Author Archives: Niti Bhan

New Market Opportunity: The Digitalisation of African Agriculture

Just over two weeks ago, I analyzed a report on the Digitalization of African Agriculture on twitter. Bandwidth heavy PDFs aren’t user friendly for mobile first or mobile only browsing environments, such as prevalent across much of the African continent, and ‘granulating’ reports is something I’ve gotten into the habit of doing quite regularly for […]

Posted in Africa, Airtime, Alternative currency, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Cattle, Design, Ecosystem, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Livestock, Mobile platform, Platforms, Report Review, Research, rural, Rural Economy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Money and the Informal Economy: A Paradigm Change

One of the most powerful pieces of data analysis I have come across recently has been the Banque de France’s working paper on the role of financial innovation in the informal economy. In my opinion, the importance of their conclusions are no less than the famous “price of fish” paper of a decade ago – […]

Posted in Africa, Airtime, Alternative currency, Analysis, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Cashless transactions, Economy, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Income, India, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Literature review, Loans, Mobile platform, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Savings, South Asia, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The results, two years on, from Kenya’s Movable Property Security Rights Act 2017

Movable property such as household goods, livestock and office equipment has helped add 183,487 loan accounts into the banking sector, a Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) report shows. […] “The loans that flow out of the banking system on the basis of assets in the register has been growing. This shows that the alternative collateral has […]

Posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Alternative currency, Banking, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Economy, Flexibility, Livestock, Loans, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Rural Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel

Although the book I’ll be reviewing today was first published in the year 2007, I only came upon it this year in a used bookstore. Raj Patel’s Stuffed and Starved lays bare the innards of the world’s food distribution systems and the market dominance of the megacorps in the business. The Guardian’s original review captures […]

Posted in Africa, ASEAN, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Book Reviews, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Futures, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Migrant worker, Perspective, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Retail in Africa, rural, Rural Economy, South Asia, Sub Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

My thoughts on the internet closures by various African governments

There have been a lot of internet shutdowns of late in many countries in Africa. These range from as little as simply blocking access to popular social media apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, all the way to shutting down the entire internet. What concerns me is the conflation of access to the internet with access […]

Posted in Africa, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Technology | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

Resurrecting the Perspective blog

A long time ago, sometime in the first couple of months of 2005, I was on the phone with Stu Constantine, the founder of Core77, wondering out loud about future prospects as I contemplated resigning from my position as Director, Graduate Admissions at the Institute of Design, IIT, Chicago. He advised me to start a […]

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Building the Bridge: Design methods for success in the informal economy

The above is a screen cap of my research plan submitted at the end of March 2019 as part of the doctoral admissions process. Everyone understands its only a working title for a yet to be defined problem statement, which is the purpose of doctoral studies as I see it from the user’s perspective. Both […]

Posted in Education, Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 […]

Posted in Education, Perspective | Tagged , | 2 Responses

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