Category Archives: Informal & Flexible

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 »

Less Technologically Advanced Societies are not necessarily backward or primitive: Assume at your own risk

By | December 26, 2019

This illustration by Jeroen Meijer of Jam Visueldenken of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, was created for our team during a workshop to capture the insights from a feasibility study on agritech we had completed for the Dutch government’s sustainable agricultural value chain development at Wageningen University’s Economic Research unit back in mid 2013. I’m pulling it… Read More »

The Perfect Storm: A Continent, A Phone, A Business Model

By | July 20, 2019

In the mid 1990s, in a small city in northern Finland, engineers and designers began work on the product development of a mobile phone that would eventually become one of the best selling Nokia models ever – the 3310, released in Europe and the Far East in the year 2000. The continent of Africa was… Read More »

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the Age of Interoperability

By | July 15, 2019

I have been writing on cross border mobile financial flows across the African continent since early 2015, when the partnerships and agreements made between African telcos to provide interoperability between their mobile money services first began to hit the headlines. In my last post back in August 2016, I asked if Cross Border Mobile Money… Read More »

New Market Opportunity: The Digitalisation of African Agriculture

By | July 12, 2019

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… Read More »

Mobile Money and the Informal Economy: A Paradigm Change

By | July 9, 2019

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 –… Read More »

Book Review: Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel

By | July 5, 2019

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… Read More »

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

By | March 9, 2019

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… Read More »