Category Archives: Distribution

Is a business inclusive if its doing business in rural Africa? Why modeling economic capacity matters

By | April 23, 2021

Whether a business thinks of itself as inclusive or not, it must consider the sustainability of revenue streams and their expected duration, prior to committing themselves to infrastructural investments in rural locations of the global South. Those that position themselves as inclusive businesses – regardless of size, must consider the value being created for their… Read More »

Coronavirus side-effect: Transformation of China’s business models, logistics, and service delivery

By | February 29, 2020

Just the way the SARs epidemic kicked off China’s e-commerce revolution back in 2003, the ongoing COVID-19 containment strategies maybe triggering an even larger transformation of the Chinese economic ecosystem. I went looking today for the earliest signals of what might be underway. Rural China is facing the biggest challenge right now as the spring… Read More »

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

By | December 17, 2018

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… Read More »

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

By | December 10, 2018

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… Read More »

Will the global trade war lead to more sustainable (and local) consumer products?

By | September 20, 2018

In a study titled “Competing In the Age of Multi-Localism”, ATKearney said mounting trade tariffs and other pressures have upended the global strategy – think mass-market production and achieving economies of scale – that has been a business hallmark since the early 1990s. “It’s no longer a viable strategy for many companies,” the study said.… Read More »

Designed in China, Made in Africa.

By | August 20, 2018

In Ethiopia, Transsion Holdings, a Chinese company, is manufacturing handsets costing as little as $10 in an industrial park outside Addis Ababa. Mobile phone models from Tecno, Infinix, and Itel brands, which all belong to Transsion, to be Made in Africa. Almost 13 years ago, in December of 2005, I wrote my first column for… Read More »

Mobile First Africa: Opportunity for Accessories that Boost Productivity on Smartphones

By | February 21, 2018

Long ago, when smart phones were still on their way to changing the world, I remember the product development of a host of accessories that would boost business productivity in a variety of areas for phone owners. The projector phone was one such innovation, flopping back when it was launched due to the tech not… Read More »

Lessons for development from the demand driven investment strategies of the informal sector

By | February 19, 2018

This shopkeeper in Laare, Kenya provided me with deep insight on how investments in expensive inventory are managed in a heavily cash based economy. He runs a consumer electronics store stocking everything from solar panels, music systems, spare parts and batteries, through to mobile phones and accessories. His purchasing decisions are based on visible consumer… Read More »

Leveraging Disability as Competitive Advantage: The Wheelchair Cargo Movers of Uganda

By | February 2, 2018

Only in Busia do wheelchair owners from all over Uganda congregate as it is to their economic advantage to do so. Documented, and observed were the handicapped professionals who crossed the border numerous times a day ferrying goods. In the past 25 years, the Busia tricyclists have created a strong community with initiative and resourcefulness… Read More »

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

By | December 23, 2016

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… Read More »