Flickr

Homepage image by Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington, via Flickr


Social Enterprise
digital payments, microfinance, social enterprise