What difference can $750 million make in our brave-new-billion-dollar-denominated world? We're going to find out. Ten days ago at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) announced the creation of a new $750M fund, backed by a network of entrepreneurial service providers, designed to support potentially high-growth enterprises in developing countries.
The promise? Everyone believes that there is real money to be made in, say, China and India--even while advancing human development. But what about a company started in sub-Saharan Africa, serving Africans, for example? Can such an enterprise ever prosper? One anwer is to check out the story of CelTel, a mobile communications company created by Mo Ibrahim in 1998 and sold to Kuwait's MTC in 2005 for $3.5 billion. Real profits, real change. Ubiquitous cellphone usage then creates on infrastructure on which to build a new generation of applications to advance development.