Washington, D.C., October 10, 2012—Leadership,
local knowledge, and financial sustainability are key components in creating
opportunity at the base of the economic pyramid, according to a new report
by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
Launched today, Being the Change:
Inspiring the Next Generation of Inclusive Business Entrepreneurs Impacting
the Base of the Pyramid highlights the personal stories of the leaders
of some of IFC’s inclusive business clients. These clients have developed
innovative and successful business models that expand access to goods,
services, and livelihoods for poor people, while generating strong financial
“By bringing low-income producers and consumers into their supply chains,
these companies are pioneers,” said IFC Vice President, Business Advisory
Services Nena Stoiljkovic. “Creating inclusive business models in developing
economies is a top priority for IFC, and critical in building prosperity.”
Based on interviews with 14 founders
and CEOs of IFC client companies, including Mitchell Elegbe of Interswitch
Ltd. in Nigeria, the report identifies a number of lessons on inclusive
business, including the need to balance short-term returns with long-term
goals and the importance of knowledge of local conditions, needs, and capabilities.
The stories also reflect the overarching optimism these leaders share about
the future of inclusive business.
Since 2005, IFC has invested over $7 billion in more than 300 companies
that focus on inclusive business models in over 80 countries, reaching
250 million people. IFC aims to increase the number of financially sustainable,
inclusive business models operating at scale to help address the issue
of access to goods, services, and livelihoods for billions of low-income
For more information about inclusive
business at IFC, including the report, previous publications, and case
studies, visit www.ifc.org/inclusivebusiness.
About Interswitch Ltd.
Interswitch is a payment processing
company that improves the lives of Nigerians living at the base of the
pyramid by offering a method for people to make transactions using pre-paid
cards or mobile money. In 2011, Interswitch had 15,300 direct and indirect
BOP customers. Interswitch helps underbanked customers access and transfer
money easily by offering the Verve, a pre-funded card that can be funded
through mobile phones, via the Internet, or at ATMs, point-of-sale terminals,
and bank branches. The money is available instantly to the recipient and
can be withdrawn at an ATM. Parents use the Verve to send money to their
children in college, conglomerates use it to pay casual workers, and people
across Nigeria use it to send money to loved ones in rural areas.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing
countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing
capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services
to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time
high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector
to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing
development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.