Category Archives: Sub Saharan Africa

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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New Market Opportunity: The Digitalisation of African Agriculture

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 […]

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Mobile Money and the Informal Economy: A Paradigm Change

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 – […]

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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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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 Africa, 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, 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 Africa, 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, 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 […]

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Emergence of a decentralized digital economy? Snippets from Nigeria and Kenya

Continuing the conversation from the recent posts on app enabled demand redistribution as well as digital platforms being used by informal sector economic actors to boost their own productivity and efficiency, I thought to share snippets from these two recent articles I just came across, as cases in point. From Nigeria, West Africa: How WhatsApp […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Business, Business Models, Emerging Futures, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Nigeria, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Systems, Technology | 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 […]

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