List of Events around the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting

This September, New York City will once again host two major development events: the UN General Assembly (UNGA), and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. These events provide an important opportunity for global players from across international development to coordinate their efforts and collaborate on the sector’s greatest challenges.

We’ve created a database of the key side events taking place to help the development community come together this month.

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Borrowing and Saving – Not Two Sides of the Same Coin

By Dalberg’s Michael Mori, and ACCION International’s Elisabeth Rhyne

From a mathematical point of view, borrowing and saving are mirror images. In both cases many small payments allow for one or more large payouts. Only the sequence differs. Stuart Rutherford’s classic description involves “saving up” (saving) and “saving down” (borrowing), both for the purpose of assembling “usefully large sums.” When viewed in this way it is clear that saving and borrowing can serve much the same purpose, and at times can even substitute for each other.

This is true, as far as it goes, and it underscores the importance of disciplined payments of small amounts as a path to obtaining the lump sums needed for major purchases.

We recently traveled to India (Mumbai and rural Maharashtra) and Kenya (Nairobi and farming villages outside of Nyahururu) as part of a research project led by the Center for Financial Services Innovation and the Center for Financial Inclusion, and conducted by Dalberg. In speaking with a variety of residents, we were struck by vast differences in the way people make borrowing and savings decisions.

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Yemen Faces Great Challenges if a Peace Agreement is Forged

By Dalberg’s Paul Callan, and Globesight’s Taufiq Rahim

Today, Yemen has three million individuals who have fled conflict, and are displaced both within the country and outside of its borders. Creating the right conditions for their return home is both a humanitarian imperative and critical to regional and global security.

The April 2016 ceasefire in Yemen led to very welcome peace talks. While ceasefire violations and competing agendas have hampered negotiations, the coming months will hopefully see an end to the conflict.

 It is crucial that the international community begins to work together to prepare the way for reconstruction, including the return of refugees. Reconstruction and return will not be an easy task given that post-conflict Yemen will still likely be plagued by extremist groups, endemic poverty and distrust.

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Going Beyond Supply and Demand – The Role of Business in Socio-cultural Interventions to Increase Women’s Access to Finance

By Tania Beard and Shruthi Jayaram 

By now, we know that women – especially in the developing world – have less access to finance than men.  Business has an important role in leveling the playing field through interventions aimed at easing constraints on the demand-side (awareness of financial products or business and literacy training), the supply side (designing financial products and services that address women’s needs), and in the enabling environment (regulation and socio-cultural factors). Overall, demand-side approaches have been the most widely deployed, and supply-side interventions are emerging. However, beyond supply and demand, there are too few initiatives that address the socio-cultural conditions necessary for women to thrive. Taking a holistic, integrated approach by prioritizing socio-cultural interventions alongside supply and demand will be crucial to increasing women’s access to finance. While the role of the private sector in shifting socio-cultural norms remains largely untapped, we want to see business tackling these constraints through the powerful levers – people, brand, purchasing power and partnerships – at its disposal.

The evidence is clear: women entrepreneurs are disadvantaged due to their limited access to finance. Across the world, women-owned SMEs grow at a lower rate when compared to their male counterparts, and access to finance is a critical hurdle to growth. The IFC estimates that across developing countries, around 12-14 million women-owned micro-enterprises and 6 million SMEs are either unserved or under-served financially. The financing gap for formal women-owned SMEs alone is as high as USD $260–320 billion, a figure which would be much higher if informal women-owned enterprises were included.

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D. Talk – Business Resilience in Vulnerable, Post-crisis Economies

By Amy Zhuo

In 2014, Chid Liberty had just set up the first Fair Trade Certified apparel manufacturing company in Africa – Liberty & Justice (L&J) – and was ready to fulfill his contracts, when suddenly Ebola hit Liberia and the company was forced to shut down indefinitely. However, after the Ebola crisis subsided, he was able to restart L&J operations successfully and also launch a successful clothing brand, UNIFORM, which was initially funded by Kickstarter and now has a window at Bloomingdale’s.

Liberty recently spoke at Dalberg’s New York office about his whirlwind entrepreneurial experience, overcoming country risk, and the future of social entrepreneurship as part of Dalberg’s D. Talk series.



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Applications Open to the Inaugural Edition of the Lion’s Den

lionsdenDalberg is supporting the inaugural edition of the Lion’s Den. Modeled on the Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank, entrepreneurs in the Lion’s Den will pitch their business, design, product or idea to a panel of five Kenyan business leaders. Lion’s Den is powered by Kenya Commercial Bank, the largest commercial bank in East Africa by assets, and will be aired by Nation TV, the leading media house in East Africa.

The ask: Share this with those in your networks that you think have investment-worthy ideas, businesses, products or designs.

How to apply: Fill in this application form and email it and any additional materials by July 24th to and with cc to Use the subject line “Lion’s Den application”

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Enabling Returns for the Displaced in Syria

By Dalberg’s Paul Callan, and Talya Lockman-Fine; and Globesight’s Taufiq Rahim, Alaa’ Odeh, and Anna De Palma  

The scale of the conflict in Syria is hard to comprehend: almost half a million people killed, according to some estimates, and more than half of the country’s pre-war population displaced. By all measures, the conflict has resulted in one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time. With 6.5 million internally displaced people and another 4.8 million Syrian refugees in host countries, addressing displacement in the short and long term is integral in the response to the crisis.

In recent months, there have been international efforts to reach a cease-fire, to middling success. While there is still no end in sight to the violence in the short term, the situation on the ground is shifting, at least in some areas. For example, some U.S.-backed rebels are making gains against the Islamic State in the north. Islands of peace and stability will likely emerge in the medium term in Syria, regardless of the progress of the overall negotiations. As the focus turns to reconstruction and reconciliation, the displaced could have new opportunities to return.

Reversing displacement requires advanced planning. We have studied the aftermath of several past conflicts as well as the on-the-ground reality in Syria and found that the following specific actions can be taken to enable successful returns.

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Comment les dirigeants africains peuvent attirer d’avantage d’IDE chinoises ?

Par Aurelien Chu et  Hafsa Anouar 

Après deux cent ans de stagnation, de guerre civile et de famine, la Chine émerge à nouveau comme puissance économique mondiale. Cette situation a des répercussions certaines sur le reste du monde car bouscule et parfois renforce l’ordre international établi. Les prêts et les investissements chinois octroyés par les banques, les entreprises publiques et le secteur privé se sont multipliés en Afrique durant la dernière décennie. Les logos des entreprises chinoises de construction sont légion sur le continent. Il en est de même des produits « Made In China ».

Les investissements chinois en Afrique s’intéressent moins au contexte des pays ciblés qu’à celui de la Chine. Avec le récent crash boursier de l’Empire du Milieu, les dirigeants africains doivent développer des stratégies fortes qui les prépareraient aux fluctuations attendues dans les IDE vers l’Afrique.

Fig1 montre les fluctuations du marché boursier chinois entre 2013 et 2015


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How can African leaders encourage more Chinese FDI to Africa in the midst of fluctuations in the Chinese stock market?

By Aurelien Chu and Hafsa Anouar

After two hundred years of stagnation, civil war, and famine, the re-emergence of China as a global economic power has profoundly affected the rest of the world – sometimes challenging and sometimes reinforcing the established international order. Chinese loans and investments, provided by state-owned banks and enterprises as well as private sector actors, have poured into Africa in the past ten years – the visible logos of Chinese construction companies or the markets bustling with Made in China products are an omnipresent reminder. But China’s outwards investments in Africa often have less to do with the context of the target countries than they do with conditions back home. With the recent Chinese stock market turmoil, African leaders should prepare themselves for the fluctuations in Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) to the continent.

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Capitalizing on a $2.5bn opportunity in East Africa

By Angela Hansen and Michael Davis

What am I? Indigenous to the Andes, I’m the #2 grown crop in Kenya and Rwanda.  The average “global citizen” eats nearly 75 lbs of me a year.  In East Africa, my demand is a multibillion dollar unmet opportunity.

I’m a captivating child’s toy whose ears and accessories were the first toys ever advertised on television, but I’ve also been responsible for some of history’s greatest famines.

Guessed it yet?

If you said an Irish potato, full marks and a hat tip to you.

Irish potatoes are not only a crop of immense importance but are also a significant economic opportunity in East Africa. The product is a staple in the region, and with continuing urbanization and growth of the middle class, demand for potatoes and their derivatives (particularly chips and crisps) is expected to continue growing quickly. As only 20% of potatoes grown in East Africa are currently sold for processing – versus 50% in most developed nations – the room for growth can’t be underestimated.

So is all this opportunity creating a reliable income stream for the 2.2 million smallholder farmers currently growing potatoes in East Africa? Sadly no. A historic lack of support from government and investment from companies has left the potato value chain highly fragmented and disorganized with too few aggregators creating economies of scale.  Farmers are not growing the quantity, quality, and variety of potatoes markets require, which in turn has resulted in processors not being able to utilize their full capacity. Increasing demand for potatoes, particularly for processing, is currently met through imports, which have increased 30% year on year since 2001.

Supply is significant. Demand is growing. Yet, like too many other crops in Africa, one does not seem to match the other. What is to be done? Grow Africa recently engaged with Dalberg on this very question. In order to take advantage of opportunities in the value chain we found that:

In the short term, governments should support development of the seed and storage sub-sectors, and companies should invest there.

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