Lighting up Africa

In the Bugesera region of Rwanda — a land known for its sorghum farming and also its poverty — an experiment in capitalism is taking place. For lighting, most villagers here use kerosene lamps, which cause air pollution and lung disease and are a severe fire hazard. Annonciata Mukandekwe, a 50-year-old basket weaver, has a better idea. She spends an hour a day pedaling a small generator that charges LED lights. In her first two weeks in business, this widow sold 140 of the $6.58 lamps to her fellow villagers. Mukandekwe earns $3.78 a day in charging fees — more than triple the daily income in rural Rwanda. Her customers get safe, clean lighting at one-tenth the cost of kerosene.

Deficit hawks score points at G-20

Leaders of the world’s most important economies agreed to ambitious targets for getting deficits under control, pledging to cut them in half by 2013, according to a statement made following the G-20 summit this weekend in Toronto.

What the U.S. can learn from Canada at the G20

Toronto’s downtown core has already been locked down at a cost of nearly $1 billion for this weekend’s G8 and G20 summits, tightly scripted events that give face time to power brokers such as President Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. But while the streets resemble a northern version of Gitmo, the mood away from the chain link fences and security barriers has perhaps never been more ebullient.