Tag Archives: informal markets

Voices from the Pacific: Mirroring the Challenges of Informal Market Women Everywhere

By | November 1, 2017

ABOUT 80 per cent of all market vendors in the Pacific are women, and these earnings make up a significant portion of incomes of many poor households. In spite of their contribution to the local economy and to markets, women are often excluded from market governance and decision-making. ~ The Fiji Times Following up from… Read More »

Retail ranking metrics vs Readiness for formal retail #AfricanConsumerMarket

By | September 24, 2015

Continuing the thoughts expressed by Yacine in the previous post, I’d like to explore these rankings and their value. We’ll use the example of Tanzania, ranked 5th by AT Kearney in their 2015 African Retail Attractiveness Index (ARDI). The ARDI states: Tanzania is starting from a low base: With only 30 percent urbanization, high poverty… Read More »

Last mile of achieving cashless

By | May 24, 2015

Last weekend I was walking around Kallio district in Helsinki, when I saw these handwritten signs informing passers-by that mobile payments were accepted here. It was an unstructured neighbourhood flea market where people put their own unwanted stuff out for sale. This is the last mile of cashless transactions in Finland. This recent news article… Read More »

Meeting the challenge of consumer demand

By | April 30, 2015

Understanding consumer demand is an inherent part of the informal trader’s expertise. In the cash economy, unsold inventory is sunk cost. The balance between risk and return is a constant juggling, interwoven with the need for incoming cash flow to meet outgoing expenses. This tabletop – informal retail – caught my attention for its unexpected… Read More »

Introducing Mama Biashara

By | April 29, 2015

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) released a women’s report with some eye opening figures. Simply put, African women lead the world in being their own boss. Mama Biashara’s business activities may perhaps be more driven by livelihood need and few alternatives but she’s not sitting around looking for a handout either. Pillar of the informal… Read More »

‘Mpesa si pesa’ – mobile money’s collision with informal sector’s cash culture

By | April 27, 2015

Ever since mobile money (MM) came along, ‘cashless’ is all the rage in East Africa. Money experts have a sack-full of reasons why mobile money is good for the economy. The truth is, however, making a case for MM is easy – no doubt, but, one perspective that is often left out in almost all… Read More »

The true size of opportunity in Africa

By | March 9, 2015

The Africapitalist Foundation’s most recent issue of their Africapitalist Magazine has a cover story on the true size of opportunity in Africa. Readers familiar with my exploratory user research and insights from the prepaid economy and the informal sector will recognize the key point being made – that we must look beyond the obvious when… Read More »

Importance and value of Africa’s informal food markets

By | March 3, 2015

There’s a new book released by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners — Food Safety and Informal Markets: Animal Products in Sub-Saharan Africa—that probes the complicated world of traditional or ‘informal’ markets in livestock products. Here are some unexpectedly juicy findings: Research by ILRI and partners shows that in most developing countries, more… Read More »

Informal trade is big business in Africa

By | January 15, 2015

On my way to Nairobi  from Singapore a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to observe first hand the phenomenon of informal trade between China and the African continent. The energy and excitement of the traders, laden with goods on their way back, was a palpable part of the inflight experience. Today, I… Read More »

More or Less: the flexibility of the informal

By | July 27, 2013

One of the things that stood out for me during the recent household consumer behaviour study was the lack of weights and measurements used to sell foodstuffs and commodities in the market. There were no weighing scales at all, unless they themselves were for sale. Instead, some form of “socially accepted” measure was used to… Read More »