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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.

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.

Mangoes and More – Building a Better Business Enabling Environment for Investment in Kenya’s Makueni County

May 25, 2021
The Opportunity – Massive Mango Production and Processing Potential Makueni County is Kenya’s top mango-growing region, producing more mangoes (38,000 metric tons per year) than any other county. With a short harvest season from November to March, more than 40% of production goes to waste due to processing and demand constraints. Further, mango farmers struggle with dramatic price fluctuations, including an annual collapse in mango prices during the peak production season in January.

The ENGIE Acquisition: With USAID Support, an Off-Grid Solar Fenix Rises

May 13, 2021
FROM SILICON VALLEY STARTUP TO LANDMARK ACQUISITION Access to technology is an essential component to development, especially in Africa. Africans use cheap mobile phones to pay their bills, conduct small business, and make calls anywhere and everywhere. However, even a small mobile phone is not useful if power is not available to charge it. Eighty percent of African households lack electric power, which limits opportunities to access information and mobile money, as well as business and educational opportunities.