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Direct cash transfers show promise as anti-poverty tool

The evidence base is growing for the effectiveness of giving cash directly to the poor. A new report from Britain’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) found the U.K.’s cash transfer programs delivered “increasing incomes and consumption levels for the poorest households, with modest but positive effects on savings, asset accumulation and debt reduction.” In East

Move over microfinance. Mobile money is touted as the new magic bullet

Nearly four in every 10 dollars from impact funds targeting emerging markets in 2015 went to microfinance, but access to small amounts of credit hasn’t been the panacea for poverty that was promised. Fuller access to a variety of financial services enabled through mobile phones, is the future, says Kusi Hornberger, a vice president at

What do you get when you cross Bitcoin and MPesa?

Kenya’s BitPesa raised $2.5 million in financing from Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper’s Draper VC, Greycroft Partners, and numerous existing investors. MPesa, of course, is Kenya’s wildly successful mobile money service. BitPesa can make financial transactions, particularly international remittances, cheaper and more accessible by using bitcoins, which the service then exchanges into local currencies for deposit

Want social mobility? Go to a state university

Cal State Los Angeles and SUNY Stonybrook had the highest “mobility rate” in a new study by the Equality of Opportunity Project. The study of 30 million college students tracked the likelihood that a student from a lower-income family ends up in a higher-income family. Pace University in New York was the rare private school

Move over fintech. Human agents drive financial inclusion

Technology is helping give more people access to payment, saving, loan and investment services. But Greta Bull, head of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, says the real game changer is distribution. The key to M-Pesa’s mobile payments system, for example, is its network of agents who allow customers to convert cash to digital

Using Cell Phone Data to Establish Credit Scores in Latin America

First-time borrowers face a classic chicken or the egg dilemma: a borrower needs a good credit score to get a loan but needs a track record of repaying loans to establish a good credit score. Increasingly though, another, more ubiquitous measure of creditworthiness is all consumers will need: their cell phone data. In Latin America, for

Is the Developing World the Next Whitespace for Venture Capital? Fred Wilson Thinks So

It’s only halftime in the global mobile revolution. The first part largely redefined how rich countries accessed the Internet. The second part will reinvent how the developing world gets education, healthcare, financial services and other basic needs. [blockquote author=”Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures” pull=”pullleft”]If you ask me where the next big whitespace for VC is…I would