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Grameen gets new tech center director, partners with Microsoft
Posted by Kristi Heim
The Grameen Foundation today named David Edelstein as the new director of its Seattle-based Grameen Technology Center.
Edelstein had been the director of information and communication technology innovation at the center, and like his predecessor, also has experience at Microsoft.
The Grameen Foundation and Microsoft are getting ready to announce a new initiative this week to use technology in support of financial services for the poor.
The two are planning a series of education and mentoring forums and other activities to help microfinance institutions strengthen their technology management capabilities. It's part of an effort by Grameen to help microfinance institutions understand how technology can enhance their work.
One of the signature products of Grameen is the Village Phone, which local entrepreneurs rent to villagers for pennies a call.
Grameen also has a partnership with Google in Africa for its AppLab, using mobile phones to help people in poor communities without Internet access get information about farming, health and trading by SMS.
Mobile phones, which are becoming commonplace in many developing countries, have proven to have a number of promising applications, including mobile banking and medical diagnostics. The M-PESA system in Kenya, developed to help borrowers receive and repay money for micro loans, now has more than 6 million subscribers.
Edelstein's experience includes helping build AppLab and focusing on affordable technology products and business strategies for people in developing countries at Microsoft and at McKinsey & Co.
He replaces Peter Bladin, founding director of the Technology Center who is now the foundation's executive vice president for programs and regions.
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