Category Archives: Business

Formalization is no panacea for micro-entrepreneurs, a liminal space is necessary for growth

Yesterday, my bank sent back a client’s payment though I’d presented the invoice and other paperwork. I’m a registered micro-business in the highly formal economy of Finland, and the bank I’ve been with since 2009 has upped their internal regulations after a spate of bad publicity surrounding the Panama papers. I’ve been caught in the […]

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Driving Emerging Future in Africa

We’ve been silent of late on this blog due to work deadlines and end of the year paperwork, however this will change. I’ve promised to write one blog post every day – even if its a few lines – for the next 30 days. I realized it was habit and discipline that was missing, not […]

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How the African movable assets bill can unleash innovation opportunities for the rural economy

As Kenya joins Zambia and Zimbabwe in ratifying a Movable Property Security Rights Act, there’s a sense that the floodgates to innovation in access to finance might be taking place in rural Africa, south of the Sahara and north of South Africa. Kenya’s law also goes beyond the cows and goats and allows a borrower […]

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Launching Our Digital Documentation Project: Ibadan’s Tailors, Traders, and Textiles by Nigerian/British artist Folake Shoga

After months of hard work, I am very honoured and proud to announced our new digital documentation project by my friend Folake Shoga, a Nigerian/British multidisciplinary artist with more than three decades of experience. She went on a journey of discovery through the twists and turns of the informal value web that holds together West […]

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An Africa Expert on Beneficiaries maybe the wrong Expert on Customers and Consumers

As the African markets increase in opportunity and visibility, the corresponding increase in need for experienced personnel is also felt. Many consumer facing companies hire “old Africa hands”, often former employees of various nonprofits and their projects. The assumption is that knowledge and experience among “poor” Africans implies knowledge and experience of African consumers and […]

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Top 3 Assumptions About the African Consumer Market

Claims have been made about the Great African Market Opportunity – in retail, in real estate, in banking, and packaged consumer goods – that drive investment decisions and marketing strategies. Yet, reality has been less opportunistic than imagined – Nestle’s struggles in Kenya back in 2015 are one such example. Here are the top 3 […]

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Implicit Assumptions commonly held about Informal Markets

“Informal Economy” always means illegal, shadowy, gray. High volume of low value cash transactions imply poverty, ignorance, lack of sophisticated money management. Operating with a lack of infrastructure and institutions implies ignorance, lack of ambitions and aspirations, and motivation. Lack of cash implies lack of purchasing power – particularly in rural settings. Lack of formal […]

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Mirror-Mirror, Who am I? The rise of African doll brands that empower Black girls

During the past few years, people of color all over the world have started challenging their absence in a positive light in the media, entertainment, books and toys. Black people, and Africans more specifically, feel invisible or highly under represented. The lack of visibility has severe effects on image, self esteem and success. Experts say […]

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The East African Community is a hidden gem

Even as headlines shriek about “Africa”s economy undergoing some form of turmoil or the other, increasingly, indepth focused reports point out that the East African Community is performing exceedingly well. “Africa”, it turns out, is a vast and diverse continent made up of more than 50 countries. The IMF said: …the multi-speed growth in the […]

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What will it take for African-made clothing to become available for mass market?

When we talk about fabric in West Africa, there is no doubt that wax (also called ankara) is one of the first thing that comes to mind. Vlisco, the Dutch fashion textile brand, has been for long THE fabric par excellence bringing prestige and elegance to those who wear it. As 2016 marks the 170th […]

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