Private Utilities and Poverty Alleviation
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Private Utilities and Poverty Alleviation

Market Initiatives at the Base of the Pyramid

Edited by Patricia Márquez and Carlos Rufín

Drawing on cases from electricity distribution and other infrastructure industries, and from experiences spanning Asia, Africa and Latin America, this book examines new business models to bring basic utility services to the four billion people comprising the base of the socio-economic pyramid.
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Chapter 11: Conclusions: Providing Utilities to the Poor

Patricia Márquez and Carlos Rufín


Patricia Márquez and Carlos Rufín The overall message of this book is that effective provision of basic services to the impoverished masses worldwide is happening through novel business thinking, including creative use of technology and human resources, as well as new sets of relationships with both traditional and non-traditional actors. Regardless of motivations and strategies, businesses, civil society organizations and governments in various regions are enthusiastically embracing the pursuit of fresh models for solving the problem of insufficient access to basic services among the poor. More and more, all these organizations operating in the utility sector are coming to realize the economic and social potential of engaging the socio-economic base of the pyramid (BOP) in radically different ways from the past. On their part, there is a willingness to rethink themselves, to experiment and to co-create, where closer attention is paid to the needs of those at the BOP, while seeking to integrate them in commercial ventures as savvy consumers or entrepreneurs. The experiences analyzed in this book might have high levels of social enterprise in their development. However, it is clear that these are marketdriven initiatives. Economic feasibility is essential to sustain service provision. The contributors shed light on what is required to generate economic and social value for different types of utility services and in various regions and contexts. A key aspect is their insistence that value creation has to be evident not only to the firm. Value has to be clearly perceived by the BOP....

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