Author Archives: Niti Bhan

I have been granted right to study at Doctoral level by Aalto University School of Engineering

That is a friend’s restored vintage Porsche I’m standing in front of, on the day I heard about my admission to the PhD programme in Aalto University. I’m officially admitted to the department of mechanical engineering, or konetekniikka as its known in suomi. In the Finnish system, I was admitted as an enrolled student as […]

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Informal 4.0: How Tech Savvy Africans Are Transforming the Informal Economy

Here are my slides. In PDF form. And the video of the panel discussion.

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Kenya’s informal economy clambering on to the information highway through their smartphones

Sometimes cliches are the only way to communicate the sheer breadth and depth of the transformation now undergoing in the informal sectors, such as trade and light manufacturing, thanks to affordable smartphones and data bundles. I began calling it digital and not online yesterday when we discovered many people didn’t recognize the word “online” in […]

Posted in Africa, Airtime, Biashara Economics, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consumer Behaviour, Emerging Futures, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, jua kali, Kenya, Mama Biashara, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The role of the grey market in Africa’s mobile telephony boom years

The grey market refers to goods which have been manufactured by or with the consent of the brand owner, but are sold outside of the brand owner’s approved distribution channels – which can be perfectly legal. (1) In Africa’s teeming business districts and electronics mega markets, the concept of grey market products underwent an evolution […]

Posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Afrique francophone, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, perfect storm, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Retail in Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Phones and the Informal Economy

Over the past week or so, I’ve been scanning literature from African researchers on the broad theme of mobile phones and the informal economy. Here are some of my top findings: The Mobile Phone is a Business Tool and Income Generator – Regardless of the region (and cultural context) of study –  Cameroon or Cote […]

Posted in Africa, Airtime, Banking, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Ecosystem, Flexibility, Income, Literature review, Mobile platform, perfect storm, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I stand on the shoulders of giants

On the first day of 2019, instead of looking back over just the past 12 months, I am going to look back ten years. There’s an African proverb which says if you don’t know where you’re coming from, then you don’t know where you’re going. The photograph above was taken towards the end of 2009, […]

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Tips on managing African fake news articles and websites

Today, I was faced with the challenge of having to choose between two conflicting quotes attributed to the same spokesperson, during the same press conference. Attempting to uncover an authoritative source for the content in order to discern which of the two was authentic led me down a rabbit hole of fake news sites allegedly […]

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Emergence of a decentralized digital economy? Snippets from Nigeria and Kenya

Continuing the conversation from the recent posts on app enabled demand redistribution as well as digital platforms being used by informal sector economic actors to boost their own productivity and efficiency, I thought to share snippets from these two recent articles I just came across, as cases in point. From Nigeria, West Africa: How WhatsApp […]

Posted in African Consumer Market, Business, Business Models, Emerging Futures, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Nigeria, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from African Fintech for the Gig Economy

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to share my research on the past decade of mobile ecosystem development across the African continent with Dr. Antti Saarnio, founder of Zippie; co-founder of Jolla (developers of the Sailfish OS, among other things). “We want to test our product first and foremost in Africa because there is […]

Posted in Africa, Airtime, Alternative currency, Analysis, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consumer Behaviour, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Futures, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, Income, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Loans, Mobile platform, Perspective, Philipines, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response