Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
GIO on Africa.jpgAfrica – Which areas of innovation hold the best promise for enabling economic development?
This first-ever public ThinkPlace Challenge is a three-week online event designed to foster global collaboration on innovations that can fuel economic growth and improve the standard of living on the African continent. The ideas developed in this on-line challenge will immediately shape the agenda for the IBM Global Innovation Outlook/Africa deep dive sessions which will be conducted in person in locations around the world beginning in June. The input will also inform IBM’s World Development Initiative, a new long-term effort to identify commercial opportunities addressing the needs of the vast population currently living on less than $5 a day.
Rob Katz has contributed with filling the Mesofinance Gap. “Small and medium enterprises need financing to scale up. However, most SMEs in the base of the pyramid can only access microfinance (loans up to $10,000) or formal finance (loans of more than $1 million). We need to fill that “mesofinance” gap.”
Other ideas range from mobile to mobile platforms, microfranchising, microfinance, infrastructure and electricity. And this is just the beginning! Share your own ideas and/or contribute to ones already posted and be part of a program aimed at helping improve the quality of life for many people in Africa.
submit your ideas and collaborate with others on this topic by May 25, 2007.


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