By Alison Buckholtz
Additional reporting contributed by Savani Jayasooriya

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A driver navigates the streets of New Delhi with a cold chain pharmaceutical delivery from 1mg. Photo: Aditya Kapoor/JDot

As the COVID-19 vaccine cavalry readies itself for deployment, Delhi-based health tech entrepreneur Prashant Tandon is preparing for battle. Fighting the pandemic, he believes, depends on the organization, coordination, and delivery of an arsenal of health-related services and products. Getting the logistics right is critical not only to public health, he says — it’s a chance to prove that partnerships across industries, the private sector and government produce results for everyone.

When the virus first reached India and the government imposed a strict lockdown, Tandon’s company, the digital health platform 1mg


This article was originally published in The Strait Times on December 16th 2020

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Economic crises have a tendency to morph. After a crisis gets under way, its epicentre can shift and it can turn contagious in unpredictable ways, impacting areas previously presumed relatively safe.

For example, what starts as a domestic crisis can take on regional dimensions, affecting even healthy economies, as we saw in Asia in 1997, or go global, as happened after the United States subprime mortgage crisis of 2007–2008. Crises can also spread quickly from one sector to another and then engulf entire economies. …


In the face of adversity posed by the constantly evolving challenge of COVID-19, 2020 tested our collective resilience. IFC rose to this challenge and beyond in Asia and the Pacific.

As we wrap up an extraordinary year, we look back at creating an engaged private sector. Here’s our round up of the top 10 reads from the region.

A Tailored Solution to Support Small Business in Mongolia

Thousands of small enterprise owners like Bulgan Lkhagvatsend can access tailored solutions to sustain their operations in Mongolia through IFC’s innovative tugrik-currency financing to Transcapital.

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A New Financial Lifeline for Tongans

‘Ave Pa’anga Pau, a digital cashless voucher developed by Tonga Development Bank and IFC is helping Tongans…


Six Things to Know About Green Bonds

By Denise Odaro

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IFC Treasury rang the bell at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange in celebration of the tenth year anniversary of IFC’s Green Bond Program

Financial markets are seeing green these days, in more ways than one. Hardly any finance or technology conversations are being had without climate change featured in some manner. In this blog post, I have summarized the salient points on one of the most talked-about market products — green bonds.

What are green bonds?

A green bond, according to the Green Bond Principles (GBP), is any bond instrument that exclusively finances projects that contribute to environmental objectives. The GBP is a framework developed in 2014 by a group of banks, bond…


By Alison Buckholtz
With additional reporting by Anurika Azubuike, Moussoukoro Diop, and Devon Maylie

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Kobo360 driver Rashidi Foliu on a delivery job in Lagos. Technology from e-logistics companies like Kobo360 is key to unlocking intra-regional trade in Africa. Photo by Tom Saater/IFC

In the middle of the night, when Nigeria’s roads are dark and the late hour offers freedom from his constantly-chiming phone, Alli Jemil, a 34-year-old long-haul truck driver, feels the stress of the day lift.

“It’s so peaceful,” he said. “It’s the best time to be in my truck.”

He didn’t always feel that way. For many years, driving through Nigeria past sunset worried him because a flat tire or breakdown left him stranded until morning, when he could flag down a rescue crew. Late stretches…


By Henriette Kolb and William Sonneborn

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Few industries have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic more than the transport industry. Both the public and private sector, including ride-hailing, are looking for solutions that will ensure a sustainable future. To ensure a resilient recovery from the pandemic and the opportunity to thrive, it is essential for companies not only to create safe travel options, but also to attract customers who haven’t previously used tech-based transport.

A new International Finance Corporation (IFC) study conducted with the Sri Lankan ride-hailing company, PickMe, and IFC’s development partner, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and…


By Femi Akinrebiyo

Global Manager, Upstream — Manufacturing, Agribusiness & Services at IFC

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Image courtesy of Imperial

COVID-19 is placing increased pressure on already weak healthcare systems around the world, making poorer communities even more vulnerable. The private sector is stepping up to address this challenge with innovative solutions.

One example of this is South African-listed, integrated market access and logistics solution provider, Imperial. In high density, low-income areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, access to quality healthcare is limited. Residents often have to travel long distances to get basic screening for COVID-19 and for other health services. …


By Alla Morrison and Patrick Avato

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Getty Images

Few places on earth have been spared the scourge of COVID-19. But cities — with close living quarters, dense populations, health care centers, markets, train stations and airports — have borne the brunt of the crisis, with higher rates of infection and devastating public and private sector impacts. A recent UN study estimates that urban areas account for 90 percent of all reported COVID cases.

With costs rising due to the increased need for health services and social safety nets while revenues fall due to lower tax collection and reduced public transport use, cities…


By Philippe Le Houérou

This article was originally published on The Africa Report on 28 September, 2020.

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French robot Pepper, detecting whether people are wearing face masks and if not, instructs them to wear them, is displayed at French robotics developer SoftBank Robotics in Paris as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread out across France, September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Before Africa can reach the uplands of digitization — the robotics and the AI — it must first do the hard slog of reforming telecoms markets and opening up to competition, argues the outgoing head of the IFC.

In a COVID19-treatment facility in Rwanda, Akazuba, Ikizere and Ngabo are moving through the hallways relaying doctor’s messages and delivering blood samples.

The three health workers are not at risk of infection. They are robots. Meanwhile, Babyl, a chatbot, triages first medical problems and schedules…


By Philippe Le Houérou

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French poet Alfred de Musset famously said, “Il vaut mieux faire que dire” (Doing is better than saying).” I’ve always tried to live by those words, and they have served me especially well during my time as CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

When I joined IFC in March 2016, my objective was to push IFC deeper into poor and fragile countries, where we could leverage the strength of the private sector to create the economic growth and quality jobs that these countries so desperately need.

IFC has been putting this idea into action over…

IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

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