(CNN) - A groundbreaking new initiative is helping small business owners in Somalia link with donors through a mobile phone money transfer system.
E-Cash, a program backed by charity Oxfam, offers the convenience of avoiding long waits at money changers, and erases security issues that go with carrying cash in the street.
The initiative, which launched last year and already has 2,500 beneficiaries, targets vulnerable communities, such as women whose husbands have left them and who are breadwinners for their families, as well as disabled people.
(CNN) – In the impoverished and crime-ridden Mexico City suburb Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl, a pioneering education center is tutoring students through a mix of computer programs and teaching.
It is one of 70 learning and innovation hubs first established in 2009 which now have around 350,000 users, most of whom have never used a computer before. Mois Cherm, CEO of the company behind the project, ENOVA, who was been named Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the World Economic Forum, says that the aim of the centers is to harness technology in educating low-income citizens.
Mexico has the lowest education standards of any major country, a fact often blamed on teaching unions which have a huge power over hiring and regulation.
As well as providing computers, the company, which is for-profit, creates its own programs with a tech hub in Mexico City.
(CNN) - Egyptian scientists say they have developed the first insect repellent material in the region, which has the power to protect people from being bitten by any bug, including mosquitoes.
Mohamed Hashem and his team at the Egypt National Research Center developed the textile, which he says is infused with what a natural and environmentally friendly material. Hashem would not reveal the exact composition of the substance, but said that it had the power to kill insects that were exposed to it for prolonged periods.
Insect repellent materials already exist in the West, but this development will allow regional manufacturers to buy it for much less, and Hashem says there are plans for it to be used by the Egyptian armed forces.
Editor's note: Victor Basta is the MD of Magister Advisors, an M&A advisory firm to the technology industry. The firm has worked on 16 transactions since it was founded three years ago, including the sale of C3 to Apple for $250 million and LoveFILM's $320m exit to Amazon. Below is his view on Apple's future.
After last week’s earnings, it is even clearer that Apple is not the company you think it is. Its future value will not be as a hardware designer and innovator. It will more likely be as a great software and services business, underpinned by the everyday actions of the hundreds of millions of credit card-enabled users subscribed to the iTunes store. FULL POST
(CNN) –Opposition Leader Mohamed ElBaradei says the solution for Egypt's terrible shape is a political one, not a military one.
ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, tells CNN's John Defterios that Egypt must start political reconciliation to stop the social unrest and violence in the country.
The North African state needs support from the International Monetary Fund to "jump start" the economy, according to ElBaradei.
(CNN) – Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council, says the Iranian-Pakistan gas pipeline could be a strategy by Pakistan to align more closely with Iran.
The new pipe labeled the “peace pipeline” runs between south Iran to the Pakistan city of Multan.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari met on March 11 to mark the beginning of construction on the Pakistani side.
The U.S. says the pipeline could violate sanctions on Iran over the country’s nuclear program.
(CNN) – Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who died this week, built his support on a populist platform of sharing the country's oil wealth with the poor.
Yet Venezuela's economy, and the future of its oil industry, remains deeply vulnerable.
CNN's John Defterios talks with Fereidun Fesharaki, the chairman of FACTS Global Energy, who says the country's oil industry is in a "shambles." So what challenges a new leader face?
Hong Kong (CNN) – The United States may be on the cusp of the cheapest stimulus package its citizens can imagine - in the form of a free trade agreement with the European Union across the Atlantic Ocean, according to Karel de Gucht, the EU’s trade commissioner.
But Mexico's candidate for the top job at the World Trade Organization said a deal between the two could pose problems in Geneva.
“The challenge that is posed by the negotiations between the EU and the US is enormous,” said Herminio Blanco.
“We think it's a no-brainer that the United States and Europe should be in negotiations to have a comprehensive, ambitious agenda to not only lower tariffs…but also to deal with regulatory issues, to deal with services,” said Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce to CNN’s Richard Quest.
Responding to Quest’s challenge that such an endeavor could not be achieved in “our lifetime”, Brilliant said he is mistaken.
“I'll tell you why you're wrong about that. The United States needs jobs. We have an OK economy. We've seen a resurgence in manufacturing. We've seen a potential for a reduction of energy prices, right? But we need a global economic agenda.”
In a lively exchange best watched in the video here or above, Brilliant said the biggest impediments to US-EU success for a free trade agreement - already valued at $5 billion - is regulatory.
Hong Kong (CNN) - For Renault-Nissan, relativity may help manage expectations for a 2013 already predicted to end in the red.
“The (automobile) market in Europe continues to decline and the contraction is even bigger than what we have foreseen,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn to CNN’s Richard Quest.
“Even with this very bad start to the year… we’re going to go from a very bad market to a bad market. Instead of having an 8% decline, we’re going to probably see something like (a) 3% to 5% decline for the year.”
The Brazilian-born auto chief made the forecast at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show. The annual event opens to the public Thursday.
European governments can help automakers, Ghosn added, by bringing predictability to the economy and “eliminating uncertainty”.
“One of the reasons consumers are not buying cars or other goods is because they are uncertain about the future.”
As head of Japan’s Nissan Motor Company since 1999, Ghosn said he hopes the country’s new government of Shinzo Abe will bring the currency to a “historic level” of 110 to the dollar.
Since October 1, the yen has already risen nearly 20% and currently hovers near 93 yen to the dollar thanks to Abe's promises for a weaker yen, looser monetary policy and pledges of fiscal stimulus.
“Finally we have a government which has a vision and trying to do something about deflation (in) Japan.”
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