Finance and Investment
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Technology is transforming the world of philanthropy in ways that should ultimately give a voice to those people whom the charities aim to help, according to Mari Kuraishi, co-founder and president of GlobalGiving, a nonprofit that connects donors with groups that manage charitable projects via the web. In a keynote speech at the recent Wharton Social Impact Conference, Kuraishi outlined the ways in which organizations are becoming more effective, and shared insights from the sometimes tough lessons she has learned along the way.
Bahrain and Libya are two of the latest Arab countries to experience popular unrest following the successful ouster of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. Before the protests, Libya and Bahrain were seen as two very different Arab countries. Now they are united by the brutal repression inflicted on protestors. Experts analyze the uprisings and the countries' future prospects.
The most recent crisis to hit microfinance began in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where allegations of widespread over-indebtedness and heavy-handed collection tactics have stirred a national debate about regulating the industry. A recent Wharton Executive Education program for microfinance leaders -- sponsored by the Women's World Banking Center for Microfinance Leadership -- discussed these issues but also focused on microfinance's mission: offering very poor people the means to generate income and work their way out of poverty.
According to Elkanah Odembo, Kenya's ambassador to the U.S., in another decade Africa will grow into a market of one billion consumers. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, he notes that companies that seize these opportunities today will reap dividends in the future.
Listen up, entrepreneurs. There is a new investor in town known as the super angel. Super angels, which combine traits of both angel investors and venture capital firms, are nimble and focused on seed-stage companies that show great promise. They want to help entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.
With the daunting reality of exorbitant oil prices in India's future, the country looks to generate more fuel from biomass, such as forest waste, cow dung and molasses. While new energy sources and technology are promising in the development of a renewable energy system, experts caution that burning biomass for energy can also threaten quality of life and the food supply.
SKS Microfinance, the first Indian company in the microfinance sector to do an initial public offering, is no stranger to controversy; its money-driven strategy-- and its recent firing of CEO Suresh Gurumani -- has raised the eyebrows of some of microfinance's most respected figures, including Nobel-prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus, who pioneered the microfinance industry in the 1980s. By issuing shares to the public, is a company telling investors they can make money off poor people?
Memory Ngalande, Treaser Chinawa and Agnes Kayongo are mavens of microfinance. The three women, from two different African nations, came together at Strathmore University in Kenya in early 2010 for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
Emerging Leaders Program, a specialized training that will help them develop their skills and advance in the microfinance banking industry. The women’s profiles, put together by Opportunity International, which operates the banks in which they work, reflect their strength and capacity for growth and knowledge sharing with their co-workers and communities.
Chile's economy appears to have held up well against significant recent headwinds, and some private-sector observers go so far as to suggest that growth rates similar to those of the "Golden Decade" may be realized again.
Opportunity International is a global nonprofit organization that provides small business loans and other financial services to the poor. Through a unique partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
, Opportunity International is ensuring that the majority of its microfinance clients -- at least 80% of whom are women -- will encounter more women managers and decision makers as they work with banks to finance their small business startups.
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