Tag Archives: manufacturing

While you were out: 15 years later

By | September 6, 2019

The locus of Industrial Design and Manufactured Product Development has shifted halfway across the world to Asia – South Korea, China, India, the ASEAN. Wherever there is manufacturing and industries, there will be the necessary critical mass of skills, experience, and knowledge for industrial design to flourish. In December 2004, I wrote an article for… Read More »

The Informal Industrial Ecosystem: An Introduction to REculture

By | September 10, 2018

This article introduces and explains some things I’ve been seeing in the informal industrial ecosystem in the developing world context for almost a decade now. First noticed in 2009, I then named it REculture, a neologism to capture the vast and complex ecosystem I saw in the revenue generating facility of recycle, replace, repurpose, reuse… Read More »

Designed in China, Made in Africa.

By | August 20, 2018

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… Read More »

What will it take for African-made clothing to become available for mass market?

By | September 9, 2016

When we talk about fabric in West Africa, there is no doubt that wax (also called ankara) is one of the first thing that comes to mind. Vlisco, the Dutch fashion textile brand, has been for long THE fabric par excellence bringing prestige and elegance to those who wear it. As 2016 marks the 170th… Read More »

Economic ecosystems tie the fortunes of informal sector to health of formal business

By | December 16, 2015

The story of Ghana’s “pillow city”, Juapong – a small town in the North Tongu District in the Volta region, offers us insight on the inter-relationship between formal industries and the ecosystem of informal businesses that spring up around them. Juapong is said to be losing its identity as the pillow capital of Ghana. A… Read More »

Book Review: Adventures in Stationery by James Ward

By | August 17, 2015

I read this book in one sitting yesterday. Now I’m here writing on it. Any adult who’s furtively indulged in scented erasers, colourful gel pens or handmade paper, to be shoved secretly down the lowermost drawer in the desk will love this book. Pens and pencils, paperclips and pushpins. James Ward lovingly describes them all,… Read More »

African consumer market insight from Chinese flip flop manufacturer in Tanzania

By | February 25, 2015

This recent interview of the Chinese owner of a flip flop factory based in Tanzania offers some interesting insights into the mindset of the East African consumer. Trade in commodities has been the dominant feature of China-Africa relations over the past 20 years, but many traders, particularly those who arrived in Africa early, are now… Read More »

Brazilian machinery taking the lead in East Africa

By | January 29, 2012

Dominic Wanjihia showed us this chaff cutter made in Brazil he’d picked up for 35,000 Kenyan Shillings (around USD400 or thereabouts). He’s using it to test and run his biogas generators at his workshop. Brazil? Not Indian or Chinese? What about the jua kali makers, don’t they make one far cheaper? Brazil, he said. They’ve… Read More »