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So that's where they come from!

The man seated next to me my first time at Tomsed was composing a message by the hunt and peck method. He pressed one letter on the keyboard, searched for the next, pressed that one, and so on. It was his one-fingered technique that attracted my attention, but when my eye alighted- not entirely accidentally- on his text, I caught my breath. The man was composing a 419 letter. A real-live scam artist sitting next to me.

Outcomes: the small business newsletter

The winter edition of Outcomes is out. This quarterly IFC newsletter focuses on business news, trends and results from emerging economies. This issue profiles reducing municipal red tape in Bolivia, and a partner profile of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Business skills for social ills

Enter the 'Moneymaker' irrigation pump - a small, foot-operated pump tailor-made to the requirements of Kenyan farmers. Soil that once took a whole day to irrigate, now takes one hour. The popular pump has now been used by over 32,000 east African farmers.

The BBC are plugging a new TV series on another channel! It's called 'The New Heroes'.

Anti-malaria wristwatch

A South African inventor has developed an anti-malaria wristwatch to help combat one of Africa's biggest killers by monitoring the blood of those who wear it and sounding an alarm when the parasite is detected…If the parasite count tops 50 an alarm sounds and a brightly-colored picture of a mosquito flashes on the watch face. The wearer must take three tablets that kill all traces of the disease within 48 hours.

Vaccines and credibility

Good to see the wise fellows at EconLog and Vaccines for Development drawing inspiration from, well, me. Here's what worries all of us: that truly valuable medical advances, especially those with emergency uses, will not be appealing investments for private sector firms because they are afraid that governments will refuse to respect the patent (it looks like 'price gouging').

Microcredit Q&A

Alex Counts, founder and president of Grameen USA, Evelyn Stark, USAID Microenterprise Development advisor, and Sam Daley-Harris, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, where all recently on the excellent DC-based Kojo Nnamdi show. 50+ minutes of Q&A.

Announcement: Africa PSD event

This Thursday at 12:30 the WB’s Africa Department will be hosting a discussion on ‘The Challenges of the Private Sector, Finance and Human Development in Africa.’ The main speaker will be Nkosana Moyo, managing partner of ACTIS, and the session will be chaired by Yaw Ansu, World Bank sector director for Human Development in Africa. For more information, or if you would like to attend, please contact Nana Konadu Afram-M’Bow, 202-473-3352.