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Farmers Weather Fertilizer Crisis by Going Organic

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Around the world, large-scale agriculture relies on the use of chemical fertilizers. But increasing expense and decreasing supply of fertilizer is driving up the cost of food, and in turn contributing to the overall food crisis.

According to a soon-to-be-released UN report, prices have shot up and will stay high for at least three years. Prices have almost doubled and in some cases risen by 500 percent over 15 months.

The fertilizer crisis is caused by several factors. Anhydrous ammonia, which is the source of nearly all nitrogen fertilizer, needs natural gas, and the price of gas has risen sharply. Other fertilizer ingredients like phosphorous, potassium and potash are also increasingly expensive. Fertilizer needs to be transported long distances to get to farmers, so costs have risen with the soaring price of oil. And finally, the rise in demand for food has put the price of fertilizer up, as countries hoard supplies for themselves.

The 1960s ‘Green Revolution’ in agriculture made developing-world farmers dependent on supplies of fertilizers, pesticides and artificial irrigation. Monoculture cash crops became the norm. Yields were doubled, but at the expense of using three times as much water by accessing groundwater using electric pumps. This and fertilizer pollution has caused widespread damage to soil and water. In India, for example, 57 per cent of the land is degraded, according to Tata Energy Research.

In Cambodia, farmers are reaching back to past practices for answers to the fertilizer crisis. One is to go organic. Taking this approach has many health and environmental advantages – and, best of all for farmers, it keeps costs down.

Khim Siphay, a Cambodian farmer, has found he gets bigger crops of rice and vegetables while paying a lot less for fertilizers.

“Using pesticide or fertilizers kills important insects, and causes the soil to become polluted,” he told Reuters. “I use compost and it helps keep the soil good from one year to another. All of my family members help make the compost.”

The push to organic methods for Cambodia’s 13 million people relying on agriculture for a living comes from a non-governmental organization, the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC). It has successfully moved to organic methods, starting from just a handful of 28 farmers in 2000, to the current 60,000 – and received an endorsement from the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture.

CEDAC says farms using the organic methods have been able to increase rice yields per hectare, while the seeds needed have fallen by 70 to 80 percent. By using a “System of Rice Intensification”, the mostly small-scale farmers are able to get more out of the land, with less labour. Add to that the fact that organic rice gets a premium price on world markets, and the result for the farmers has been a rise in income from US $58 to US $172 per hectare.

“The important point of organic farming is that farmers don’t need to spend money on fertilizers and pesticide so they spend less money on farming,” said CEDAC official Yang Saing Koma.

“They can sell the produce for a higher price. Also they can avoid being infected by pesticides and they will be healthier. It is also good for the environment,” he said.

Rice and other produce can be used to feed chickens to produce organic poultry and eggs – another bonus for farmers looking to raise the value of their produce.

“I started doing organic farming outside my rice paddy, but then I noticed production was double, so in the next season, I decided to grow organically on all of my land,” said farmer Ros Meo. “I spend less money now and I can grow more and I am not sick as I was before, my health is now good.”

Going organic in Cambodia is something that is becoming more attractive to the country’s growing middle class, and the government hopes the country will gain a reputation as an organic producer.

Another approach to cheap fertilizer comes from Caracas, Venezuala. Marjetica Potrc, an artist and architect who works closely with impoverished communities, has come up with a “dry toilet” which collects human waste and converts it to fertilizer.

Developed after spending six months in the barrios of Caracas, the dry, ecologically safe toilet was built on the upper part of La Vega barrio, a district in the city without access to the municipal water grid. It is a place where about half the population receives water from municipal authorities no more than two days a week.

Published: March 2014

Resources

  • South African company Eat Your Garden: It provides urban dwellers and food businesses with their own food gardens bursting with juicy and tasty foods whilst at the same time reducing carbon footprints, and creating employment and provide training, helping poverty alleviation.
    Website: http://www.eatyourgarden.co.za/
  • Soil Association: The organization that establishes the standards necessary for food to be called organically grown.
    Website: http://www.soilassociation.org/
  • Patrick Kamzitu, a farmer in Malawi, on the impact of fertilizer prices:
    Website: www.guardian.co.uk/environment

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.

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This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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Innovative Solutions Celebrated in Ashden Awards

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

New UNOSSC banner Dev Cha 2013

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

The world’s population is heading towards 9.6 billion by 2050 (UN). Combined with a growing middle class and rising living standards across the global South, that means ever-greater demand on the world’s finite resources. This raises a crucial question: Where will the energy to power rising living standards come from, and how much damage will be done to the planet’s environment by pollution created generating it (https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/un-report-world-population-projected-to-reach-9-6-billion-by-2050.html)?

The solution advocated by the world’s scientists is to move to sustainable energy creation, which does not rob from the future to create energy for today.

Such an approach requires fresh thinking and engagement from those who are actually involved in the struggle to raise living standards and improve human development.

One way to do this is to use high-profile awards and prizes to lure out fresh thinking and innovators and help them get the funding they need to realize their plans.

The International Ashden Awards (ashden.org) – considered the “leading green energy awards” – is about championing and promoting “practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives”. It recently announced the finalists and winners for 2014.

The international finalists are 10 sustainable energy enterprises drawn from Africa (Burkina Faso, Tanzania), India and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Myanmar). A handy, clickable and searchable online map (http://www.ashden.org/winners) further explains the winners and finalists for 2014 and previous years.

“With the stark warnings from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) of the impacts of climate change, especially for the most vulnerable, we need to find solutions before it is too late,” said Ashden founder-director Sarah Butler-Sloss.

“Our role at Ashden is to shine a light on those organizations around the world that are helping reduce carbon emissions and finding ways of adapting to the effects of climate change.”

The mix of non-profit organizations and businesses among 2014’s winners and finalists shows there is no shortage of enthusiasm and fresh thinking out there. Proof the global South is alive with innovators with solutions.

Among the five international winners – who will receive between US $8,566 and US $68,531 each – is India’s Greenway Grameen (greenwaygrameen.com). It is tackling the problem of harmful pollution caused by cooking. Despite rapid economic growth and the spread of consumer goods such as televisions and mobile phones, most Indian women still cook with wood or dung. This is not only time-consuming, it also produces health-damaging smoke. Greenway Grameen was founded by two young MBA graduates in 2010 to make and sell affordable, desirable cookstoves that reduce smoke, cook food more quickly and stay cleaner for longer, dramatically improving the quality of life for many women and girls. As of March 2014 more than 120,000 of Greenway’s made-in-India smart stoves had been sold, benefitting around 610,000 people.

Another Indian winner is Infosys (infosys.com). India’s fast-growing economy is making ever-greater demands on its electrical grid. Global IT giant Infosys is leading the way to more sustainable growth by embracing green building measures, decreasing electricity consumption per staff member across its Indian business campuses. Success lies in seizing every opportunity to cut energy consumption in its existing buildings – from reducing the size of chiller plants for air conditioning to painting roofs white to reflect the heat. Cutting-edge design of new buildings also helps keep offices cooler and maximizes natural light. Taking US $80 million off its electricity bills, Infosys has proven the business case for large companies to invest in energy efficiency – not just in India but around the globe.

Among the other winners:

– Tanzania’s Off Grid Electric (offgrid-electric.com) is a leader in solar energy in East Africa, using mobile money to sell solar power as a daily service at an affordable price. Mobile money – where customers pay with their mobile phones – is increasingly used as a method of payment. Off Grid stands out because it understands the importance of customer service, offering an all-day customer care telephone line and ongoing support from a local agent. More than 10,000 households have taken up the service since April 2012. As fast as systems are manufactured they are off to customers – thanks to a sophisticated mobile phone app-based customer registration and product-tracking system.

– Myanmar’s Proximity Designs (proximitydesigns.org) is introducing treadle pumps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treadle_pump) and other sustainable agriculture technologies to the country for the first time. Lifting water from wells and carrying it across fields is back-breaking, time-consuming work for rural farmers. Combined with water-saving drip irrigation technology, foot-operated treadle pumps that draw up water from wells can dramatically increase yields and incomes. Farmers are now seeing their lives transformed with some harvests and incomes more than doubling – and the pumps are helping ease the daily drudgery of farming. With over 90,000 households benefiting so far, Proximity Designs continues to adapt and introduce new products like solar pumps, to meet the needs of this rapidly changing country.

– Cambodia’s Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise (http://www.sgfe-cambodia.com/environment) is turning leftover coconut shells and other waste into clean-burning briquettes for use as cooking fuel in the capital Phnom Penh’s homes and restaurants. While most Cambodians cook on wood charcoal, contributing to the country’s rampant deforestation and air pollution, this pioneering Cambodian business – led by Carlo Figà Talamanca – can scarcely keep up with demand.

The finalists are also an innovative lot too. Kéré Architecture (kerearchitecture.com) in Burkina Faso, Africa, has set a new standard for green school buildings. The school it built has a ventilated roof and other clever design features, providing a much cooler environment for children to study in. Not only that, the school was built by local people, and largely with local materials. Germany-based Francis Kéré, originally from Burkina Faso, designed and built the school in his home village. Kéré Architecture has since designed and built more than 20 innovative, naturally cooled public buildings in Africa.

India’s Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise (sureindia.co.in), or SURE, is a not-for-profit social enterprise in central Maharashtra that has selected, trained and supported more than 600 female micro-entrepreneurs to sell clean energy products such as solar lanterns and cleaner cookstoves to other women. For the women entrepreneurs, selling energy products boosts income and carries a social cachet, while customers also see their lives improved with time-saving products.

Another Indian innovator, Mera Gao Power (http://meragaopower.com/), is demonstrating the business case for meeting the needs of some of the poorest people in India with unsubsidized commercial micro-electric grids, connecting more than 20,000 Uttar Pradesh families to clean, affordable power. Each system is easy to install and provides seven hours of light and mobile phone-charging for up to 32 houses. And with weekly payments of just US $0.42 cents, the electricity is even cheaper than kerosene.

The Rajasthan Horticulture Development Society (http://horticulture.rajasthan.gov.in/) in India has come up with a novel way to boost green agriculture and boost farming incomes. Farmers in the desert state of Rajasthan are seeing their sons return from cities to work on their farms thanks to a new solar-powered agricultural boom. The Rajasthan Horticulture Development Society (RHDS) has provided more than 10,000 farmers with new solar-powered water pumps, enabling year-round cultivation of high-value crops and the kind of high-tech horticulture that’s never been seen in the region before. With farmers’ incomes more than doubling, the programme has given them the “gift of life”.

And finally, Tanzania’s SimGas (simgas.com) is selling biogas plants that help people turn manure into clean gas for cooking instead of using charcoal, helping reduce deforestation. The plants are factory-produced and made of plastic, so they can be installed much more quickly than conventional plants and reach many more thousands of people. SimGas has just installed the largest plastic injection-moulding machine in East Africa, creating the potential to roll out biogas plants across East Africa.

The Ashden Awards were set up in 2001 to champion trailblazing sustainable energy enterprises and programmes that improve people’s lives and tackle climate change. Ashden says its 150 award winners have improved the lives of 37 million people worldwide, and are now saving over 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Published: July 2014

Resources

1) Innovation Prize for Africa: The IPA is an initiative of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) started in 2011. IPA honours and encourages innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving cost in Africa. Website: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org

2) Champions of the Earth Award: The Champions of the Earth Award recognizes outstanding environmental leaders, whether individuals or organizations, that have exemplified inspiration, vision, innovation, leadership and action for the environment. This international award was established by UNEP in 2004. Website: unep.org/awards/

The SEED Awards: The SEED Award recognizes innovation in local, environmentally-responsible and sustainable entrepreneurship. This international award is the flagship programme of the SEED Initiative, a partnership founded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNEP, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Website: seedinit.org

4) Green Star Awards: The Green Star Awards recognize those who have made remarkable efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to environmental disasters around the world. This international award is a joint initiative between UNEP, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Green Cross International. Website: http://www.gcint.org/green-star-awards3


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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India 2.0: Can the Country Make the Move to the Next Level?

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

With the global economic crisis threatening to cause turmoil in the emerging markets of the global South, it is becoming clear that what worked for the past two decades may not work for the next two.

For India, the legacy issues of poverty still need to be addressed, and the country’s impressive information technology (IT) industry – which has driven so much of India’s growth – will face stiff competition from other countries in the global South. Some argue that if the IT industry hopes to keep growing and contributing to India’s wealth, things will need to change.

Unlike China, where heavy investment in infrastructure and a strong link between government and the private sector has driven the impressive manufacturing boom in the country, in India the government has de-regulated and taken a back seat, leaving the private sector and entrepreneurs to drive the change and do the innovation.

Many believe various areas need urgent attention if India is to continue to enjoy good growth rates in the coming years. Areas in need of attention include infrastructure, healthcare and education (thesmartceo.in), in particular the knowledge to work in the information technology industry of the 21st century.

One of the founders of Indian outsourcing success Infosys (infosys.com), executive co-chairman Senapathy Gopalakrishnan, told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, “So many people’s lives have been changed by IT in India.

“People from the middle class and lower middle class have become global employees and have the opportunity to work with some of the best companies in the world. But the challenge for India is that this industry can only create so many jobs. IT is not going to solve the unemployment problem in India.”

But the coming next wave of change in information technology is an opportunity to be seized to reduce unemployment if enough people are educated to handle it.

According to Gopalakrishnan: “I strongly believe, and it’s backed up by data, that there is a shortage of computer professionals everywhere in the world, including India. The application of computers is growing dramatically and will continue to grow dramatically over the next 20 to 30 years. We have to train and create the workforce necessary to grow this industry.”

Various media stories have called this next phase India 2.0. If India 1.0 was the highly successful information technology outsourcing industry developed in the late 1980s, through the 1990s and 2000s, then India 2.0 is the next wave of IT innovation being driven by Big Data, automation, robotics, smart technologies and the so-called “Internet of things.”

Big Data is defined as the large amounts of digital data continually generated by the global population. The speed and frequency with which data is produced and collected – by an increasing number of sources – is responsible for today’s data deluge (UN Global Pulse). It is estimated that available digital data will increase by 40 per cent every year. Just think of all those mobile phones people have, constantly gathering data.

Processing this data and finding innovative ways to use it will create many of the new IT jobs of the future.

“We are living in a world which is boundary-less when it comes to information, and where there is nowhere to hide,” continues Gopalakrishnan, “If you have a cellphone, somebody can find out exactly where you are. Through social networks you’re sharing everything about yourself. You are leaving trails every single moment of your life. Theoretically, in the future you’ll only have to walk through the door at Infosys and we’ll know who you are and everything about you.”

Unlike in the late 1980s, when India was the pioneer in IT outsourcing for large multinational companies and governments, competition is fierce across the global South. The mobile-phone revolution and the spread of the Internet have exponentially increased the number of well-educated people in the global South who could potentially work in IT. China, the Philippines, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana are just some of the countries heavily involved in this area.

If India fails to meet the India 2.0 challenge, it risks seeing its successful companies and entrepreneurs leaving to work their magic elsewhere in Asia and the new frontiers of Africa, just as many of its best and brightest of the recent past became pioneers and innovators in California’s Silicon Valley.

India’s IT sector contributed 1.2 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 1998; by 2012, this was 7.5 per cent (Telegraph). The IT industry employs 2.5 million people in India, and a further 6.5 million people indirectly. IT makes up 20 per cent of India’s exports and, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (nasscom.in), the industry has revenue of US $100 billion.

India is now the IT and outsourcing hub for more than 120 of the Fortune 500 companies in the United States.

Out of India’s 3.5 million graduates every year, 500,000 are in engineering – a large pool of educated potential IT workers. India produces the world’s third largest group of engineers and scientists, and the second largest group of doctors.

IT has become a route that catapults bright Indian youth into 21st-century businesses and science parks and to the corporations of the world.

One visible example of the prosperity brought by IT services in India is the booming technology sector based in the city of Bangalore (also called Bengaluru) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangalore).

Reflective of the contradictions of India, Bangalore has 10 per cent of its workforce now working in IT, but also 20 per cent of its population living in urban slums.

The nearby Electronics City (elcia.in) is considered “India’s own silicon valley and home to some of the best known global companies.”

To date, aspects of India 2.0 are already taking shape.

One company is called Crayon Data (crayondata.com). It uses Big Data and analytics to help companies better understand their customers and increase sales and deliver more personal choices.
Edubridge (http://acumen.org/investment/edubridge/) is helping to bridge the gap for rural youth with varied education backgrounds and long-term jobs. Edubridge trains youth for the real needs of employers to increase the chances they will get a job. This includes jobs in the IT business process outsourcing sector and banking and financial services.

Infosys is working on innovations for the so-called “Internet of things,” in which smart technologies connect everyday items to the grid and allow for intelligent management of resources and energy use. Infosys is developing sophisticated software using something called semantic analytics – which analyses web content (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_analytics) – to sort through social media and the Internet to track customer responses to products.

Elsewhere, former Infosys Chief Executive Nanden Nilekani is involved in a Big Data innovation to address the problem of social and economic exclusion of India’s poor. Called Aadhaar (http://uidai.gov.in/), the government-run scheme is gathering biometric data on every Indian to build the world’s largest biometric database. After being enrolled and having fingerprints and iris scans taken, each individual is given a 12-digit identification number. So far 340 million people have been registered with the scheme, and it is hoped 600 million will be registered by the end of 2014.

The idea is to use a combination of access to mobile phones and these unique ID numbers to widen access to all sorts of products and services to poor Indians, including bank accounts for the millions who do not have one. Many people, lacking any identity or official acknowledgment they exist, were prevented from engaging with the formal economy and formal institutions. Being able to save money is a crucial first step for getting out of poverty and it is hoped information technology will play an important role in achieving this.

Published: March 2014

Resources

1) India 2.0 by Mick Brown. Website: http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/india2.0/part-one#top

2) Electronic City Bangalore: Regional information portal for Electronic City, an industrial technology hub located in Bangalore South, India. This portal is becoming the most favourite haunt of ECitizens living and/or working in Electronic City. Website: http://www.electronic-city.in/

3) Electronics City Industries Association: Welcome to the Electronics City, India’s own silicon valley and home to some of the best known global companies. Located in Bangalore, the Electronics City was conceived way back in the mid-1970?s as an Industrial Estate exclusively for Electronics Industries. Today the industrial estate boasts is an oasis of large, medium and small industries spanning software services, hardware; high end telecommunications; manufacture of indigenous components; electronic musical instruments, just  to name a few. Website: elcia.in

4) Godrej E-City: Situated in Electronic city and connected through NICE road and the elevated expressway, Godrej E-City brings your workplace and other major conveniences within your immediate reach. Your travel times become shorter and hassle-free. You have more time for your family and yourself. It’s time to move closer to happiness. Website: https://www.godrejproperties.com/godrejecity/overview

5) Infosys: Infosys is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions. As a proven partner focused on building tomorrow’s enterprise, Infosys enables clients in more than 30 countries to outperform the competition and stay ahead of the innovation curve. Website: http://www.infosys.com/pages/index.aspx

6) Tech Hub Bangalore: partnering with the UK India Business Council to establish TechHub in Bangalore.TechHub is a community and workspace for technology entrepreneurs with 1000’s of members, building the most exciting startups in Europe. We have physical community spaces in London, Manchester, Bucharest, Swansea and Riga and have members from over 50 countries.The Bangalore site will be part of a wider scheme in partnership with other British firms such as Rolls Royce, ADS, Bangalore Cambridge Innovation Network, BAe and PA Consulting with the aim of forging stronger links between the UK and India. Website: http://www.techhub.com/blog/techhub-expands-to-bangalore/

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.  

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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2014: Development Challenges, South-South Solutions

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY 

ISSN 2227-3905

The fifth issue of Southern Innovator has launched online and in print. Order copies now for distribution. Email: southerninnovator@yahoo.co.uk.

Issue six will be on science, technology and innovation. This issue will be different from previous issues and will be including supplements and inserts to boost the impact of the magazine. Southern Innovator is seeking sponsors to fund this and also to help us expand the print run (currently 5,000 copies for global distribution).

July

3D Home Printing Landmark: 10 Houses in a Day Development Challenges: The global South is experiencing urban growth on a scale unprecedented in human history, far outstripping the great urbanization wave that swept across Europe and North America during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Old Boats Become New Furniture in Senegal Development Challenges: Every country has its fair share of waste and the remnants of past economic activity. Old cars nobody wants, discarded tins of food, old plastic bags, spare copper wire, cast-off clothing – all can have a new life in the right hands.

Innovative Solutions Celebrated in Ashden Awards Development Challenges: The world’s population is heading towards 9.6 billion by 2050 (UN). Combined with a growing middle class and rising living standards across the global South, that means ever-greater demand on the world’s finite resources. This raises a crucial question: Where will the energy to power rising living standards come from, and how much damage will be done to the planet’s environment by pollution created generating it (https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/un-report-world-population-projected-to-reach-9-6-billion-by-2050.html)?

Innovative Ways to Collect Water from Air Development Challenges: World water resources are being depleted quickly as populations grow, urbanize and demand better living standards. Many scientists believe we are reaching peak water – the point at which fresh water is consumed faster than it is replenished.

June

Caribbean Island St. Kitts Goes Green for Tourism Development Challenges: Going green may sound like the right thing to do but it can also be associated with being a costly burden and boring. But, as one island nation is proving, being green is a great selling point for attracting tourists and investors – especially in a world where many places are grappling with pollution and resource depletion.

Big Data Can Transform the Global South’s Growing Cities Development Challenges: The coming years will see a major new force dominating development: Big Data. The term refers to the vast quantities of digital data being generated as a result of the proliferation of mobile phones, the Internet and social media across the global South – a so-called ‘data deluge’ (UN Global Pulse). It is an historically unprecedented surge in data, much of it coming from some of the poorest places on the planet and being gathered in real time.

Indian Business Model Makes Green Energy Affordable Development Challenges: The technology already exists to provide renewable energy and electricity to all the world’s poor. The trick is finding a way to pay for it and to make it sustainable. Many innovators are experimenting with business models to reach the so-called Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) cohort, and the 1.2 billion poorest people in the world who do not have access to electricity (World Bank) (http://tinyurl.com/n9p3f5x). A further 2.8 billion have to rely on wood or other biomass materials to cook and heat their homes.

South-South Trade Helping Countries During Economic Crisis Development Challenges: Weathering the global economic crisis is testing the stability of countries across the global South. But many countries are finding South-South trade and catering to their domestic middle classes can lift incomes and maintain growth rates despite the global turmoil.

May

3D Printing Gives Boy a New Arm in Sudan Development Challenges: 3D printing is rapidly going mainstream and is now starting to make a big impact in health care. One innovative solution is using the technology to manufacture artificial arms for amputees harmed by war in Africa.

African Hotel Boom Bringing in New Investment and Creating Jobs Development Challenges: Africa is experiencing a boom not seen for decades. The IMF forecasts economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa of 6 per cent in 2014, compared to global growth of 3.6 per cent.

China’s Outsourced Airliner Development Model Development Challenges: Many emerging-market countries in the global South have built up substantial foreign currency reserves. Much of this has been a response to past foreign currency crises, particularly the Asian Crisis in the late 1990s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Asian_financial_crisis).

Brazilian Design for New Urban, Middle-Class World Development Challenges: Countries across the global South are experiencing rapid urbanization as people move to cities for better economic opportunities — and this massive social change is creating new business opportunities. Those who recognize how fundamentally people’s lifestyles are changing will be those who will benefit from this big shift in populations.

April

Cheap Paper Microscope to Boost Fight Against Diseases Development Challenges: To tackle diseases in the developing world, the most important first step is diagnosis. Without effective diagnosis, it is difficult to go to the next steps of either treatment or cure. While much attention is given to the high costs involved in treating and curing ailments, screening for diagnosis is also expensive, especially if it involves lots of people. Anything that can reduce the cost of diagnosis will free up resources to expand the number of people who can be checked, and help eradicate contagious diseases.

Asian Factories Starting to go Green Development Challenges: Media headlines have recently highlighted the growing air pollution crisis in Asia’s expanding cities. This is caused by a mix of factors – the growing number of vehicles, coal-powered factories, people burning dirty fuels to heat their homes, and poor enforcement of standards – and has severe consequences for human health. If it’s not tackled, more and more countries will see large rises in respiratory problems, cancers and early deaths from pollution-caused illnesses (http://www.nrdc.org/air/).

Reality Television Teaches Business Skills in Sudan Development Challenges: Learning how to thrive in a market economy does not necessarily come naturally. But for young people who have grown up under a different economic system or known nothing but economic chaos, learning business skills can give them the tools to get on in life.

Popular Chinese Social Media Chase New Markets Development Challenges: China has a vast and growing market for the Internet and mobile devices. Over the past decade that market has been largely confined to China –  most businesses have had enough domestic demand and opportunities inside the country to keep them busy.

The BRCK: Kenyan-Developed Solution to Boost Internet Access Development Challenges: Using the Internet in Africa has its challenges, as anyone who has worked there knows. Issues can include weak Wi-Fi signals, slow Internet service providers, electricity outages and power surges that can damage or destroy sensitive electronic devices.

March

Women Empowered by Fair Trade Manufacturer Development Challenges: There is sometimes a great deal of negativity surrounding the issue of manufacturing in Africa. Some claim the risks of doing business are too high or that the workers are not motivated enough. But one garment manufacturer is out to prove the skeptics wrong. It pays decent wages and gives its mostly female workforce a stake in the business in a bid to drive motivation and make it worthwhile to work hard.

Global South Trade Boosted with Increasing China-Africa Trade in 2013 Development Challenges: It was announced in January 2014 that China has surpassed the United States to become the world’s number one trading nation, as measured by the total value of exports and imports. This new economic behemoth also continued to grow its trade relationships with Africa.

India 2.0: Can the Country Make the Move to the Next Level? Development Challenges: With the global economic crisis threatening to cause turmoil in the emerging markets of the global South, it is becoming clear that what worked for the past two decades may not work for the next two.

“Pocket-Friendly” Solution to Help Farmers Go Organic Development Challenges: Interest in organic food and farming is high, and organics have become a growing global industry. The worldwide market for organic food grew by more than 25 per cent between 2008 and 2011, to US $63 billion, according to pro-organic group the Soil Association. That is an impressive accomplishment given the backdrop of the global economic crisis, and evidence that people value quality food, even in tough times.

Cheap Farming Kit Hopes to Help More Become Farmers Development Challenges: Food security is key to economic growth and human development. A secure and affordable food supply means people can meet their nutrition needs and direct their resources to improving other aspects of their lives, such as housing, clothing, health services or education.

While Southern Innovator’s digital presence has been key to its success and global reach, the hard copy of the magazine was designed with special features. The magazine needed to be robust and able to stand a fair bit of abuse and hard wear. It needed to be easy to read in low light conditions. And it needed to look sharp and eye-catching to reach as wide an audience as possible.

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ISSN Portal.
South-South cooperation for development, SSC/17/3, High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, 12 April 2012.

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.

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