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Browse recent blogs of interest to the Marketlinks community. Use the search box or the filters on the left-hand side to refine the listing of blogs by keyword, topic, and/or region/country.

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WomenConnect Challenge Blog Series: Introducing Strategies for Closing the Gender Digital Divide

January 11, 2022
“All technology has potential when modeled in the vacuum of our whiteboards and proposals,” remarks Revi Sterling, Director of the USAID WomenConnect Challenge (WCC). Shrewdly cutting to the chase, Sterling adds: “[But] rural smallholder farmer women do not live in vacuums.” In other words: for digital technologies to be part of any development solution, practitioners must first address the myriad of real-life barriers and inequities surrounding technology use.

This January, Marketlinks Explores the Role of eCommerce in Advancing Development Outcomes

January 3, 2022
This post was authored by Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group and Technical Director, eTrade Alliance. This January, the Alliance for eTrade Development (“eTrade Alliance”) will be taking over Marketlinks, sharing experiences from its two years of implementation and making the case for why enabling ecommerce should be at the forefront of the development agenda.

Private Sector Engagement (PSE) and Market Systems Development (MSD): Improving Each Other

December 21, 2021
Reflections from Katie Garcia, Deputy Director of USAID’s Private Sector Engagement Hub, and Kristin O’Planick, Market Systems Team Lead in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. There is a growing amount of convergence between PSE and MSD. For practitioners of either approach, there is value in learning more about the tools and techniques of the other to see how they can be useful in advancing the shared goal of transformational change.

Women Investing in Women in Senegal: A Look at How One Fund is Using Gender Lens Investing to Reach Women-Led Businesses in West Africa

December 16, 2021
Many women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in West Africa fall into the “missing middle.” They are too large for funding from microfinance institutions and too small and risky for banks and other sources of traditional finance. WIC Capital, a $20 million investment fund managed by the Women’s Investment Club Senegal, seeks to exclusively target women-led, early-stage businesses in West Africa. 

Technical Assistance: A Game Changer for Gender Lens Investing?

December 16, 2021
This post was written by Lauren Yang, USAID INVEST Communications. Gender Lens Investing has gained momentum as a means to push for a more equitable spread of capital, generating much-needed financial returns and benefits for women. However, the need goes beyond just getting capital into the hands of women — how can businesses make gender equity not merely an add-on, but a fully integrated part of their operations?

This Bond Could Be a Breakthrough in Combatting West Africa’s Housing Shortage

December 8, 2021
For most West Africans, homeownership is out of reach. Rapid population growth and urbanization have created a housing shortage, exacerbated by the lack of access to affordable mortgage loans to finance purchases. With support from USAID INVEST, the Caisse Regionale de Refinancement Hypothecaire (CRRH) is bringing a new investment opportunity to U.S. markets that offers investors attractive financial and social returns — and West Africans the resources to make homeownership a reality. By Lauren Yang, INVEST Communications Advisor

Tunisian Business Proves That Global Tech Companies Don’t Just Grow in Silicon Valley

November 11, 2021
By Lauren Yang, USAID INVEST Communications People who join tech company Fulfillment Bridge rarely leave. Since day one, CEO and founder Kais Khadhraoui has established a flexible company culture, only requiring employees to work from Fulfillment Bridge’s office three days a week. Mondays and Fridays are free days, allowing team members to work from home, take short trips to see parents, or even do their work lying on a beach.

This November, Marketlinks Explores the Potential of the Private Sector in Expanding the Reach of and Access to National Immunization Programs

November 1, 2021
This post is authored by Susan Rae Ross, Sr. Private Sector Engagement Advisor, Office of Maternal/Child Health and Nutrition, USAID Global Health Bureau; Dr. Gaurav Sharma, Sr. Maternal, Newborn, Child Health Technical Advisor and Dr. Christopher Morgan, Sr Immunization Technical Advisor for the MOMENTUM Private Healthcare Delivery Project.

Private Sector Engagement in the Bajo Cauca Region of Colombia

October 29, 2021
By Erin Magee, Regional Advisor, Latin America & the Caribbean, USAID/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance For Diana Arismendy Schroeder, establishing a community-centered approach is critical when working in fragile and conflict-affected settings.