Archive for the ‘Sustainable Development’ Category

The Big Idea: (UPDATED) Simple Truths About Mobile Money via NextBillion.net

Check out NextBillion.net’s latest blog post:

The Big Idea: (UPDATED) Simple Truths About Mobile Money.

Financial Inclusion is development-speak for access to banking services for the poor. Some people in development– banks?– think we need to reach the poor and “unbanked“.

That would be 2.7 billion unbanked people in world. The premise is that even if, or perhaps especially if, you have very little money and/or you live in the countryside, your money is safer at the bank.

One way to deliver financial services, when you have no brick and mortar bank,  is through cell phones. Mobile technologies have created a wealth of opportunities (pun intended) for global development.

Continue reading

The Power of Bill Gates

Let me qualify this post by saying that I am posing a question, not an outright criticism.

But I can’t help but wonder…who is Bill Gates and how is he is changing the face of the world not only with his money but also with his opinions on development policy and his access to world leaders?

Gates is a famous businessman (formerly the world’s richest) and, since 2006, a full-time  philanthropist.  And, thinking about it, this is one powerful guy.

Yesterday, February 24th, Gates committed $200 million dollars to helping small farmers in developing regions. Continue reading

All things being (more) equal, we’re happier people.

I recently viewed the video “How Economic Inequality Harms Societies“.  Here Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level, explains how gaps in income distribution hurt societies.

The bigger the gap between the rich and the poor, the bigger society’s problems. Conversely, the more homogeneous a people are, in terms of income, the greater the well-being and happiness in the society.

And, according to Wilkinson, the determining factor for social well-being is not how rich or poor a given society is overall. Rather, it’s how similar the individuals in the population are to one another in terms of the distribution of wealth.

It would stand to reason, by this argument, that what we need to increase well-being is not more money per se. We need to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Continue reading

What’s your bright idea?

Okay, I stole that line from the campaign for the 2012 IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest.  The contest launched yesterday on 2/15/2012 and is co-sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank.

If you have the best idea(s) for access to renewable energy and energy efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean, you may be awarded up to $200,000! Feeling inspired yet?

Of course, the $200k is to fund implementing your idea and comes with technical and business support to make your bright idea happen.

The deadline for applications is April 30, 2012.


Have you heard of Rio+20?

The big event of 2012 is this June at Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, where:

World leaders along with thousands of participants from the private sector, NGOs and other groups will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet,” according to the conference’s Secretary General, Sha Zukang.

The thematic focus for the event is the green economy, poverty alleviation, and global policies for sustainable development.

But here’s the rub: Continue reading

I got mine…?

Last month (January 2012) the Inter-American Development Bank attempted to answer the question:

Does Inequality Breed Altruism or Selfishness?

The answers are based on data about Brazil’s redistributive programs, also known as cash transfer programs.

One conditional cash transfer program in Brazil is called Bolsa Familia Continue reading

Scratch-offs + cell phones = energy.

Read how this social entrepreneur is bringing a pay-as-you go system to provide the world’s poorest people access to solar energy:

  1. Get a unique code from a scratch-off card.
  2. Send a text with the code to a local service.
  3. The service that will then credit the specified personal solar cell.

From the Sun (Bypassing the Grid) to the BoP Consumer.

Social businesses are reaching and improving the lives of the world’s poorest Continue reading

Can famine be fixed?

From the Poverty Matters blog:   Famine isn’t an “anomaly”, but the predictable result of a broken–and complex– system of food production and distribution.  Hunger, of course, is not just a problem limited to Africa or elsewhere in the developing world, but a global challenge.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/jan/30/famine-predictable-result-broken-system

MSNBC reported in 2006 that the number of people in the world who are obese had surpassed the number of people who are undernourished.

What can be done to “fix the system” so that people do not unnecessarily starve?