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Ethiopian Airlines
At the 2018 Arabian Travel Awards, Ethiopian Airlines was voted as the “Best African Airline,” a recognition of the carrier’s impressive expansion into new markets over the past decade.

To fuel its growth and Ethiopia’s booming tourism industry, Ethiopian Airlines plans to build a new airport with an annual capacity of 80 million passengers. In addition to connecting Ethiopia to foreign investors and multinational companies, the airline has engaged with impoverished Ethiopians directly by funneling their profits into charitable causes.

In the article below six things to know about Ethiopian Airlines and its impact on economic development in Ethiopia are explained.

Top 6 Things About Ethiopian Airlines

  1. Ethiopia’s location in the Horn of Africa makes it a prime spot for aviation. As a proof for this statement, the number of passengers flown by Ethiopian Airlines tripled from 2008 to 2017. A 2015 United Nations article found that Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s fastest growing and most profitable passenger and cargo airline. On the cutting edge of innovation, Ethiopian Airlines was the second carrier in the world to operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in 2012. As of now, the carrier serves 101 international and 22 domestic destinations.
  2. Ethiopian Airlines is key for the country’s Vision 2025 framework, under which the government plans to make Addis Ababa the leading manufacturing hub of Africa. The national airline will help Ethiopia achieve Vision 2025 by connecting Ethiopia to China and South America. Last year, the carrier launched flight to Chengdu, China, and in 2018 the Airlines has expanded into Buenos Aires, Chicago and Geneva.
  3. The Airline’s expansive network has helped to transform Ethiopia into a major tourist destination. In 2015, the European Council on Tourism and Trade named Ethiopia the world’s best tourism destination. That same year, 681,000 tourists visited Ethiopia, supporting a tourism industry that makes up 4.5 percent of the country’s GDP and provides more than one million jobs.
  4. Ethiopian Airlines has made environmental protection a pillar of its corporate social responsibility. Under its “Plant one tree for every passenger flown” project, the company will plant nine million trees across different regions of Ethiopia. Moreover, the airline has trained its employees on integrated waste management, hazardous chemical treatment, air quality monitoring and sustainable production. At the Ethiopian Aviation Academy, pilots-in-training can now take a course on the U.N. Environment Sustainable Consumption and Green Economy Program. Erik Solheim, the Head of U.N. Environment, applauded Ethiopian Airlines for raising the bar on environmental responsibility and green business.
  5. Beyond its commitment to a green economy, Ethiopian Airlines uses its planes to deliver educational supplies to impoverished Ethiopians. For example, Ethiopian Airlines partnered with the African Legal Library Project, a nonprofit organization, to transport 40 boxes with 720 law books, as well as 101 e-Readers with over 1,000 books each to Debre Markos University.
  6. The company has also used its resources to deliver medical aid to impoverished Ethiopians. In 2010, Ethiopian Airlines collaborated with Seattle Anesthesia Outreach (SAO) to deliver 12,000 pounds worth of medical supplies, mainly anesthesia equipment to the Black Lion Hospital, the largest hospital in the country. To supplement the delivery of medical supplies, 20 SAO doctors traveled to Ethiopia as part of a humanitarian trip. To this day, Ethiopian Airlines fills empty cargo space in its passenger planes with humanitarian supplies.

Rapid, sustained growth is in the Ethiopian Airlines’s horizon. In May 2018, Ethiopian Airlines accelerated its expansion plans, confirming that it will order 13 additional Boeing 787s and six Airbus A350s. According to the Brookings Institution, the company plans to invest in start-up airlines across Africa.

It bought a minority stake in Malawi Airlines in 2013 and helped relaunch Zambia Airways in January 2018. Looking forward, Ethiopian Airlines plans to jumpstart national carriers in Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea, signaling its desire to connect not only Ethiopia but the whole African continent to the global economy.

– Mark Blekherman


Photo: Flickr

Upaya Invests in India to Create JobsAccording to the World Poverty Clock, five percent of India’s total population (1.3 billion people) face extreme poverty, with each person living on at most $1.90 per day. With such huge numbers, Upaya invests in India to provide stable jobs and steady income to the poor.

Upaya Investing in India

Derived from a Sanskrit word, Upaya means “Skillful means” or “method,” meaning any activity, skill, experience or practice that helps one toward the realization of a goal. With similar intentions, Upaya is tirelessly providing long-term solutions for people living in extremely poor conditions across India.

Seattle-based Upaya invests in India to create employment for the poorest of the poor through its accelerator program and investments in partner enterprises across regions that face extreme poverty. The firm supports early stage enterprises that ensure people in extreme poverty have a stable job and steady income, making them more self-reliant. So far, its 14 partner enterprises have already created over 8,500 sustainable jobs, effectively lifting many job seekers out of extreme poverty.

An Interview Between The Borgen Project and Upaya

The Borgen Project spoke to Upaya CEO, Kate Cochran, to get deeper insights into the firm’s accelerator program and how Upaya invests in India:

The Borgen Project (TBP): Tell us something about Upaya and how it all started?

Kate Cochran (KC): Upaya was originally inspired by a research project which was led by our co-founder Sachi Shenoy to answer the question – how do you scalably serve the extreme poor? We use the World Bank definition of people living on $1.90 or less a day. Our model is to invest in social entrepreneurs who are creating businesses that can create the jobs that employ the poor.

TBP: Can you talk a little about Upaya’s accelerator program?

KC: In 2017, we took our learnings from our first five years and created a program which allowed us to work with more companies at one time and more companies that we can afford to invest in. We bring them together for workshops. We connect them with mentors and experts in the field. We get to know them and we do field visits and at end of the period. We select one to three of those companies for equity investments from Upaya.

TBP: Is there a different focus sector every year that Upaya invests in India?

KC: It is a different theme each year. We select segments in industries that we focus on because we find that by grouping companies, probably in the same industry but not so narrowly that they feel competitive with each other, we can put together a curriculum that is more valuable to them. This is not only because each industry has its particular needs but also it’s easier for us to compare the companies. In 2017, it was the skills gap, this year it is agribusiness and we are in the middle of that accelerator. Next year, our accelerator will be in rural manufacturing.

TBP: Which countries are currently benefitting from Upaya’s accelerator program?

KC: India currently is our main focus, but we will be moving to other countries in the future.

TBP: What kind of jobs are generated when Upaya invests in India?

KC: We have made 14 investments that have created just under 9000 jobs. The jobs are quite varied across our portfolio.

For example, we have an investment in a waste management company in Bangalore that has built a model of forming teams to separate recycled old material from landfill waste in a very efficient way. These teams are located on corporate campuses, and so people who are employed in doing this have a full time 40-hour week, traditional wage jobs. At the same time, the company also provides reliable income for rag pickers, who have worked highly exploitative and dangerous environments in the past. The firm provides reliable, formal employment and also trains them on how to collect this material in a safe way. Such jobs are reliable jobs and help in creating a reliable living.

And this is just one company. There is a lot of diversity in the jobs created. But what we look at to be called a job – we want to know that the individual who is doing this is able to earn an income, at least a minimum of six months a year, that is high enough to move them beyond extreme poverty.

TBP: How do you measure the success of your partner enterprises at ground level?

KC: Sachi Shenoy, our co-founder, leads a practice to get to the job holder level and conduct surveys to see whether their income level is changing. We track household income, living standards, quality of their house, whether their children are going to school and other things.

TBP: What are the challenges that you face in countries like India that has a large population living in poverty?

KC: We face the same challenges really that our partners face since we are very invested in their success. Challenges would be like the changes in the central government policies, like when the GST came out or the demonetization happened. But even with the challenges, the good part of working in India is that it remains a huge market that can grow very quickly.

Deena Zaidi

Photo: Flickr

Female Entrepreneurs in Latin AmericaThe entrepreneurial spirit is catching in South America. According to the World Bank, 63 percent of Latin Americans believe they have what it takes to start a successful business. Meanwhile, local governments are offering support to local entrepreneurs. In Chile, the environment is so strong for startups that it has been dubbed “Chilecon Valley.”

Despite this, there is still widespread poverty in the region. An estimated 25 percent of the population lives below the poverty line of $4 a day. The situation is even worse for women, as only 53 percent participate in the labor force. Fortunately, three women are aiming to change that by helping their local communities and being role models for prospective female entrepreneurs in Latin America.

Leila Velez

Leila Velez is a Brazilian entrepreneur who is aiming to bring the efficiency of waste management in the fast food industry to beauty salons. She started her business, Beleza Natural, at 19 years old with the hope of bringing the accessibility of places like McDonald’s to the beauty industry. Now, her company has locations all over Brazil and employs 3,000 people, many of whom Velez says are single mothers in their early 20s.

While Velez may have modeled aspects of her salons after fast food, she did not want them to become another low paying job people take on temporarily. She wanted to provide career opportunities that give her employees sustainability in life. She says working at her salon is the first job of 90 percent of her employees and she wants her company to offer the opportunity to build a career rather than be a temporary stop.

Jimena Flórez

When Jimena Flórez began her initiative to educate rural farmers about sustainability, she had no idea it would lead to an international snack food company. Chaak Healthy Snacks, originally called Crispy Fruits, works closely with local Colombian farmers to provide healthy snack foods like low sugar brownies to 90,000 kids per month.

Flórez’s company started out trying to help out local Colombian farmers by helping them use organic techniques she learned from relatives in Germany. When she visited her family’s German brewery after college, she knew she could bring the information back to help Columbians. This led to a dry fruit company that later rebranded to healthy snack foods to appeal to an international audience.

In 2015, former President Barack Obama invited Florez to attend a Global Entrepreneurship Event where he thanked her for “helping to lift up his community.” As one of six young entrepreneurs invited, Florez is primed to expand and continue to provide healthy snacks all over the world as one of the many rising female entrepreneurs in Latin America.

Marian Villa Roldán

Being a female entrepreneur is difficult anywhere, but in Latin America, where a certain level of masculinity called “machismo” is integral to the culture, it is more difficult. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean found that 40 percent of Latin American women have been on the receiving end of violence in their lives. This negative attitude toward femininity goes all the way to the top, where only 17 percent of executive positions are held by women.

Marian Villa Roldan and her company Eversocial are out to change that. Eversocial, an online marketing and design company, has supported numerous initiatives that empower Latin American women, including PionerasDev, which helps teach young women how to code. Eversocial has also supported Geek Girls LatAm, a similar organization that helps Latin American women get into STEM fields.

Success for Female Entrepreneurs in Latin America

Latin American women pursuing careers in entrepreneurship are succeeding in a tough environment, but they do not let that stop them from giving back to their communities. Whether it be through providing employment, offering a helpful product, or supporting noble causes, these women fight poverty and serve as role models for the next generation of female entrepreneurs in Latin America.

– Jonathon Ayers
Photo: Flickr

Eco-Friendly Measures Combat PovertyA common complaint about pro-environment actions is the cost they pose to the economy. But worldwide, eco-friendly measures combat poverty in new and sustainable ways. A clear link exists between environmental degradation and poverty, as a feedback loop is created between the two circumstances: by focusing on the environment, the world’s poor can also benefit. Several strategies have already been implemented with proven results that demonstrate that environmentalism can benefit the impoverished.

Five Ways Environmentalism Fights Poverty

  1. Green Energy Provides Jobs and Protects Health
    Green energy provides new jobs and opens up markets that were previously not beneficial. Additionally, according to The World Bank, pollution “stunts economic growth and exacerbates poverty and inequality in both urban and rural areas.” Poor people often feel the effects of pollution most severely since they cannot afford measures to protect themselves. Green energy lessens pollution and can provide relief to suffering communities.
  2. Environment Affects Livelihoods
    More than 1 billion people worldwide depend, to some extent, on forest-based assets for their livelihood. Low-income countries feel the effects of environmental problems more intensely, as environment-based wealth accounts for 25 percent of total wealth in such areas. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, warring parties depleted natural resources so that, according to the U.N. Security Counsel’s 2001 discussion, “The only loser in this huge business venture is the Congolese people.” Eco-friendly measures combat poverty in these cases by ensuring a community’s source of income does not disappear.
  3. Sustainable Farming 
    Globally, cooperatives have arisen that have produced organic food for markets everywhere and “revitalized traditional agricultural systems with new technologies.” Low-income communities producing organic and fair-trade coffee like this have created a rapidly growing niche market that is both sustainable and environmentally conscious. Additionally, many industries can create sustainable jobs for lower-income individuals by focusing on the environment. A Madagascar shrimp processing company created 1,200 permanent new jobs and focuses on keeping those jobs long-term by ensuring that the shrimp population in the area remains healthy. Such policies benefit all parties involved: the company, the environment and the impoverished.
  4. Recycling and Reusing Resources 
    A substantial concern in impoverished countries is developing ways to reuse scarce resources such as water. 99 percent of the time, death due to not enough water or unsafe water takes place in developing countries. In India, the company Banka BioLoo is placing more than 300,000 eco-friendly toilets in low-income areas, which creates jobs and eliminates harmful waste while providing desperately needed sanitation. The by-products of their system include water for gardening and methane gas for fuel. This innovative design is just one of many examples of how eco-friendly measures combat poverty and can improve human health.
  5. Helping Stop Exploitation of the Poor
    Governments can play a big role in combating poverty and protecting the environment with just one action. Corruption can often lead to inter-country conflict, which harms both the environment and the poor. Access to information and legal frameworks, as well as sanctions imposed by organizations like the U.N., can improve the situation in areas plagued by corruption.

These efforts require the non-poor and poor to work together. Since the non-poor have higher consumption levels, the degradation of the environment by poor people is often “due to the poor being denied their rights to natural resources by wealthier elites and, in many cases, being pushed onto marginal lands more prone to degradation.” However, the situation promises hope for the future; by working together, wealthier people have the ability to reduce environmental threats, and poor people often have the technical ability to manage resources. Together, these eco-friendly measures combat poverty.

– Grace Gay
Photo: Flickr

poverty in the philippines
Poverty in the Philippines has declined from 26.6 percent in 2006 to 21.6 percent in 2015. A report released by the World Bank on May 30, 2018 titled ‘Making Growth Work for the Poor: A Poverty Assessment of the Philippines’ reveals the major factors that contributed to this decrease.

Factors for Poverty Decline in Philippines

  • A rise in income and introduction of new job opportunities beyond the agricultural sector led to about two-third of decline in poverty.
  • The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a cash transfer program of the Philippine government, enhanced the living conditions of 1.5 million people thereby reducing national poverty by 1.5 percent. The program works towards alleviating poverty by providing financial assistance to 77 percent of poor households.
  • Houses that received foreign or domestic remittances experienced significant changes in their living conditions. Around 15 million households in the Philippines receive money through domestic or foreign employment sources; this helped reduce poverty by up to 4 percent.

However, though these positive developments helped reduce poverty in the Philippines, the rate of decline has been very slow compared to East Asian countries. Between 2006 and 2015, there has only been a 0.9 percent decline in poverty as per the international poverty line ($1.90/day), while the East Asian countries — including China, Indonesia and Vietnam — have shown 2-2.5 percent in poverty reduction.

Education, Employment and Disaster Relief

Lack of education is one of the main reasons for this slow decline. Since a majority of the poor lack an education, they lack access to better employment opportunities; this trend thus keeps the majority of citizens trapped in the poverty cycle.

Many poor households also have only one earning member in the family, who is generally employed as a laborer in the agricultural sector. Such households are often the poorest and remain extremely vulnerable to the frequent changes in production rates.

Another reason for poverty in the Philippines is the deterioration of the quality of employment over the years. A report reveals that although the Philippines has experienced economic growth, it has failed to maintain consistently high standards in various sectors. In addition, poor disaster management skills have often lead to failure of timely protection and evacuation of people.

The Need for Productive Employment

The U.N. clearly highlights the link between economic growth, high-paying jobs and poverty eradication. The group states that economic growth of the country as a whole on its own will not help in reducing poverty; rather, economic growth has to be combined with an increase in the number of “productive employment” made accessible to the poor.

As mentioned in the report, “The vicious cycle of inequitable investment in human capital and lack of well-paying job opportunities traps the poor in poverty generation after generation.” What is needed then is to transform the pattern of growth to make it more inclusive, and to provide better jobs to achieve higher and more stable incomes. The vice chairman of the labor committee, Senator Juan Edgaro Angara states that “jobs remain the key to poverty. If there is enough income, a permanent and decent job, the lives of Filipinos would be surely uplifted.”

The Public Employment Service Office of Philippines (PESO) held a job expo on June 2, 2018, at which around 103 people were hired on the spot. This gathering is considered to be one of the biggest job fairs in Visayas, Philippines and this year it presented people with around 33,000 positions. Sen. Juan Angara commended the expo and said that every province, city and municipality in the Philippines has its own PESO — this prevalence should ensure that every Filipino gets a job to help them rise out of poverty.

Just days after this job expo, another job fair was organized at Rizal Park, Manila on June 12, 2018, to mark the 102nd anniversary of Philippine Independence. According to the Department of Labor and Employment, around 30,000 jobs were offered which included 45 local, 25 overseas and eight government agency positions. Generally, though, it was the transportation and domestic construction sectors that offered a majority of the vacant positions.

New Initiatives to Alleviate Poverty in the Philippines

The Philippines has around 22 million people — or around one-fifth of its population — still living below the poverty line. The launch of AmBisyon 2040 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is a long-term commitment to uplift the underprivileged sections of the society.

Functioning parallel to such an effort is also the Philippines Development Plan 2017-2022. Both these initiatives have set out ambitious goals to eradicate poverty in the Philippines by transforming the country into a prosperous middle-class society where “people will live long and healthy lives, be smart and innovative and will live in a high-trust society.”

To make this a reality, the government has taken up the task of reducing poverty by one percent every year to see a reduction of 13-15 percent by 2022. In addition to these two initiatives, the poverty assessment stresses the following to catalyze the rate of poverty decline:

  • Focusing on creating a greater number of high-paying jobs
  • Improving the business environment to attract more investment
  • Making means to improve productivity in all sectors, mainly agriculture
  • Ensuring skill development to make the Filipino population highly capable for the 21st century economy
  • Improving health and nutrition
  • Placing special emphasis on initiatives to reduce poverty in Mindanao
  • Making better provisions to manage disasters and protect the vulnerable sections of the society

Thus, with new initiatives and a greater focus on creating more well-paying jobs, the government hopes to reduce poverty in the Philippines and bring about a permanent change in the lives of the Filipino people.

– Shruthi Nair
Photo: Flickr

poverty in Sri Lanka
Poverty in Sri Lanka has seen a decline from 22.7 percent in 2002 to 6.1 percent in 2012-13. However, the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country have not yet experienced much change. The places most affected by poverty are Mullaitivu at 28.8 percent, Mannar at 20.1 percent and Batticaloa district at 19.4 percent.

The Role of Millennium Challenge Corporation

Like in many developing countries, poverty in Sri Lanka has been declining, but the pace of decline has been very slow and irregular. One of the primary ways in which the government tries to reduce poverty is by focusing on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improving job opportunities for people.

Today, many world organizations assist developing countries in realizing their goals. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is one such organization working towards alleviating global poverty. The group is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency which grants financial assistance to developing countries in order to help uplift them.

Process of Selection

The process of selecting the country eligible for a compact, large-scale five-year plan is done based on a 20 point criteria laid down by the organization. Only countries that practice good governance, work towards the welfare of the citizens and fulfill at least a minimum number of those set criteria are eligible to receive grants. MCC assists such countries in the development of various sectors like transportation, education, housing and so on.

The focus of MCC is to enable developing countries to achieve the SDGs and thereby reduce poverty. The organization started operating in 2004 and has so far signed compacts with 29 countries around the world.

MCC’s Role in Alleviating Poverty in Sri Lanka

In December 2016, the organization selected Sri Lanka to receive foreign aid after noting that the country passed 13 out of the 20 indicators on MCC’s policy scorecard. In June 2018, MCC advanced its partnership with Sri Lanka confirming its unswerving support in helping the country prosper and flourish. Caroline Nguyen, the Managing Director of MCC for Europe, Asia, Pacific, and Latin America visited the country from June 11th to 13th to finalize the proposed MCC compact which aims to reduce poverty in Sri Lanka.

MCC’s focus is on investing in land and transport projects of the government of Sri Lanka. The proposed compact aims to systematize the interregional movement of goods and people, regulate traffic congestions and help develop a more organized land administration.

MD Nguyen signed an agreement with the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Robert Hilton, at the Ministry of Finance granting $2.6 million as financial aid for the same. This is in addition to the $7.4 million which was granted in July last year. Nguyen told The Sunday Leader “We are pleased to partner with Sri Lanka on a program that will reduce poverty through economic growth and improve lives in the country.”

Future Direction

Robert Hilton, the Deputy Chief of Mission, told the Asian Tribune, “the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact is an important part of the U.S. government’s commitment to work as partners with the people of Sri Lanka to support sustainable development throughout the country.”

The finalized MCC compact will be presented to the MCC’s Board of Directors for approval by late 2018. The organization assures it will fund the compact entirely through grants (which do not need to be repaid) rather than loans — a sustainable start to a bright future.

– Shruthi Nair
Photo: Flickr

Renewable Energy Sector in India
In a deserted, rocky and barren land with temperatures up to 80 and 90 degrees Celsius, millions of silver-grey solar panels glimmer in the sun. This is a start of what is said to be the biggest solar power station in the world in Pavagada, a town located in southern India. This city is where a massive solar park is set to be built and is expected to produce 2,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 700,000 households. This is the start of a clean-energy revolution in the renewable energy sector in India.

The Renewable Energy Sector in India

The renewable energy sector in India is now the leader in creating a new revolution in solar energy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government aims to achieve 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar installations by 2022, of which 40 gigawatts is expected to come from rooftop installations. This emphasizes India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and its strong will to push for solar energy generation in countries with huge potential.

Solar energy serves as a clean and affordable form of the renewable energy sector that would help India cut down its carbon emissions as well as reduce its dependency on the import of crude oil (at least to some extent).

Although India has committed to going solar, challenges still remain. Infrastructure development, technological know-how, attracting foreign investment, procuring raw materials for solar panels and a lack of access to existing storage technologies remain huge obstacles. Despite these concerns, India has taken an initiative to make solar energy the focus of clean energy.

Foreign Direct Investment in India’s Solar Power

The boom in the renewable energy sector in India has attracted investors from abroad. The ambitious target of 100 GW by 2022 is tough, and to achieve this mission, India solar sector requires investment from foreign countries.

In 2015, the solar sector had secured more than $278 million through various avenues. The international business consulting firm KPMG forecasts that the market share of solar power in India would be 5.7 percent (54 GW) and 12.5 percent (166 GW) in 2020 and 2025, respectively.

Several countries look at investing in the renewable energy sector in India. In 2016, the U.S. and India partnered to launch the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF), an initiative to help promising distributed solar projects develop into viable investment opportunities via essential early-stage project preparation support.

Job Creation Through Renewable Energy Sector

The massive push for solar energy opened up ways of employment with hopes to reduce the poverty rate in India. In fact, 22 percent of the population or 270 million people live below the poverty line in India. Clean-energy jobs are seen as a game changer in India’s rural and urban areas.

There are various positions of job profiles that have opened up due to India commitment to go solar. Jobs like installation, operations and maintenance, sales and more. Many of these jobs provide steady incomes, healthcare benefits and skill-building opportunities for unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

A report by World Resource Institute ‘Can Renewable Energy Jobs Help Reduce Poverty in India?’ states that in addition to improving energy security, enhancing energy access and mitigating climate change, renewable energy may be able to help reduce poverty by creating good jobs that poor people can perform.

The findings of WET report suggest that:

  • The majority of jobs in the sector are contractual and do not offer benefits or job stability.
  • Permanent jobs in the sector have the potential to reduce poverty, but they need strengthening before they become “good” jobs.
  • Most poor people face barriers to entry to training and the job market.
  • Few programs include features that help reduce poverty, such as capacity building, development of ownership opportunities or the inclusion of women.
  • The absence of data makes it difficult to establish connections between jobs in renewable energy and poverty reduction.

India depends heavily on fossil fuels. Energy production and consumption accounts for 58 percent of India’s greenhouse gas emissions and is projected to grow exponentially in the coming decades due to a rising energy demand associated with urbanization, better living standards and economic modernization. As a result, clean energy is the main focus for the government of India in the coming years.

Commitment to Positive Change

In order to meet the commitment under Paris Agreement, India must dramatically boost solar and wind power to light up millions of houses that still lack electricity. Due to the initiatives by the government of India, India is looking at renewable energy options and acts as a home for the  largest solar plants in the world.

The government schemes and policies have contributed in transitioning from fossil fuels to clean and green energy in India, and with solar tariffs falling to a record low, new government schemes to encourage rooftop installation has put India on the map in the renewable energy sector. Being a part of this renewable energy sector has the potential to create jobs, reduce poverty and propel India into the ways of the future.

– Preethi Ravi
Photo: Flickr

Growth and Job Creation in Sri Lanka
As of July 29, 2016, the World Bank has approved a $100 million credit from the International Development Association to support growth and job creation in Sri Lanka.

Francoise Culottes, the World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, stated, “The breadth and depth of the actions implemented signal the comprehensive approach and commitment of the government to tackle difficult reforms aimed at making growth sustainable and creating jobs.”

Despite a 30-year civil war that ended in 2009, the country has risen to the occasion and continued to work towards cultivating growth in the economy.

Currently, the country is described as a lower middle-income country that has become more urbanized with time. Extreme poverty remains low, as the poverty rate only decreased by half a point, from 2.4 to 1.9, between the years of 2009 and 2013. The economy transformed from being primarily rural-based, to an urbanized sector that provides services.

The new government, in place since 2015, declared numerous times that it has plans to make the economy more included in the global economy. Growth and job creation in Sri Lanka hinges on the government’s desire to generate one million jobs, develop rural markets, increase income and create a strong middle class.

The Development Policy Financing (DPF) is defined as an IDA credit or grant that “provides support to governments or a political subdivision for a program of policy and institutional actions to help achieve sustainable shared growth and poverty reduction.”

The DPF’s plans are based on three distinct pillars. The first pillar will support the Government of Sri Lanka’s plan to enhance a competitiveness of the private sector and help the country’s ability to overcome obstacles within the trading industry. The second pillar wishes to establish a strong legal framework, encouraging transparency as a means to improve the business environment. The third and final pillar is an act in order to support fiscal sustainability and fix debt management.

The operations guaranteed in the DPF provide funding to the Sri Lankan government after policy packages have been completed. Although various Sri Lankan ministries and groups, such as the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, are in charge of overall implementation, the World Bank is there to support the reform methods when needed.

If the country continues to be supported by its government and focused on the tasks at hand to continue growing the economy, there should not be many problems. The Government of Sri Lanka must stay committed to its goal of economic growth as the country begins to face new challenges as it evolves into a middle-income country.

There is great promise for the country, though. With seven years of peace, and growth exceeding 6 percent, there should not be a lot of trouble for Sri Lanka, especially with the World Bank on its side.

Ashley Morefield

Photo: Flickr

emerging_markets
Many Americans are wary about investing in emerging markets simply because they do not know how international investments help the U.S. economy as well as the developing world. Below is a list of the top three ways that global investments can positively influence the United States and beyond.

Job Creation
According to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American companies that invest overseas create a greater number of higher paying jobs within the United States than those that only invest domestically.

These jobs tend to be high-skilled and provide financial stability for American citizens. U.S. exports to Africa reached a record-high of over $50 billion in 2013, supporting 250,000 U.S. jobs.

During the 2008-09 financial crisis, 50 percent of global growth came from economic progress of emerging markets in developing countries.

The World Bank invested $3 billion in international labor programs and social protection in order to improve employment rates that year. In fact, 172 different cooperatives were able to offer jobs to those in the developing world throughout 85 different countries.

New Markets and Consumers
According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), 1 out of every 5 American jobs is export-based, with half of our exports going to developing nations. Once a company invests overseas, that nation’s economy strengthens, which leads to new markets for those in the developing world to participate in as consumers.

Since 95 percent of potential consumers live overseas, Americans should return investments so that those in the developing world have the chance to become more than just consumers, but also small business owners and professionals who will be able to invest in different American markets.

This growth in consumers will lead to larger sales figures, boosting markets back at home. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, explains how investing in the quality of life overseas is possible.

He writes, “We need to find economic growth strategies that will help all segments of society in emerging markets – reaching even fragile states striving to put years of conflict behind them and create good jobs for the people.”

Poverty Solutions
Investing in the emerging markets of developing countries offers social solutions to the world’s poor who are struggling to survive due to limited access to food and water – two basic human needs.

One can look at the experience of Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst turned teacher who created the One Acre Fund in order to serve farming families in Eastern Africa, as an example of such social change can be made through foreign aid.

Over 203,000 farm families were helped just last year in sustainable cropping techniques and food supply. Not only does this program create jobs for farmers living in these regions, but the profits also allow for consumer activity within the American market.

In 2013, Kenya’s One Acre Fund resulted in a 70 percent increase in farm income; Burundi’s fund wasn’t far behind with a 65 percent income growth.

These farmers represent the base of the framework of One Acre’s model to success. Once farmers are able to support themselves financially, they have the opportunity to invest more valuable assets via the American market.

Investments overseas lead to more jobs in America and in the developing world. These jobs allow for new products and markets to emerge, creating a larger customer base. To maintain that these jobs and markets positively affect the economy, the developing world needs to be provided the tools to succeed as consumers.

Kelsey Lay

Sources: One Acre Fund, Social Impact Investment Taskforce, The White House, The World Bank, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
Photo: Forbes

https://www.flickr.com/photos/36182550@N08/3347465868/in/faves-100442662@N03/
In a continued effort to increase its network to reach over seven million people across the Middle East and Africa by the end of the year, Microsoft is looking to create over 100,000 new job opportunities via partnerships with public, private and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Microsoft’s target markets for what it refers to as future “employability platforms” to include Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Algeria and Ghana, and will eventually expand into 21 Middle Eastern and African countries.

According to Microsoft Middle East and Africa’s corporate vice president Ali Faramawy, employment opportunities for poor communities will have to be realized by helping to establish business-friendly climates and specialized training for higher-level students.

“Part of the unemployment problem is caused by a lack of economic opportunity as well as the fact that graduates from secondary and tertiary institutions lack the skills required by employers,” she said. “But there is no shortage of determination and even in a country like Iraq that has been faced with some dire situations, our platform has helped put 30,000 youths into jobs in the past 14 months.”

Microsoft has launched a number of initiatives aimed at providing grant funding, leadership mentoring and specialized training to a wide range of civilians, from motivated students at the secondary levels of education to already-established startups looking for financial backing.

One such initiative is known as EmployMentor, a Microsoft program that aims to provide female tech and business graduates with job opportunities and entrepreneurial guidance throughout Africa. Over the course of the weeklong training program, participants engage in mock interviews, business case studies and financial-modeling training aimed at providing them experience with real-world business scenarios.

Another initiative has provided innovation grants to seven African startup companies, a program that was announced at Microsoft’s 4Afrika Advisory Council meeting in Nairobi in November 2014. Through the program, seven startups received funding, technical support and mentorship to stimulate their growth.

According to Microsoft’s general manager of Africa Initiatives Fernando de Sousa, Microsoft’s business grants largely go to startups that focus on sustainable and wide-reaching solutions.

“We’re supporting startups that have developed their solutions beyond the idea stage. They are either in the process of acquiring their first batch of clients or well under way in expanding their existing portfolio of clients,” he said. “All startups have created solutions that are addressing key sectors fuelling growth across the continent.”

With its employment and entrepreneurial training initiatives in Africa, Microsoft is setting an example for American companies looking to help those in poor and developing countries while simultaneously creating opportunities for themselves to tap into new and emerging markets. When companies invest in the lives of those living in poor communities, they are helping to create business-friendly conditions in emerging markets, and are creating opportunities for both American companies and African students in ways that are more direct and involved than vaguely directed aid contributions.

Zach VeShancey

Sources: African Business Review, Microsoft, , Naija 247 News
Photo: Flickr