Forty percent of the world's population lives on less than $2 per day, according to the World Bank. Yet even in the midst of the current economic meltdown, there is reason for new optimism in the fight to reduce global poverty. The optimism starts with the evolution of microfinance, which has proved not only that the poor are credit-worthy, but that banking institutions serving the poor are investment-worthy. In addition, microfinance is tapping into a technological revolution that enables areas with deficient land phone service to leapfrog ahead to cellphones and broadband. And, as this takes place, both philanthropy and capital markets are paying careful attention.