Blog

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.

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

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.

Making a Measure: Capturing Vendor Business Health in Local Markets

September 1, 2021
By Clare Clingain and Emily Sloane, International Rescue Committee (IRC) If you want to understand something, you probably need to measure it – and measure it well. Chances are, someone has already tried to measure what you want to examine, but if that’s not the case, it’s important to design a tool that’s fit for the intended purpose and to test it out in multiple contexts.

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.

Using a Systems Approach to Adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Uganda

August 4, 2021
In March 2020, the Government of Uganda introduced a series of preventative measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. These measures, including the closure of businesses and restriction of movement, were anticipated to have an impact on the economy and on agricultural production. USAID/Uganda was interested in understanding the impact of COVID-19 and these government measures on the agricultural market system, to anticipate how resilient the system would be and to identify opportunities to adapt existing programming or introduce new emergency measures.