Scalable Mini-Grid Design Requires Expandable Systems: Why Modular Technology and Finance are Key to the Sector’s Growth and Sustainability
NextBillion
by Nathan Sermonis / Liam Murphy
4d ago
The role of mini-grids in advancing universal electrification and other associated SDGs is well established, with the World Bank stating that mini-grids offer the best (and lowest-cost) solution to connect many hard-to-reach communities that are presently unelectrified — including 380 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Toward this end, the mini-grid sector continues to grow and mature, with innovative use cases like e-cooking, e-mobility and other Productive Use of Energy projects harnessing distributed renewables to improve lives and livelihoods. These efforts focusing on demand stimulatio ..read more
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All AI Work is Not Created Equal: Building an Ecosystem That Supports Not Just Jobs, But Employment in East Africa
NextBillion
by Wendy Gonzalez
2w ago
The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment in emerging markets is a topic of much speculation. Though many analysts have concerns about its potential to make some professions obsolete, others point out that AI and other tech jobs that support remote work can also be a source of new, stable jobs for many in the Global South — especially in rapidly growing countries in Africa, home to many of the world’s fastest-growing economies. For example, new jobs are likely to be created in the AI supply chain, as data annotators and other data service roles will be needed to shape the datase ..read more
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Rethinking Credit Scoring: A Pay-As-You-Go Pioneer Explores Innovative Solutions in Africa
NextBillion
by Mansoor Hamayun
2w ago
Wherever you are in the world, the ability to make life-changing purchases — from buying a vehicle or a home to setting up a business — usually relies upon acquiring credit. If you want to get a loan in Europe or the U.S., it’s usually a straightforward process. Even if you have a less than impressive credit rating, you can find an accredited loan provider who will offer you a short-term loan (albeit at an exorbitant interest rate). In these more developed economies, credit scoring systems are well-established, with individuals’ financial histories — both revenues and debts — meticulously trac ..read more
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Transparent Sustainability: A Free Tool Aims to Empower Retail Investors to Align Their Investments with Their Convictions
NextBillion
by Shaan Madhavji / Anna Helena Chaim
3w ago
As the world is pressured by the urgency of addressing social and environmental challenges, the role of sustainable finance has become increasingly vital. This can be seen in individual investors’ evolving expectations and priorities, as a remarkable 80% now believe that market rate financial gains can be balanced with a focus on sustainability, with the same percentage also considering a company’s efforts to reduce its climate impact when making investment decisions, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report. This interest is driven by new climate science findings and the strong performance ..read more
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The Implications of Global Health Equity: Why Pursuing Equity May Actually Harm the Poor
NextBillion
by Paul Clyde
3w ago
The concept of global health equity has gained traction in universities, governments, global health organizations and even some businesses. The number of yearly publications on health equity was negligible until the 1990s, and ballooned to more than 7,000 by 2017. Today, many universities include some form of a global health equity program, and there is even a University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda — as well as a Center for Global Health Equity here at the University of Michigan. But before ubiquity turns to unquestioned acceptance, it’s worth thinking about the concept a bit more carefu ..read more
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Solving the Educational Disparity in India: A Scalable Solution Leverages AI and Behavior Change to Reach Underserved Communities
NextBillion
by Vishal Sunil / Sushmita Roy
1M ago
Rani, a 29-year-old mother of two, lives with her family of four in a cramped 100-square foot room in Manesar, in the northern Indian state of Haryana. “The room is small but has everything we need,” she says.  Rani dropped out of school when she was 13 and is now a full-time homemaker. Her husband works as a daily wage labourer at the tyre manufacturing shop near their home. Their living situation is common among families in this industrial town, where the average household income is around $150 per month, and people live in clustered neighbourhoods with a community bathroom.  But d ..read more
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Transforming Startup Financing: The Rise of Venture Debt and Alternative Finance in MENA
NextBillion
by Reem Goussous / Dunya Bashiti
1M ago
The venture capital ecosystem in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region experienced a notable contraction in 2023, with a 23% reduction in funding and a 34% decline in the number of transactions closed. This pullback is largely attributed to growing caution among investors, in response to global economic trends like rising inflation and interest rate hikes. Additionally, there has been a shift towards smaller funding rounds, with investments below US $1 million increasing by 8%. This marks a significant change from previous years, where larger rounds were more common. Amidst these c ..read more
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Reversing Climate Change is Possible — But First, We Need to Democratise Climate Finance
NextBillion
by Kevin Kyer
1M ago
It’s January 1, 2031. You just woke up. You walk to the kitchen and make yourself a cup of coffee. As you sit down and take your first sip, you glance over at the Co2 meter on the countertop (everyone has one at this point), and you see the reading is showing around 300 parts per million. You smile and begin to reflect: Global Co2 levels were 332 parts per million the year you were born, and just seven years ago they were somewhere north of 420. You sigh with relief knowing that the world had accomplished something no one thought was possible: We’d turned back the clock on climate change. In t ..read more
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More Data is Not the Answer: Why We Need to Reset Our Expectations for Impact Measurement and Management
NextBillion
by Julia Mensink
1M ago
Impact investing and impact measurement are booming. Despite recent challenges, impact investors manage more than $1.1 trillion, a figure that is only expected to grow. Meanwhile, the impact measurement and management of ESG, sustainability and impact investing is growing rapidly, projected to expand from a $7.6 billion industry in 2020 to $31.2 billion by 2030.  From my perspective as Head of Impact at Acumen, these are exciting times: The once-nascent field of impact measurement and management (IMM) is growing and maturing. We’re seeing more articulated impact strategies and more impact ..read more
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Promoting Financial Inclusion in the Caribbean: A Broken ATM in the Bahamas Reveals the Need for Digital Banking Solutions Across the Region
NextBillion
by Nicholas Rees
1M ago
Imagine if your only access to your salary and savings depended on a single ATM. Now imagine someone takes a hammer and smashes it up. What then? That was the situation the roughly 4,000 residents of North Andros, a district in The Bahamas, found themselves in earlier this year, after an act of vandalism damaged the district’s sole ATM. Making matters worse, the damage was just the latest in a series of issues facing bank customers in North Andros: In fact, one local business leader attributed the vandalism itself to residents’ frustration with the ATM, which had been frequently out of order f ..read more
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