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Africa

It’s a Capital (plus Advisory) Problem not a Pipeline Problem

Aleem Walji's picture

Photo Credit: methodlogical.wordpress.comI recently returned from travel to India and East Africa where I attended a round table on social enterprise with the Government of India and met impact investors focused on Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. After listening carefully to entrepreneurs, investors, and government officials, I’m compelled to say something entirely inconsistent with conventional wisdom in the world of impact investing: there is not enough capital to support the pipeline of enterprises focused on solving our most vexing social problems. By social problems, I mean the provision of basic goods and services to the bottom of the economic pyramid where governments and markets often fail.

Take access to energy for example or access to sanitation in much of Africa and South Asia. More than 1.3 billion people on the globe still lack access to electricity and over 2.5 billion lack basic sanitation. Every 20 seconds a child dies because of poor sanitation.

These are public goods and unambiguously the responsibility of public actors. But in reality, governments often don’t have the resources, the will, or the capacity to provide these basic services to many of their citizens. And purely commercial enterprises lack incentives to provide services where financial upside is limited and the ability of poor people to pay is constrained. But this is precisely where inclusive (or socially driven) businesses and social entrepreneurs, for profit and not-for-profit, are innovating and developing new business models to solve our most pressing social challenges.

2012 Social Media as a Tool for Citizen Feedback

Victoire Ngounoue's picture

Un Forum I-Social pour la Promotion de la Santé et la Bonne Gouvernance au Cameroun.More often than not, “we” criticize the “system” for being corrupt; yet it is simply a reflection of what we make of it. For example, what would happen if “we” decided never to collect bribes from users in our health service system? Or if we implemented and respected the rule of ‘first come, first served’ instead of paying or collecting bribes for faster service delivery? What would happen when it is brought to our knowledge that there are irregular practices operating within our health centers?

These questions are for everyone, particularly for authorities in health centers. These kinds of questions are being answered by winners of the Cameroon 2011 Development Marketplace competition. Nowadays, advances in ICT tools and social media channels provide us with various ways to monitor and expose corrupt practices. When I first visited the website of I Paid a Bribe by the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, I was amazed by the innovation, frightened by testimonies, and thankful to those who had the courage to report irregular practices. My next move while browsing the website was to check if Cameroon was amongst those countries participating on this platform. Unfortunately not!

الريادة المجتمعية فى مصر: التحديات والفرص

Myra Valenzuela's picture

يعد هذا المقال الأول من ضمن سلسلة من المقالات ذات الصلة والتى ستعرض باللغتين العربية والإنجليزية.

 كتابة: مايرا فالينزويلا

تعد معدلات البطالة العالية بالذات لدى الشباب فى منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا من أهم الأسباب والدوافع المؤدية لأحداث الربيع العربى وثوراته. وللمساهمة فى حل ذلك التحدى وخلق فرص عمل ينوى مشروع  "سوق التنمية" (Development Marketplace) الإعلان عن مسابقة قومية فى بداية العام القادم. ويقوم برنامج "سوق التنمية" بالبنك الدولى بتقديم الدعم المادى والفنى سواء للمبادرات الجديدة أو المبادرات القائمة والتى تهدف للتوسع وستركز تلك المسابقة على دعم مشروعات الريادية المجتمعية التى تساهم فى خلق فرص عمل بالذات لدى الشباب المهمشومحدود الدخل فى مجال الزراعة والتنمية الريفية فى مصر.

ومن أجل التعرف بشكل أكبر على مجال الريادية المجتمعية  (Social Entrepreneurship) فى مصر، تحدثت مع إيهاب عبده، زميل مؤسسة أشوكا ومستشار سابق لمبادرة شباب الشرق الأوسط بمؤسسة بروكنغز وهو يقوم حاليا بالتحضير لبرنامج "سوق التنمية" فى مصر استعدادا لاطلاقه فى عام 2012. بالنسبة لايهاب توجد ثلاثة تحديات رئيسية تواجه قطاع الريادية المجتمعية فى المنطقة وفى مصر على وجه الخصوص وهى:

Social Entrepreneurship in Egypt: Challenges and Opportunities

Myra Valenzuela's picture

This is the first of many multi-lingual blog post to come. It will appear in both English and Arabic.

Abduallah Abdel Qassim, 47, partner in aluminum shop making window frames (World Bank Photo Collection)High rates of youth unemployment across the Middle East and North Africa were a major catalyst for the Arab Spring revolutions.   To help address this pressing issue, the Development Marketplace is preparing for a country-level competition in Egypt early next year. The proposed DM competition will focus on social entrepreneurs with projects that have a strong impact on creating sustainable job opportunities, especially for low-income and marginalized groups.  The main focus of the Egypt DM will be on supporting projects in the agricultural supply chain sector.

In order to understand the bigger picture of social entrepreneurship in Egypt, I spoke with Ehaab Abdou, who recently joined the Development Marketplace team to develop the Egypt DM program. Prior to coming to the Bank Ehaab was an Ashoka Fellow and advisor for the Middle East Youth Initiative at Brookings.  For Ehaab, there are three main challenges facing social entrepreneurship in the MENA region and in Egypt in particular:

A $450 house for only $5 a month – no interest paid.

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Photo credit: International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)What’s the catch? It seems too good to be true but a 2009 DM winner, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), has successfully developed a bamboo prototype and payment scheme that is affordable and appealing to the poor.

The project entitled "Elevated Bamboo Houses designed to Lift Communities above Flood Zones" is being implemented in Ecuador and it is already being considered a victory. Even before the project has completed its funding cycle with the DM, the European Commission and Common Fund for Commodities have contributed €1,647,959 and $2,007,300 respectively so the project can scale up.

Solar Sister: Bringing a market based, gender inclusive, bottom up clean energy revolution to Africa

Neha Misra's picture

Solar Sister LogoAlmost 1.6 billion people on the planet don’t have access to electricity. And 70% of these are women and girls for whom the darkness is quite literal. Today, even though portable solar LED lighting technology is an affordable solution; lack of innovation in distribution channels has kept the products from being available in the rural markets where traditional supply chains simply do not exist.

The challenge is to marry technology innovation with a delivery system that is efficient, sustainable and scalable. Solar Sister is an innovative social enterprise addressing this weakest link through a market-based, gender inclusive, bottom-up solution to bring a new kind of clean energy revolution in Africa.

With an Avon-style women-driven business model, Solar Sister addresses both geographical access - making clean energy products available at the rural customer's doorstep; and cultural access - closing the gender-technology gap by including women as key players in the provision of technology solutions instead of as passive consumers of energy.

A Locally Based Model Goes Global

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Photo Courtesy: Pachamama Coffee CooperativeDevelopment Marketplace winner Pachamama Coffee Cooperative (PCC) was featured in the New York Times not too long ago. Its newest initiative CoffeeCSA.org found its roots in humble beginnings. Springing from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement which began in the 1960’s in Switzerland, consumers receive their produce directly from the farmer through a household subscription paid for in advance. Then on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, the consumer cum subscriber receives a portion of the overall harvest.

CoffeeCSA.org is a platform that allows consumers to pay in advance for a coffee subscription ranging from one month to one year. There consumers have a direct link to farmers who grew their coffee in Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru or Guatemala. And the advance subscription provides a more stable income to farmers. It’s a great adaptation of an old model for coffee farmers who often live on only $2 per day.

Increasing Profits for Dairy Farmers

Carl Erickson's picture

Three ISAAC Solar Icemakers installed in Kwale District in the Coast of Kenya.The Rural Milk Collection project of DM2006 has been running successfully for two years. The project was to demonstrate the ISAAC Solar icemaker as a method of providing ice and refrigeration to rural farmers. The main findings of the project are that 1) the system is an appropriate technology for rural communities, 2) the village people want more of them, and 3) they are willing to pay for them by sharing profits.

Training the Burkinabe in Building Timber-Free Housing Alternatives

Karen Vega's picture

The WB team were welcomed to Boromo (a province of Bales located two hours from Ouagadogou) by a team from Association La Voute Nubienne; a French non-governmental organization(NGO) with field offices in Burkina Faso. Their team is composed of 11 Burkinabes and a French team member, who trains masons to construct timber-free houses using the Nubian Vault technique.

A Nubian Vault house is made from locally available materials and is designed to use no wood. Because the ceiling is raised into a vault it keeps the living space significantly cooler than a typical box shaped house with a tin roof. This design originated from upper-Egypt and is a good example of south-south technology transfer.

The project, funded by the Development Marketplace, is a pilot that will test out a strategy to identify local champions and potential clients for the Nubian Vault houses.

Blogging from the field: Kadogo and Oyugis, Yogurt Results from Kenya

Karen Vega's picture

Hi I am Karen Vega, and am responsible for oversight and monitoring for the Development Marketplace project portfolio. I am on mission visiting projects in Tanzania, Kenya and Burkina Faso. I am currently in Kenya visiting the Pro-biotic Yogurt project implemented by The Ministry of Health of Kenya in partnership with its research institute KEMRI and the University of Western Ontario.

The objective of this project is to establish a sustainable grass-roots food based development initiative for the purpose of improving the health and nutrition levels among vulnerable social groups in Oyugis-Rachuonyo district. The innovative character of the project is connecting the appropriate technology, training and local resources (dairy) to produce a community based intervention program. When pro-biotics are consumed in adequate amounts Canadian and Nigerian studies have shown pro-biotics to be effective in treating uro-genital infections and diarrheal disease including people living with HIV/AIDS!

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