Resources   region

Southern Africa

Impact at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’: The role of social capital in capability development and community empowerment

Rooted in the notion of inclusive capitalism, the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) approach argues for the simultaneous pursuit of profit and social welfare by creating markets for the poor. This idea has been both celebrated and criticized in the literature. We do neither in this paper. Instead, by leveraging insights from Amartya ...

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Purchasing power at the bottom of the pyramid: differences across geographic regions and income tiers

Purpose - The purpose of this article is to examine the purchasing power at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), i.e. of low-income consumers. Design/methodology/approach - The authors analyze secondary data on income, population, and expenditure at the BOP from different countries, and apply the buying power index (BPI) methodology ...

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Mobile money: A foundation for food security

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” (FAO, 1996) Let me begin by explaining that I am not a food security expert but ...

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From digital divide to digital dividend: What will it take?

One of the greatest challenges in higher education is to give billions of impoverished people access to it across the globe. The growth of information and communications technologies (ICTs) over the past decade holds great promise for meeting this challenge, yet the limited access that most of the world's population ...

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Testing the limits of ‘inclusive capitalism’: A case study of the South Africa HP i-Community

In the run-up to the Millennium Development Goals of 2015, major corporations are targeted by the United Nations Global Compact and others to play an active leadership role in promoting sustainable development. Increasingly, they are encouraged to do so while pursuing profit-making business opportunities yielding social good in developing countries. ...

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The next 4 billion

In an informal suburb of Guadalajara, Mexico, a growing family is struggling to expand its small house. Help arrives from a major industrial company in the form of construction designs, credit, and as-needed delivery of materials, enabling rapid completion of the project at less overall cost. In rural Madhya Pradesh, ...

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Creating value for all: Strategies for doing business with the poor

The Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative responds to a need for better understanding of how the private sector can contribute to human development and to the Millennium Development Goals. Led by UNDP, the initiative was conceived in 2006 after the success of Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor—the 2004 ...

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Dialing for development

Microfinance institutions have recognized that poor people lack the capital and financial services that are necessary for economic growth and job creation. And so these organizations have started offering these services to the world's poorest people, unlocking new economic opportunities for borrowers and lenders. Yet until recently, most organizations ...

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Aid is not the answer

There is an inherent paradox in the debate about poverty alleviation that escapes even the most sophisticated observers in the West. Consider the conventional thinking about China and India: They are seen as a threat to the West. The fear is not only about "exporting well paying U.S. jobs" but ...

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Serving the world’s poor, profitably

Improving the lives of the billions of people at the bottom of the economic pyramid is a noble endeavour. It can also be a lucrative one. ...

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Creating mutual value: Lessons learned from ventures serving base of the pyramid producers

The base of the pyramid (BoP) literature is grounded in the proposition of mutual value creation, an important but not yet well-tested relationship between business development and poverty alleviation. This paper begins to address this gap by assessing how business ventures serving BoP producers address local constraints and create mutual ...

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The next four billion: market size and business strategy at the base of the pyramid

Four billion low-income consumers, a majority of the world’s population, constitute the base of the economic pyramid. New empirical measures of their aggregate purchasing power and their behavior as consumers suggest significant opportunities for market-based approaches to better meet their needs, increase their productivity and incomes, and empower their entry ...

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“Making Markets Work for the Poor”: An objective and an approach for governments and development agencies

Governments and development agencies’ efforts at promoting economic growth and poverty reduction have achieved mixed results. Different approaches have been tried – some have aimed at major regulatory reform and others intervened to deliver products and services directly and "get things done" – with great achievements in some countries countered ...

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Enterprise solutions to poverty: Opportunities and challenges for the international development community and big business

The modern world has always encompassed extremes of affluence and poverty. But in 2005 the confluence of advocacy, political serendipity and natural disaster has rapidly pushed the plight of the impoverished up the agenda of the wealthy as never before. The sharpness of the challenge being thrown down on ...

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Taking Prahalad high-tech: The emergence and evolution of global corporate citizenship in the IT industry

In this paper, I analyse the emergence and evolution of e-Inclusion, HP’s flagship global corporate citizenship programme, as a landmark in the history of corporate citizenship in the IT industry. This programme, which existed from 2000 to 2005, was the first explicit attempt by a major high-tech company to operationalise ...

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Bioexpectations: Life technologies as humanitarian goods

Expectations that people should live—even under extreme conditions of crisis, neglect, and poverty—now combine with doubts about the capacity of states to provide for their populations. One result has been a set of technologies built around minimalist forms of care. Created by a heterogeneous movement of corporations as well as ...

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Segmenting the Base of the Pyramid

To succeed, you’ll need to link your commercial interests with your constituencies’ well-being. ...

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Oxymoron no more: The potential of nonprofit drug companies to deliver on the promise of medicines for the developing world

Although some pharmaceutical company efforts to develop and distribute drugs in developing countries have been successful, many fall short of meeting needs in resource-poor nations. In the context of public-private partnerships, we discuss the concept of a nonprofit pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and distributing drugs for diseases endemic in ...

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Lipstick evangelism: Avon trading circles and gender empowerment in South Africa

Increasing numbers of corporations are vying to capture one of the largest untapped consumer markets – the world’s poor –/ in ways that are not only economically profitable but socially responsible. One type of initiative that has gained increased traction is trading partnerships between multinational corporations and women’s ...

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Re-siting corporate responsibility: The making of South Africa’s Avon entrepreneurs

The bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) approach is championed as a way to deliver both corporate profits and poverty reduction. This article explores how “the poor” are repurposed as the instruments of ethical capitalism through the archetypal BOP model—Avon Cosmetics. A harbinger of “compassionate capitalism,” Avon has long stylized its entrepreneurial opportunity as ...

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The Janus face of insurance in South Africa: From costs to risk, from networks to bureaucracies

This study examines the consequences of the rapid and unprecedented expansion of insurances for the poor in South Africa. Over the last ten years, South African insurance companies established a myriad of policies in order to incorporate the previously excluded, mostly African, poor and lower middle classes. While poverty, violence ...

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