Scaling up rural supply chains to last-mile markets in developing countries is essential to solving the problem of extreme poverty. Distribution channels are the arteries of commerce; they enable emerging economies to grow and thrive.

For more than a decade, I held leadership roles at rural supply-chain companies in India, and I continue to keep a close eye on this field. And I have yet to see a distribution model that has achieved real commercial scale. Nor have I seen one that matches the...

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