Poverty reduction winners

Three South African project proposals for poverty reduction were among the winners of a World Bank Development Marketplace (DM) innovation competition, the Bank said in a news release this week.

The three South African groups that entered are among 34 winners who will share approximately US $4 million in start-up funds to transform their ideas into reality.

The projects included a US $190,874 initiative by the International Institute for Energy Conservation. The project aims to use a new energy-efficient Dutch brick-making machine to enable small and medium local businesses to use local materials and labour to build low-cost housing, promoting both entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation.

A major constraint to affordable housing in South Africa is the cost of traditional building materials, which can constitute up to 80 percent of housing costs. The Housing and Jobs for a Better Future project aims to mainstream an innovative brick-making machine that makes cheaper bricks using earth at the same quality, the release said.

South Deep Mine presented a US $200,000 HIV/AIDS prevention programme providing homebased care and counselling. The World Bank said the project stood to benefit tens of thousands of families, especially women.

The third project, BuySouthAfricaonline presented by Triple Trust Investments, aims to provide small South African businesses with access to global markets through a low-cost export system.

Market exposure of small producers in South Africa is limited to local customers because of the costs and infrastructure needed to handle overseas orders. The US $1.3 million BuySouthAfricaOnline is a proposed service by a group of NGOs and businesses to offer a total export access system that uses the latest technologies to enable even the smallest emerging business to sell directly to customers worldwide.

More information about the Development Marketplace at
www.developmentmarketplace.org