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 272 results

Training Business Advisory Service Providers to Improve Financing Prospects for SMEs

June 16, 2022
In vibrant financial ecosystems, Business Advisory Service Providers (BASPs) play a vital role in unlocking financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). BASPs are business consultants, lawyers, incubation hubs, accountants, and other intermediaries who support actors on the demand or supply side of capital during the transaction process. With the right capacity and experience to support SMEs and investors, they can accelerate and direct large volumes of investment.

Bolstering Economic Dynamism in the Western Balkans

June 16, 2022
In early 2022, the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia) started to emerge from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, boasting rising industrial production, exports to the European Union (EU), increases in wages, and credit growth. The region is ripe for investment, but Russia’s war against Ukraine threatens this recovery, through higher energy and food costs, disruption in supply chains, and interruptions in trade.

Investing with a “Refugee Lens”: Private Capital Creates New Opportunities for Refugees

June 2, 2022
As private foundations and investors take more interest in refugee services, we are seeing more innovative solutions and approaches for delivering services to refugee communities. The Smart Communities Coalition (SCC) brings the humanitarian and private sectors together to foster innovation in refugee settings, and at the SCC’s 5th Annual Meeting, one theme resonated: there is a strong economic case for refugees, who present a large untapped market as productive members of their host communities and would benefit from tailored services, not just humanitarian aid. 

Farmer Cooperatives in the Philippines Boast Key Advantage: Knowing the Local Context

May 25, 2022
In the way that cooperatives form when people with common interests come together, apex organizations form when several of those cooperatives organize to achieve common goals. Farming cooperatives have the unique advantage of being engrained in the local context and knowledgeable about their sector. Their value is providing farmers with advantages that make them more profitable than they would be outside of the group. Apex organizations take that farmer support a step further by strengthening the cooperative groups on a larger scale. 

Turning the Lights on Is Just the Beginning

May 24, 2022
The story doesn’t end when the lights come on for the first time in rural communities – electric service is a powerful foundation for strengthening communities. It’s critical to also provide enough knowledge to help them generate more income, improve healthcare services, and access better education. With electricity, farmers can mechanize their mills, coffee growers can process their own harvest, and dairy farmers can chill their milk.

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.

5 Myths about Youth and Employment

August 6, 2021
Over 67 million youth are unemployed globally and the majority live in rural areas with limited economic opportunities. The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmingly impacted youth whose employment fell by more than twice that of adults in 2020.

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.

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. 

West Africa: An Ecosystem Approach to Catalyzing Female Entrepreneurship

March 19, 2021
In the Sahel region of West Africa, small and growing businesses account for nearly 50 percent of new job creation. When these businesses are women-led, the potential to drive growth is even higher: a USAID study found that, globally, these businesses grow revenues 1.5 times faster and jobs twice as fast compared to male-owned businesses.

Pandemic Challenges Reveal Cambodian Adaptability: A Case Study in the Vegetable Sector

January 13, 2021
As COVID-19 circumvented the globe impacting every nation, sector, business, and family, it brought numerous challenges in its wake.  In developing countries – where market systems are often fragmented, connections between market actors weak, and businesses’ reserves limited – perishable products like vegetables were particularly hard hit. Both the supply and demand were affected by the shock. As the crisis deepened, some market actors lost considerable revenue and some went out of business.

Mobilizing Private Capital to Close the Financing Gap in Education

December 1, 2020
The global call for access to quality education for all by 2030 comes with a hefty price tag. To meet this target, we need $40 billion in additional funding every year for primary and secondary education alone. To begin closing this gap, new approaches to mobilizing more resources will be imperative, since development agencies and philanthropic organizations do not have the funds to fill the gap on their own.