Category Archives: Technology

Designed in China, Made in Africa.

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 […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Biashara Economics, China, Design, Distribution, Emerging Futures, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

One (last) word: Plastics

A UN report issued on World Environment day  showed dozens of nations acting to cut plastic, including a ban on plastic bags in Kenya, on styrofoam in Sri Lanka and the use of biodegradable bags in China. via There’s a backlash against plastics that is ongoing in many not so noticed parts of the world […]

Also posted in Analysis, Business Models, China, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Design, Emerging Futures, global, India, Innovation Planning, Risk, Strategy, Systems | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The comparative global impact of Alibaba vs. Amazon

Alibaba Business School and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) brought 29 young entrepreneurs from 11 countries across Africa to the Alibaba campus in Hangzhou, China for the third eFounders Fellowship cohort. Chinese corporate soft power influence is production driven, not consumption focused. Alibaba, the e-commerce giant with digital payment tentacles, has […]

Also posted in Africa, Business Models, China, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ecodesign, Ecolabels and the Environment: How Europe is redesigning our footprint on earth

What do chopped fresh green beans have in common with high definition flat screen TV’s? And how does this relate to design? In Europe, they’re both considered consumer products whose journey from raw material to shopwindow requires energy to process—emitting greenhouse gases that can have an adverse impact on the environment—and are considered to possess […]

Also posted in Articles on Design and Innovation, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Design, global, Innovation Planning, Marketing, Perspective, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Research, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Primer on African Fintech: Myths, Misconceptions, Opportunities, Hotspots and Roadblocks

As we prepare to start work for our third African fintech client, I thought it was time to quickly and briefly introduce the opportunity space and clear up some misunderstandings around fintech in Africa. The first point is the common confusion between Fintech and financial inclusion. Investopedia’s definition of Fintech says financial inclusion, that is, […]

Also posted in Africa, Afrique francophone, Airtime, Alternative currency, Banking, Biashara Economics, Cashless transactions, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Kenya, Mobile platform, Nigeria, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Sub Saharan Africa, UEMOA | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Implications of Mobile Money Interoperability in Kenya?

Mobile money pioneer Kenya, has finally gone live this month with account to account interoperability between mobile money services. Neighbouring Tanzania pioneered interoperability between the mobile money services offered by local telcos with a soft launch back in 2014. Fears of cannibalization and zero sum scenarios were unfounded, as documented in an early evaluation report […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Airtime, Alternative currency, Biashara Economics, Cashless transactions, East African Community, Kenya, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Strategy, Tanzania | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

West Africa’s incipient mobile platform boom will transform the ECOWAS economy

While East Africa has tended to grab the headlines as the mover and shaker in mobile platform innovation, there’s an imminent boom due to emerge in West Africa. The GSMA’s most recent report on the West African mobile ecosystem contains all the signals of this happening within the next 3 or so years. Even in […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Afrique francophone, Biashara Economics, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consommateurs, Consumer Behaviour, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Ghana, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Marketing, Migrant worker, Mobile platform, Nigeria, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Report Review, Senegal, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technologie, UEMOA | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is the Kenyan mobile loan industry facing just a digital version of India’s MFI problems?

When you make fast, easy, short term loans available on the phone to anyone with a need for quick money, why is it a surprise when high levels of consumer debt are the result? A recent survey by financial inclusion giants like FSD and CGAP discovers that low income Kenyans have not been helped by […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Kenya, Loans, Mobile platform, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

Disrupting Predictions: How Stereotypes Distort Expectations

This chart embodies some stereotypical thinking regarding the high growth opportunities now available in low income and lower middle income countries. Its from the just released World Development Report 2019’s concept note on the theme “The Changing Nature of Work”. Where the cognitive dissonance lies is in the accompanying text which highlights the transformational capacity […]

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Connectivity, Communication, and Commerce: The 3 Cs of Africa’s Smartphone Led Future

Recent headlines touted the decline in marketshare being seen by smartphones on the African continent, and the concurrent increase in sales of basic devices. Yet a closer look shows that this shift might only be numerical due to the opening of new markets in heavily populated DR Congo and Ethiopia – first time buyers are […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Airtime, Analysis, Assumption filter, Business, Business Models, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consumer Behaviour, Emerging Markets, Informal & Flexible, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment