The best, scariest, most surprising, and most inspirational updates in inclusive business this month.   

#1: The (non) surprise update: Businesses are still ignoring the fact that women exist, losing money because of it

Report at mwomen.org
Glimpse into the lives of women at the base of the pyramid. Report at mwomen.org

Closing the “gender gap represented a $13 billion missed market opportunity for the mobile industry”, finds research from USAID, Aussie Aid, and the global communications industry. Their excellent piece of research does a lot to explore what women at the base of the pyramid actually look like as potential consumers.  Other insightful factoids from the report include:

·   “40% of women reported  that a disadvantage of owning a mobile was that  it allowed their family to “keep track” of them.”

·          “47% of mobile owners said they had  been taught to use their  handset by their  husbands, while 34% had taught themselves.”

·          “17% of ‘lapsed’ owners no  longer owned because  their previous handset  had been stolen.”

Together, these point to the link between empowering women economically and empowering them in the home. 

#2: The don’t-read-this-before-you-go-to-bed update: Catastrophic climate change is closer than you thought

World Bank on Climate Change, via Fast Company
World Bank on Climate Change, via Fast Company

This is the first time that I’ve been able to honestly describe an infographic as “terrifying”. Fast CoExist graphically demonstrates that global reserves of oil, gas and coal in the hands of companies, if used, would take us well beyond the safety threshold for climate change. 

The they also recently published a regional breakdown of how climate change will impact different parts of the globe, based on World Bank Data. Unsurprisingly, the global poor are the most effected, but the changes will vary largely:  for example, in Africa, decreased savannah will lead to reduce grazing land, whereas decrease in water availability in Pakistan and Nepal will lead to greater need for food imports. 

#3: Good sign update? Accenture brings food security to the mainstream

Accenture on Food Security
Accenture on Food Security

For all of the reports, videos and infographics detailing the food and water security risks headed our way over the next century, very few will make it into the hands of key private sector actors, which it is one reason why Accenture’s publication, “Food for Thought: Unlocking the Economic Potential of Sub-Saharan Africa by Addressing Food Security”  is so welcome.

The report  identifies “six interlinked forces—growing demand, low production levels, food price volatility, political stability, climate change and limited infrastructure” as key forces behind food security.  They also consider the full range of actors, noting that “Mining has a particularly significant impact on food security.” Finally, Accenture presents what they call the “food security value chain”, which may sound a bit gimmicky but certainty does a good job at summarizing the different pieces of the puzzle.

#4: The you-can-never-have-too-many-infographics update: Mapping Africa’s Mineral Wealth

Mapping Africa's Mineral Wealth
Mapping Africa’s Mineral Wealth

While the Accenture report above highlights mining as a high risk industry for food security, particularly in Africa, there is also the opposite argument that extractives can be a source of incredible wealth. This report by the Africa Resource Panel goes out of the way to emphasize that this is a possibility only if this resources are accessed safely and the revenues are handled transparency. The report notes that “Africa loses twice as much in illicit financial outflows as it receives in international aid.” All eyes remain on Ghana to see how democracy country will make use of its burgeoning oil and gold wealth. The report is filled with other jaw-dropping graphics, such as one which companies the revenue of companies like Shell with the GDPs of Nigeria and Angola. One guess as to which is bigger.

#5:  The dash-of-inspiration update: healthy housing and financial inclusion

TED on housing to end poverty
TED on housing to end poverty

Too often this field tends to focus more on detailing problems than on the solutions to them, to it is good to highlight success stories.

One of these came my way through a reliable source of inspiration: TED.  Paul Pholeros, an Australia-based researcher and activitist, spoke about how making simple but targeted changes in housing provision, particularly through providing working showers to families with young children, life-changing illness could be drastically reduced.  Sounds like a good return on investment to me.

Know of something that should be featured in next month’s roundup? Tweet me at @AlexaRoscoe.

 

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