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Month: February 2011

China International

China International

A photoessay from Foreign Policy titled “China International” “The mining site, like others along the Irrawaddy River, is a concession given by Burma’s ruling military junta to local warlords or businessmen — who, it is believed, then make deals with Chinese financiers. China’s border is only 60 miles away.”

Did the Poor Cause the Financial Crisis?

Did the Poor Cause the Financial Crisis?

“There are two things that matter in politics. The first is money. I can’t remember the second.” – Mark Hanna In December, a group calling itself the Republican Commissioners on the Financial Crisis Inquiry released a report titled the “Financial Crisis Primer,” which provides an explanation for economic crisis.  According to the report’s authors, the big lenders, including the government, gave too many high-risk loans as part of a government-directed strategy to increase home ownership in the country.  Because the…

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Revolution in Egypt and Wolf Blitzer Saying “Tweet”

Revolution in Egypt and Wolf Blitzer Saying “Tweet”

What a time to be sort of close to North Africa!  Revolutions abound, first in Tunisia, and now Egypt.  Normally, Develop Economies would offer his opinion on the significance of the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and its ramifications for Israel, democracy in the Arab world, civil unrest in Iran, and the foreign policy strategy of the Obama administration.  Unfortunately, anything I could say has already been said by countless others.  For a play-by-play of the events and a thorough parsing…

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Hapinoy Is An Open Source Model for Low-Income Markets

Hapinoy Is An Open Source Model for Low-Income Markets

This is the second of two posts about Hapinoy that I wrote for Next Billion. As Hapinoy expands, it reaches more of the BoP market. Through its network of suki stores, the company is able to offer other products and services that do not currently reach the BoP. The founders like to think of Hapinoy as analogous to the iPhone. In the same way that the Apple device is an open-source platform for apps created by outside programmers, Hapinoy is…

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NextBillion Post: Awakening a Sleeping Giant

NextBillion Post: Awakening a Sleeping Giant

This is part I of a two-part post that appears on NextBillion today.  I will post part II tomorrow. If you’ve ever been to the Philippines, you’ve no doubt seen a row of identical tiny stores selling Coca-Cola and laundry detergent. In fact, there are about 630,000 of these sari-sari storesserving the 90 million Filipinos across the country (a little less than one per 100 people), and each one may record less than $10 per day in sales. Each store sells…

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Using a Microfranchise as an Open-Source Platform

Using a Microfranchise as an Open-Source Platform

The following is the full transcript of an interview with Mark Ruiz, the founder of Hapinoy, a franchise of sari-sari stores in the Philippines.  It is a companion piece to an article published on NextBillion. Develop Economies: How did Hapinoy start? What, in your opinion, was the problem? Why is Hapinoy the right innovation for solving this problem? Mark Ruiz: Hapinoy started as a fusion of paradigms, ideas, and people. In terms of paradigms, we wanted to fuse social development…

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Seeing the Pineapple Supply Chain Come Full Circle

Seeing the Pineapple Supply Chain Come Full Circle

For the last week I’ve been in Techiman, a city of 80,000 people and the leading market town in Ghana.  Because it is situated near the Tano River, it has historical significance as a major trade route and is now home to the second-largest market in West Africa.  Trucks from Mali and Niger come down here to distribute products to the rest of Ghana and other countries in West Africa.  I am up here to meet some maize aggregators (middlemen)…

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Nicholas Kristof and the Marketing of Development

Nicholas Kristof and the Marketing of Development

The other day I listened to an interview with Nicholas Kristof on the role of storytelling in development and its importance for advancing the cause.  Kristof has received a lot of flak from development bloggers for oversimplifying issues and focusing the narrative around a single, white, typically American protagonist.   In doing so, Kristof misrepresents the problem, which leads his readers to believe that, for example, Western sex tourists are the reason for child prostitution in Cambodia, or diamond mining is…

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