Category Archives: Perspective

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the Age of Interoperability

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 […]

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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 […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Alternative currency, Banking, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Economy, Flexibility, Livestock, Loans, 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 […]

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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 Africa, Mobile platform, 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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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