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Helping Caribbean Entrepreneurs Get Down to Business

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

There’s plenty to love about Jamaica: the weather, the food, the music, the gorgeous beaches and mountains. But there’s one area where, according to one study at least, Jamaica is lagging behind: information technology.

This shouldn’t necessarily surprise. While some Latin American countries, especially Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, are seeing significant economic and IT growth, investment in the Caribbean is growing much more slowly.

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Empowering Women, One SMS at a Time

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist.

What’s the best way to accelerate economic development in the developing world? One answer is to do more to empower women. According to a 2012 World Bank report, women now make up 40 percent of the global labor force, but face major gaps in education, access to technology and economic opportunity compared to men. World Bank analysts estimate that closing those gaps could make a big difference, increasing labor productivity by as much as 25 percent in some countries.

There are many strategies for empowering women in developing countries, but one of the most practical is to provide more access to education, especially for women business-owners. Educational content provider ChangeCorp is dedicated to doing just that by capitalizing on growing access to mobile phones. I spoke with ChangeCorp’s CEO, Louise M. Guido, about some of the company’s efforts. Read More »

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Urban Renewal: A Tale of Two American Cities

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

For those who love irony, the story of Detroit is its epitome. Here’s a city that created an industry devoted to automobiles, which, because of their widespread acceptance, become the single greatest contributing factor to people leaving cities … like Detroit.

Granted, Detroit has had to deal with other contributing factors, but the fact remains that its population is a shadow of what it once was; over the past 60 years, its population has shrunk from 1.8 million to just over 700,000.

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How Community Technology Centers are Aiding the Recovery in Haiti

Angeline, 12, works in the computer lab at the Thomas Food Project in Thomas, Haiti.

Angeline, 12, works in the computer lab at the Thomas Food Project in Thomas, Haiti. She said she wants to be able to write and research because there are a lot of things she wants to know.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting  Neelley Hicks of United Methodist Communications. I was looking for people who work at the intersection of technology and education in developing regions. Her energy, compassion and dedication to this work is quite inspiring. As it turns out, the UMC team was  in Haiti this week and I wanted to provide a brief update of their trip.

The team arrived on Monday and traveled to Thomas, LeVegue, Mizak and Petit Goave through the week. Their objectives were to assess and report on how new technology is changing lives. This is an anniversary trip where they will check in on last year’s programs, and start new ones. The team posted a great summary of this week’s work on their website.

“These centers give people who are otherwise off-the-grid access to information through the Internet that can help them live more productive and economically viable lives,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “This is a key tool for the church to use for human empowerment.”

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Jordan’s Entrepreneurship Revolution

By Adele Waugaman, Guest Columnist

In Jordan a revolution is brewing, but unlike in neighboring countries being reshaped by the Arab Spring, this revolution has the support of the King.

A culture of entrepreneurship, fueled by a boom in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, is quietly transforming the country by creating new businesses and jobs.

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