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.

Latest blog posts

Showing 726 results

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.

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?

How One Pension Fund Identified Investment Opportunities in Africa

December 15, 2021
By Emily Langhorne, USAID INVEST In 2019, Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund made its first commitments on the African continent. Since 2017, Chief Investment Officer Angela Miller-May participated in the U.S. Government’s Mobilizing Institutional Investors to Develop Africa’s Infrastructure (MiDA) Program. Through the program, Miller-May learned about the continent’s investment opportunities, and, for the first time in her life, she visited Africa.

Why Investing in Emerging Markets is a Win for Investors and African Companies

December 14, 2021
CEO of Development Partners International (DPI) Runa Alam talks about the history of Pan-African private equity, the potential for institutional capital to drive the continent’s development, and the role of the Prosper Africa initiative in catalyzing two-way trade and investment between the United States and African nations.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.