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Business as a Tool to Do Good

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

The United States’ fast-paced and highly inventive technology sector is re-shaping philanthropy and proving it is possible to do good and make money at the same time. The approach taken by these philanthropists is flavoured by their experiences in the cut-throat world of technology, where innovation is a necessity and where re-invention and risk are de rigeur. They share many of these qualities, counter intuitively, with millions of the world’s poor as they struggle day in and day out to survive and get ahead.

Differing from the Fairtrade movement – whose origins are in NGOs seeking guaranteed fair price for goods – so-called ‘venture philanthropists’ and ‘social entrepreneurs’ focus more on profit and growth. They draw their inspiration from the online networks that have rocked the business world in the past few years, and look to apply a model of constant innovation.

The past ten years have seen non-profits more and more adopt the language and methods of business. For ‘venture philanthropists’ and ‘social entrepreneurs’, business is the tool to do good. By breaking out of the narrow view of philanthropy as about giving away money, it becomes possible to see the connections between doing good and making good money, venture philanthropists argue. And as more people think this way, more tools are emerging to make it easier and easier to do.

The highly successful online auction house Ebay’s founders Jeff Skoll and Pierre Omidyar are part of a wave of new thinking from California’s high-tech Silicon Valley that is shaping the way huge sums of private capital get invested in social change.

‘Venture philanthropists’ focus on a small portfolio of grantees that make the most of the investment. By giving them large, long commitments, including money for infrastructure such as staff and computers, they don’t spend all their time fundraising. And unlike traditional philanthropists, they get in their offices and work with them like partners instead of waiting for annual reports, and they hold the grantees to quantifiable goals.

The success of Nobel Prize winner Mohammed Yunus and his microcredit bank, Grameen, has spawned an even more ambitious venture. The Omidyar Network – led by billionaire Omidyar – calculated it would take between US $50 and US $60 billion to provide micro-lending services to the entire world’s poor. The Network is currently putting together the financing to launch this new micro-lending facility across the world. According to Omidyar, private capital is functionally limitless. Look at it that way, he said recently to the Los Angeles Times, and “$60 billion is nothing.”

Billing itself as a nonprofit venture capital firm, the Acumen Fund uses the principles of design to solve the problems of the poor. Just as the Procter & Gambles (PG) and Motorolas (MOT) of the corporate world conduct extensive ethnographic research on consumers, Acumen finances companies that create systems from the bottom up. “Start with the individuals,” said founder Jacqueline Novogratz. “Build systems from their perspective. Really pay attention, and then see if they can scale.”

Under Novogratz’s leadership, the New York-based fund manages $20 million in investments in companies that fall within three portfolios: health, water, and housing. It’s not a lot of money compared with any of the traditional venture funds in Silicon Valley. But Acumen’s goal is not to launch initial public offerings. Rather, Novogratz and her team are building prototypes for new business models that measure returns in social benefits as well as monetary rewards.

“We are betting on entrepreneurs, we look for a strong management team,” said Brian Trelstad, Chief Investment Officer of the Acumen Fund. “We currently have US $20 million in investments in six countries. We hope to take that to US $100 million in the next five years. We are beginning to see a really rich pipeline developing in our investment countries and more high quality investment opportunities coming our way. We are looking for people who are passionate about their approach and who continue to build their business from the perspective of the people in need.”

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of the successful search engine Google, started their philanthropic wing, Google.org, following Ebay’s example. They endowed Google.org with stock now worth about US $1 billion. Then they followed Omidyar’s example and set themselves up as a for-profit network.

“In the old American business model, the relationships between a firm and its investors, bank, suppliers and customers tended to be very arm’s length,” says Annalee Saxenian, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Information. “You would make a deal and report back after some specified period of time. The new business model is much more engaged. Everyone learns from one another, and there is a continuous flow of information. The firms are more specialized, but they see each other as collaborators.”

The approach, just like in the pell mell pace of the computer industry, is relentless. Just as computer software and hardware manufacturers follow a constant improvement and innovation cycle, so can social entrepreneurs.

Published: March 2007

Resources

  • The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Said Business School, hosts the Skoll World Forum every year to promote entrepreneurial solutions to social problems.
  • Ashoka: Ashoka is the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. It identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs with innovative and practical ideas at the launch stage. They then receive a living stipend for three years to focus on their ideas.
  • Social Ventures Partners: While only focused on the Seattle, USA area, SVP offers a model that can be applied throughout the global South. The vision of the founders was to build a philanthropic organization using a venture capital model, where partners actively nurture their financial investments with guidance and resources.
  • Generation Investment Management: Started in 2004 with former US vice president Al Gore, they only focus on investments that are long-term, sustainable and that they really believe in.
  • Omidyar Network: Started by Ebay’s founders, it funds for-profits and non-profits who promote equal access to information, tools and opportunities, and encourage shared interests and a sense of ownership among participants.
  • Skoll Foundation: The mission of the Foundation is to seek out social entrepreneurs who are already implementing successful programs on a small scale, and then through three-year awards, support the continuation, replication or extension of the program. Issues funded are: tolerance and human rights, health, environmental sustainability, economic and social equity, institutional responsibility, and personal security.
  • SV2: Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund: A partnership of successful technology entrepreneurs, it pools funds to support social entrepreneurs by giving money and giving time – venture philanthropy.
  • Google.org: It uses the talent, technology and financial resources of the successful search engine to tackle global poverty.
  • Acumen Fund: A non-profit venture fund that invests in market-based solutions to global poverty. The Fund supports entrepreneurial approaches to developing affordable goods and services for the 4 billion people in the world who live on less than $4 a day.
  • TechnoServe: Helps budding entrepreneurs turn good business ideas into thriving enterprises. With funding from the Google Foundation, they are launching a Business Plan Competition and an Entrepreneurship Development Program in Ghana.

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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Creative and Inventive Ways to Aid the Global Poor

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Poverty can be a major spur to invention, and invention a route out of poverty – but only if the poor in the developing world can get the recognition, capital and support for navigating the legal and bureaucratic hurdles that will inevitably stand in their way. Thankfully many new initiatives acknowledge this.

Contrary to popular perception, the poor do have buying power, as has been documented by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo in their paper “The Economic Lives of the Poor”. Surveying 13 countries, they found those living on less than a dollar a day, the very poor, actually spent 1/3 of their household income on things other than food, including tobacco, alcohol, weddings, funerals, religious festivals, radios and TVs. The researchers also found that the poor increasingly used their spending power to seek out private sector options when the public sector failed to provide adequate services. As awareness of global poverty has grown in the past decade, a new wave of scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs has started to apply their considerable brain power to tackling the everyday problems of the poor.

Afrigadget, a website celebrating African ingenuity and inventions, serves as a goldmine for small-scale entrepreneurs looking for inspiration. All the inventions on the website share something in common: they are grassroots, homemade and handmade solutions to everyday problems of the poor. Examples of inventions profiled on the website include multi-machines, basically a 3-in-1 machine used as a metal lathe, mill and drill press, all built by hand from old car engine parts; a US $100 bicycle motor that gets 50 kilometres per liter made in Kisumu, Kenya; hand-made African wire toys; do-it-yourself telephone handsets which are then used to run roadside phone booths as a small business; and Malawian homemade windmills used to generate electricity for both home use and as a business to recharge mobile phone and radio batteries.

Another African invention tackles the urgent need for inexpensive or free common toilets that are self-financing. In the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, where 60 percent of the city’s inhabitants live, the lack of decent toilet facilities has led to the widespread use of so-called “flying toilets”, plastic bags filled with excrement and then flung as far away as possible. The resulting build-up turns the streets into a foul-smelling sludge in the rainy season and causes disease outbreaks like diarrhoea and typhoid fever. Up to now, conventional attempts to provide communal toilets have failed to resolve the problem, because they charge too much to use. But an innovative solution has been developed: bio-latrines that capture the methane gas produced by the toilets for sale as gas for cooking, heating and lighting, and the sludge for fertilizer. A joint initiative between a Kenyan company, Globology Limited, and the NGOs Umande Trustand Ushirika Roho Safi Laini Saba, it is partly funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The toilets are used by 500 people a day and are self-financing from the profits made by the sale of the gas and fertilizer.

In India, social entrepreneurs have stepped in to help the rural poor navigate the Indian government bureaucracy. Drishtee, an internet service provider – offers a fast-track to government services used by the poor in rural villages through its e-government services information kiosk. Using a franchise model, it has branches spread out through 160 locations in the country and serves 1.5 million people. Drishtee’s niche is that it saves the poor the exhausting and draining time and long travel normally required to access any government services. Drishtee’s “ask a government employee” service brings government to the poorest people.

Operating out of New Zealand and South Africa, Ecologics is an engineering company focused on developing appropriate technologies for sustainable livelihoods in developing countries. All their inventions are built around the principles of low maintenance and costs, and ease of use. Its African operations are based in South Africa and run under the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scheme. It builds step powered pumps, the Step Action Water Pump which works just like a gym step exercise machine and is a highly efficient way to power the pump – for small scale mining and agricultural irrigation. The pumps can deliver 5,000 to 6,000 litres of water per hour, weigh just 11 kilograms, and have been field tested in Fiji, Lesotho and South Africa.

Published: April 2007

Resources

  • NextBillion.net: Hosted by the World Resources Institute, it identifies sustainable business models that address the needs of the world’s poorest citizens.
  • A paper on social lending via the web: PDF version
  • African Inventors Museum: The International African Inventors Museum promotes positive images and self-esteem in children and adults and teaches people of all nationalities about the contributions that Africans throughout the world have given to society.
  • AU-WIPO Prize: The AU-WIPO is an initiative of the Africa Union Commission and the World Intellectual Property Organization. It is a leading continental award in Africa honoring the scientists and technologists whose efforts are towards addressing critical problems in Africa and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
United Nations e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions visited the Berlin, Germany headquarters of start-up betterplace.org in 2009. It was the dawn of the Berlin digital tech boom.

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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Social Networking Websites: A Way Out of Poverty

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Social networking websites also known as, Web 2.0 – the name given to the new wave of internet businesses and websites such as YouTube and MySpace that are transforming the way people interact with the Web – has been dubbed the social web for its power to bring people together. The label has been derided as a marketing gimmick by some, but many argue there are a number of characteristics to Web 2.0 that make it something different and a valuable tool for entrepreneurs seeking ways out of poverty.

The new Web 2.0 applications offer many free software tools stored online, from accounting and business related tools, to new multimedia ways to communicate for free. Unlike Web 1.0 sites, which offered information to passive users, Web 2.0 sites allow interaction and comment. These qualities have meant Web 2.0 can be used to build communities and social and business networks. By being able to store vast quantities of information online, it becomes faster to work and reduces the painful delays brought on by slow connections.

All these new tools are making it easier and easier for entrepreneurs to work from home, in internet centres, or anywhere there is a wireless connection, and is slashing the costs of managing a business. All the applications are online so there is no need to be hidebound by one operating system or hardware capability. The number of internet centres has increased significantly all over Asia and Africa, bringing the power of Web 2.0 to millions more people.

Linking mobile phones and the internet is also remarkable. It is becoming more and more possible in Africa to send messages to weblogs via text messaging, to post photos and videos, or to stay connected with a community, advocacy or business group via messaging to its website.

“Web 2.0 is a pre-occupation of ours that can be beneficial in fighting poverty,” said Tobias Eigan, founder and co-executive director of Kabissa.org, a web portal dedicated to promoting Web 2.0 in Africa. “It is really relevant for Africa. It makes the internet a read and write function, it is more user-friendly – that dynamic is going to make a big difference. It is so much easier to upload content with Web 2.0. It will build the capacity of local institutions and society and that will improve the lives of people – it will be much easier to fight poverty with this connectivity.”

Two other champions of the Web 2.0 way out of poverty are Waleed al-Shobakky, science and technology reporter for alJazeera.net, and Jack Imsdahl, a consultant and technology commentator. While they admit subsistence farmers and the illiterate will not directly benefit, those who are students or are working in proximity to computers will definitely benefit. They point out how rapidly mobile phones have been taken up by the poor and that this is being driven by the new services they offer.

There are still profound obstacles to more rapid take-up, however. Internet connection speeds will have to get better and more will need to be invested in this area. Web 2.0 tools will also need to be adapted to local languages if they hope to get past those who speak major web languages like English.

Entrepreneurs in the global South can now easily sign up to a vast array of e-newsletters that are sent to email accounts and keep on top of trends and innovations in their field. The relative anonymity of these email lists mean subscribers are less likely to be judged on their physical circumstances.

Published: March 2007

Resources

Afriville is a Web 2.0 service and an African Caribbean social network started by two Nigerian web entrepreneurs in their twenties, Folabi Ogunkoya and Lawrence Bassey-Oden.

Afriville is a community website along the lines of the famous MySpace. Users are free to message and post profiles. The difference is that the user is able to choose how closed or open the networks are. The site features a state of the art music management system which allows African and Caribbean artists to get straight in touch with their fans.

“We have created a solid app(lication) with features that will give the big players a run for their money,” said Ogunkoya.

African entrepreneurs have already stepped in with other Web 2.0 offerings. These include: Mooziko.com (an African YouTube), Afribian.com (news sharing), Afriqueka.com (social networking), Yesnomayb (online dating).

Both Yahoo! And Google offer extensive free online tools for entrepreneurs and businesses that integrate seamlessly with their email services.

Kabissa: Space for Change in Africa: An online African web community promoting and supporting the transition to Web 2.0 services in Africa. Offers lots of opportunities to meet people throughout Africa and learn more.

Alexa: Here can be found a detailed break down by country in Africa of web use and site popularity and trends.

Digital Divide Network: A website linking together initiatives and offering opportunities to debate current issues and problems.

Global Voices: An initiative from the Reuters news agency to aggregate the global conversation online from countries outside the US and Western Europe.

Free Web 2.0 tools for entrepreneurs:

Wikis: Here is a detailed article on wikis – collaborative websites that allow authorised users to rapidly and easily change the content of pages – and a detailed list of free or low-cost wiki services.

>> Blogging (an online diary):

Blogger.com – A free, easy-to-use, online service owned by Google.

BlogPlanet.net – Blog from your mobile phone, free.

Blogsome.com – An easy-to-use, free service with good support for photos.

Movable Type – An open-source, free, easy to use, online publishing system popular with bloggers.

WordPress – Another easy, free, and popular online publishing system popular with bloggers.

>> Aggregators (these are programmes that gather links and resources off the web):

AmphetaDesk – One of the first news aggregators to really catch on, it’s still popular.

Bloglines – Allows bloggers and webmasters to search, subscribe to, publish, and share RSS news feeds online.

Del.icio.us – Aggregate content from your favorite Web sites and share them with others.

Feed Demon – The news you want delivered to your desktop.

Technorati – A real-time search engine that keeps track of what is happening in the world of blogs.

Techsoup.org is an excellent resource for all the latest developments in Web 2.0 and how to access free or low-cost resources. Being based in the US, it gets the inside scoop on cutting edge developments in Silicon Valley.

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

© David South Consulting 2022

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Global South’s Rising Economies Gain Investor Spotlight

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

A new book is arguing that the world’s attention should switch away from BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and take another look at nations and regions elsewhere across the global South. It argues many are lodestones of future growth and prosperity in the making and will see dramatic changes over the next decade.

The story of the BRIC and BRICS countries is an impressive one. In just eight years from 2000 to 2008, the BRIC countries’ combined share of total world economic output rose from 16 to 22 per cent. This led to a 30 per cent increase in global output during the period, showing how key these countries were to global prosperity in the 2000s. BRIC countries make up nearly half the world’s population and are regional leaders. Taken together, their gross domestic products (GDPs) are not far behind the United States.

Ruchir Sharma’s Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles (http://www.amazon.com/Breakout-Nations-Pursuit-Economic-Miracles/dp/0393080269) argues that the BRICS are now entering a more stable growth path and thus will not see the rapid-fire expansion and quick profits investors have become used to in the past decade.

“The BRICs,” Sharma told Forbes magazine, “were last decade’s team.”

The BRIC acronym (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRIC) was coined in 2001 by Goldman Sachs managing director Jim O’Neill, in a 2001 paper titled “Building Better Global Economic BRICs” (http://www.goldmansachs.com/ourthinking/brics/building-better.html). O’Neill predicted that this handful of countries would dominate the growth and economic development story for the years 2000 to 2010. This was because they all shared a similar stage of advanced economic development.

The BRIC states first began meeting together in 2006. South Africa was added in 2010 to form the BRICS acronym.

The buzz surrounding the BRICS countries over the past decade has been justified by their impressive growth rates, declining poverty levels,modernizing economies and societies and growing middle class populations.

China alone had seen its gross domestic product grow by US $5 trillion between 2001 and 2011.

Now, Sharma argues, it is someone else’s turn.

Sharma is head of emerging markets with Morgan Stanley Investment Management in New York, and Breakout Nations looks at where the next economic surprise stories will take place.

“A breakout nation is a nation that will grow above expectations, and will grow more than nations with similar per capita income,” Sharma told Forbes. “You can’t bunch all of the emerging markets together anymore. The last decade saw these countries behaving the same economically, but I think that is behind us now. Investors today will really have to pick their spots.”

He points out that Indonesia was the best performing emerging market in 2011 and has an economy that will surpass a trillion dollars in the coming years.

He also believes Sri Lanka and Nigeria are economies to watch.

Sharma says funds flowing into emerging market stocks grew by 478 per cent from 2005 to 2010, a massive jump compared to 2000 to 2005, when they grew by 92 per cent.

As he sees it, China has now reached middle-income status and its growth rates will not be as high as they have been for the past two decades. In his research, he found that countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all slowed down once their per capita income went past US $5,000.

Investors who watch the emerging markets predict the hot growth areas for the next decade will be around energy, technology, and agricultural resources.

Sharma picks out Indonesia, Turkey, the Philippines, Poland and the Czech Republic for future investment interest, but urges caution with thinking all emerging economies are on course to boom.

“You’ve got to pick your spots, rather than just assume that because you put a tag of emerging on a particular nation, it’s going to boom,” Sharma told The Globe and Mail newspaper.

To make sense of the complexity of fast-emerging economies, a flurry of new investor acronyms has popped up. One of the country clusters is called the CIVETS: Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIVETS).

The MINTS (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) are also set for great growth in the next decade, many investors believe.

Then there is the N-11 or Next 11. This is the MINTS plus Bangladesh, Egypt,Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.

And after that there is VISTA (Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Argentina). While clearly the creative juices are flowing at investment houses as they come up with ever-catchier acronyms, a more serious point is being made: many countries in the global South, for the first time in history, are no longer solely dependent on the Western economic system for demand.

These countries, investors note, now have an unprecedented range of options uncoupled from the political, financial and economic legacy of Western developed nations. They say that many nations in the global South are set for a runaway investment boom because they are making changes and modernizing their economies faster than many expect.

As the BRICS economies mature and slow down and take on different priorities based around improving the quality of life of their citizens, those seeking faster profits will look elsewhere. This trend is even happening within the BRICS, as Chinese and Brazilian companies offshore work to Vietnam and Colombia.

There are many new centres of economic activity and rising prosperity across the emerging markets that often fail to gain wider attention. Few would probably know that the Northeast Asian nation of Mongolia – mired in the 1990s in the worst peacetime economic collapse in half a century (http://www.scribd.com/doc/20864541/Mongolia-Update-1998-Book) – is now the world’s fastest-growing economy (http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/2012/02/28/what-behind-mongoliaeconomic-boom) and one of the top places for mobile phone usage and penetration (http://www.businessmongolia.com/mongolia/2012/03/19/mongolia-ringing-the-changes/).

Then there is Myanmar (formerly Burma), where many are hoping recent moves toward democracy and improvements in diplomatic relations will lead to an economic boon for the region. Investors are also targeting Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

Reflecting these changing realities, Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank, has been documenting the rising role played by the Chinese currency in international trade. A recent report forecast US $100 billion (R768 billion) in Sino-African trade would be settled in the Chinese currency, the renminbi, by 2015. This would be double the trade between China and Africa in 2010. It also found 70,000 Chinese companies are using the renminbi in international trade transactions.

Published: April 2012

Resources 

1) Beyondbrics blog: A blog by the Financial Times calling itself “The Ft’s emerging markets hub”. Website: http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/

2) BRICS Summit: The Fourth BRICS Summit was hosted in New Delhi on 29 March 2012 under the overarching theme of “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity.” The Summit has imparted further momentum to the BRICS process. Website: bricsindia.in

3) Market Oracle: A good source for updates on investor sentiment about the emerging market economies. Website: marketoracle.co.uk

4) Monocle magazine: “A briefing on global affairs, business, culture and design” often featuring trends in the emerging market countries. Website:

monocle.com

5) BRICS Information Centre, University of Toronto. Website: brics.utoronto.ca

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