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The IFC, Microsoft, and prepaid computers

One thousand [Microsoft] PCs were put up for sale in Brazil this week for $600, of which consumers pay $200 to $250 while the local branch of HSBC Holdings Plc covers the balance. Rather than pay monthly installments, users buy cards that activate their computers until the balance, plus interest, is paid off. Meanwhile, the International Finance Corp. covers the commercial bank's risk from users' variable payments. "What you're buying here is time. Time really is money here," said Xavier Jordan, financial specialist at the World Bank's IFC…

Fridays Academy: Economic Growth and Poverty

Ignacio Hernandez's picture

From Raj Nallari and Breda Griffith's lecture notes. This and upcoming Fridays we will analyze the interrelationships between economic growth, poverty and inequality. In recent years there has been a lot of discussion on pro-poor growth, which is essentially an attempt to examine the degree to which economic growth benefits the poor. This topic will also be examined.


Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction

A motorcycle diary

In the grand Pan-American Highway tradition, Salvador Carlucci is traveling by motorcycle from California to Argentina “to study the state of health care in Latin America”. His adventure begins in August, and he will chronicle it with (surprise!) a blog. Read his recent post about C.K. Prahalad’s “Bottom of the Pyramid” (BoP) philosophy.

Investment climate facility for Africa

The IFC has announced a $30 million grant to the Investment Climate Facility for Africa - a new public-private partnership for improving the continent's business environment.

Update: more on the Investment Climate Facility for Africa.


Over the past half decade though, the folks at Afrobarometer, which is run by Michigan State University, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, and the Centre for Democratic Development in Ghana, have done a series of fascinating surveys on what Africans feel about some of the biggest issues they face.

A tape measure for microfinance funds

Microfinance... took another step toward becoming a distinct asset class with the advent of a mechanism for objectively rating microfinance funds. MicroRate, an independent company that already rates microfinance institutions (MFIs), has been working to develop a microfinance fund-rating tool for several years.

Aceh Diary: The staffing challenge

Staffing is one of the most serious challenges facing donors and aid agencies ramping up in Aceh. There’s no shortage of overqualified foreigners running around Aceh or the rest of Indonesia with the requisite passion to slave away for this worthy cause. The problem is, however, now that the volunteer/recovery phase is largely over and longer-term commitment becomes necessary to engage in the reconstruction effort, their services and dedication come with a very high price-tag.