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Category: Energy

The Myths and Realities of Impact Investing

The Myths and Realities of Impact Investing

“[Africa] is a wonderful place to really make money. We have one billion people hungry for everything.” Mo Ibrahim A friend posted an article on his Facebook wall titled “Why Social Impact Investing is a Crock,” leaving much to the imagination.  Here is an excerpt: Over the last decade the world of do-gooding has seemingly been taken over by MBAs. Social entrepreneurship, a field encompassing both mission-driven businesses and entrepreneurial nonprofits, professes to bring the efficiency, rigor, and cold, hard…

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Mobius Motors and Game-Changing Technologies in Africa

Mobius Motors and Game-Changing Technologies in Africa

Problems generally have a cause and an effect.  Trying to solve a problem by focusing on the effects may reduce the impact, but, if the solution fails to address the underlying issues that make it a problem in the first place, the problem will continue to exist.  In Africa, there is no shortage of people trying to address the effects of systemic problems without taking into consideration the root cause.  The best example  is food aid, which fights hunger and…

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The Economics of Solar Lanterns with Mobile Charging Stations

The Economics of Solar Lanterns with Mobile Charging Stations

Develop Economies is back after a brief hiatus.   I have finished up my work on my current project and am now taking some time to appreciate some of the aspects of Ghana I hadn’t had a chance to enjoy previously.  I spent a few days living with a rice farmer about 45 minutes by motorbike from Atsusuare in a small community along a lake fed by the Volta River.  I did some work in the field (very minor – I…

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Kiva Launches Green Loans Category

Kiva Launches Green Loans Category

A little more than one year ago, I was working with Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, a microfinance in the Philippines.  NWTF was distributing low-cost solar lanterns to its clients.  The clients were prone to constant brownouts due to the poor state of the electrical infrastructure in the rural areas, so the lanterns gave them a way to keep their businesses open after dark or let the children do work after the sun goes down.  Having limited access to light,…

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Next Billion Post: Energy to the BOP Made “Simple”

Next Billion Post: Energy to the BOP Made “Simple”

For my second post at Next Billion, I wrote about a company called Simpa Networks.  Simpa was founded by Jacob Winiecki and Mike MacHarg, two people I have known since I started out in the development game.  Here is a tangential story about the smallness of the world. I used to work for a consulting firm in Boston.  I wanted to work in development but wasn’t sure how to get in the door.  I knew I was interested in solar…

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