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Markets blog posts

  • Many Happy Returns
    Lusaka in Zambia was the venue for a recent global gathering of 200 practitioners, researchers and donors for the BEAM Exchange’s  inaugural conference “Shining a light on the use of systems approaches to build inclusive markets and reduce poverty”. BEAM is a knowledge hub supported by DFID and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and we gathered to take stock of learning on three illuminating tracks: Evidence; Results and Innovative Practices. The ACRE team joined forces with Adam Smith International to lead […]
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and political economy
    At Practical Action, we know that investment in disaster risk reduction (DRR) is far more effective and efficient at saving lives and livelihoods than post-disaster relief – although both are necessary, to a greater or lesser degree. When more is invested in appropriate DRR, less relief is needed – as per the oft quoted fact that every $1 spent on DRR saves at least $7 in post-disaster relief (UNDP, 2016). Unfortunately, it is not always possible to carry out those […]
  • Nairobi’s informal water vendors: heroes or villains?
    Nairobi’s informal settlements are places of startling juxtaposition. Holding 60% of the city’s population on only 5% of the total land mass, they house some of the nation’s poorest citizens and immigrants at the edge of Eastern Africa’s most developed city. Change has flooded in in some respects, contrasting with persistent socio-economic divides. While almost all residents have access to a mobile phone network, for example, very few have access to clean drinking water. The statistics available on poverty levels are […]
  • The Emolienteros: organised labour as the driving force of technology advancement.
    The ‘Emolienteros’ are vendors of Emoliente, a beverage made with medicinal plants sold on the streets of Lima. With the availability of different flavours, mixtures and consistencies of the herbal beverage, they provide an unrivalled service for inexpensive on-the-go breakfast/snacks, in Peru’s densely populated capital. As the third largest city in the Americas, Lima presents a huge market for the Emolienteros, with much potential for growth. This fact is not lost on these ambitious workers. They have been able to form a robust […]
  • The business of the achieving the new SDGs
    That the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been described as the ‘most inclusive process in the history of the UN’ seems worth celebrating…. even if a flip side is the daunting number of goals (17) and proposed targets. This inclusion has undoubtedly been a recognition that the scale and depth of the challenges needed extensive public, private and civil society engagement.  Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this time round many businesses have been encouraged to have their […]
  • Amber/Red for DFID – not business as usual
    Today the body responsible for scrutinising the effectiveness of UK aid money, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) , released its report on Business in Development.They’ve looked at how well DFID is working with, and through, businesses. Their assessment, announced today, is concerning. Marked as Amber/Red, it states: ‘The programme performs relatively poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Significant improvements should be made.’ It is a harsh message for DFID teams but timely for […]
  • Guest post: Energy engagement series — April 2015 RECAP
    The following is a guest post from Lily Ordano, an Associate with the Energy Program and the World Resources Institute (WRI). Practical Action is working in conjunction with WRI to produce a monthly Energy Engagement Series in Washington, DC, which focuses on energy access issues around the world. The anchor-tenant approach in mini-grid development is considered a promising method for promoting the financial viability of mini-grids in expanding energy access. The approach focuses on securing a ‘reliable load’ for energy service companies […]
  • Better business environments for all
    The relevance of business environments may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the universal development goals and targets designed to end global poverty. They will replace the MDGs, which finish in 2015, so the debate on what’s in and what’s out is gradually heading towards a conclusion. A staggering 17 goals and 169 targets are proposed, a number viewed by many as far too ambitious for countries to measure. We can expect some horse trading […]
  • Markets for Disaster Risk Reduction
    “A private sector committed to Disaster Risk Reduction can steer public demand towards materials, systems and technological solutions to build and run resilient communities”. 5th Global Assessment Report, UNISDR The critical role of the markets and the private sector for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and resilience building has been widely recognized during implementation of the first Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005 – 2015. Despite the development community’s focus on the impact of overseas aid, the vast majority of investment […]
  • On making the SDGs meaningful: Practical Action’s views on the state of play of the post-2015 development agenda
    UN negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda represent the follow-up process of two globally significant policy regimes: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Rio+20 conference of 2012. No small shoes to fill. On 21 February 2014, the co-Chairs of one of the key bodies in this process, the Open Working Group (OWG), released a preliminary sketch of the status of discussions on a variety of topics in their “Focus Areas Document.” Practical Action welcomes the strong and clear messages it […]
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