Category Archives: Africa

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 […]

Also posted in 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 […]

Also posted in Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Technology | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

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 […]

Also posted in 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 […]

Also posted in 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 […]

Also posted in 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

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 […]

Also posted in Analysis, Assumption filter, Kenya, Perspective | 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 […]

Also posted in 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

Why the Potential of the African Consumer Market Cannot be Considered in Isolation from the Informal Economy

Top flight management consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, PwC et al have been taking a good long look at the emergent African Consumer Market for a number of years now. McKinsey, in fact, has just released a book on the theme, authored by their leading Africa experts. All of them acknowledge the existence of […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Analysis, Assumption filter, Biashara Economics, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consommateurs, Consumer Behaviour, Distribution, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Report Review, Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Africa’s Delivery On Demand Apps are Transforming the Informal Economy

When women in rural Rwanda can buy sanitary napkins and contraceptives, on demand, simply by pushing a few buttons on their phones, you know the digital informal economy is here to stay. And, its not just imported apps and social enterprises pushing this digital commercial activity. The “uberization” of the African informal economy is well […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consommateurs, Consumer Behaviour, Distribution, Ecosystem, Emerging Futures, Flexibility, Frameworks, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Mama Biashara, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, Value | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment