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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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Marketlinks in 2021: Year in Review

December 1, 2021
This month, Marketlinks is highlighting the best of 2021, including the standout learning and knowledge-sharing content that has resonated the most with our community.

Are We Too Focused on Access to Credit? Agent Banks Boost Resiliency During COVID-19 Pandemic

November 16, 2021
In early 2020, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops Activity, funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, began an assessment to understand how the Activity could increase financial access for agricultural small- and medium-sized enterprises (agri-SMEs) in Bangladesh during COVID-19. The assessment originally focused on opportunities for the Activity to increase financial access through agent banks during the pandemic.

Pension Funds Could Close the SDG Gap. What’s Holding Them Back?

October 11, 2021
Pension funds and other institutional investors hold more than $100 trillion in assets, and their stakeholders are increasingly interested in utilizing those funds to make socially responsible investments. At the same time, countries in Africa are growing fast — but risk falling behind if they can’t finance the necessary infrastructure to support their growth. On the surface, it would seem like a perfect union of returns and social responsibility. Yet only a fraction of institutional investors hold assets in developing countries. What is holding them back?

Unlocking Capital for Women Entrepreneurs Can Improve Livelihoods In Developing Countries: A Look at Kenya

September 1, 2021
Jane Wangige is a rice farmer in Kirinyaga County who has made money and improved her family’s livelihood from her rice farm. Her business prospered due to her membership in Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose Co-operative Society (MRGM). MRGM is a farmer’s cooperative society that has accessed financing from USAID’s Kenya Investment Mechanism (KIM)—or specifically, a KIM partner financial institution, Co-operative Bank of Kenya.

How to ensure that emerging digital regulations enable developing countries’ trade and ecommerce?

August 2, 2021
By Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group and Techical Director, eTrade Alliance Ecommerce – the sale and purchase of goods and services online – is booming in developing countries and their export markets, opening new opportunities for developing country micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to grow their sales, export, diversify their markets, and create new jobs.

Removing the Tampon Tax in Ethiopia

June 22, 2021
This post was originally published on the Global Waters website and written by Lisa Schechtman, Senior Policy and Partnerships Advisor, USAID Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene; and Kathrin Tegenfeldt, Climate and WASH Advisor, Economic Growth and Transformation Office, USAID/Ethiopia.

Kenyan Coconut Enterprise Tries Out New Recipe: Gender Equity

June 10, 2021
By Carolanne Chanik, INVEST Communications Coordinator About an hour drive outside of the port city of Mombasa lies the coastal town of Ukunda, a modest road stop on the way to Kenya’s Diani Beach. On the outskirts of Ukunda are a smattering of general stores and auto repair shops to serve motorists and day travelers, and a coconut processing plant owned by Kentaste Products Limited.

Tanzania Looks to Blended Finance Solution for Hospital Network Modernization

June 9, 2021
By Desmond Dodd, INVEST Communications When Tanzania’s government recently began reducing funding, medical supplies, and staff available to faith-based hospitals, Peter Maduki quickly understood the stakes involved for his members. “Some of our hospitals will be at a high risk of closing,” said Maduki, the Executive Director of the Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC), a national ecumenical organization that facilitates health services through member churches.

Systems Theory through a Gender Lens

June 1, 2021
While the gender gap represents $28 trillion that could be added to global GDP by 2025, the pipeline of potential investments remains elusive for many funds. This is due to a range of factors including unconscious bias, a rigged system, lack of access to female networks, and lack of women in decision-making roles. These existing systemic issues are further exacerbated by COVID-19 and the uneven burden placed on women during the pandemic.

Cash Transfers and Economic Resilience

June 1, 2021
With pandemic lockdowns crippling labor demand and supply around the world, government interest in social protection and labor market programs in general, and cash transfers in particular, has increased dramatically.