Category Archives: ASEAN

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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Rural Household Financial Management on Irregular Incomes

While all farms are not alike, and scale and variety and geography differs, the pattern of household financial management holds its fundamental logic across continents. As we saw previously, an experienced farmer tends to fall somewhere in between a salaried employee and an odd job labourer in their ability to predict with any reasonable degree […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Livestock, Mama Biashara, Perspective, Philipines, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Savings, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 is the Year Mobile Service Operators Became Banks

South African business headlines read MTN takes on Vodacom for title of Africa’s biggest digital bank and usher in a whole new era for banking and finance on the mobile platform. Having watched this space impatiently for more than a decade, seeing this was a landmark worth noting. The number of mobile-money customers in the […]

Also posted in Africa, Airtime, Alternative currency, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Collection, Design, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Marchés africains, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Savings Groups : Observations on Economic Cooperation and Collaboration in Rural and Informal Conditions

Recently, I was interviewed on communal rural economic behaviour, particularly socially cooperative ones  such as informal savings and lending groups. The questions posed were: How has your opinion of savings group changed over time? Why in your opinion, are people in Africa and Latin America countries (developing countries) predisposed to forming savings groups? What is […]

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Financial Behaviour Patterns Observed Among Households in Rural Informal Economy in Asia

This is the original working paper of the research conducted on rural household financial management, in developing country conditions, pioneering the use of methods from human centered design for discovery, during Nov 2008 to March 2009, aka the Prepaid Economy Project. It was peer reviewed by Brett Hudson Matthews, and I have incorporated his comments into […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Airtime, Alternative currency, Analysis, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, global, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Livestock, Marchés africains, Marketing, Migrant worker, Mobile platform, Philipines, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Projects and Reports, Research, Retail in Africa, Risk, rural, Rural Economy, Savings, Scarcity, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seasonality as an element of contextual planning for emerging consumer markets

Growing up as a Hindu expat in multicultural ‘West Malaysia’ of the 1970s and 80s, it was a matter of course that every festival would be a big occasion. We had Christmas in December, and Chinese New Year soon after, to be followed by Hari Raya (Eid) and Deepawali – each of them deserving of […]

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Finally, the silver bullet of micro-finance can be buried in peace

Six years ago, in March 2009, after my return from The Philippines where I’d first conducted fieldwork using design ethnography methods to understand household financial management at the erstwhile Base of the Pyramid in a rural region, I had written: Another eye opener was hearing the story about a micro-finance loan for enabling local women […]

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China’s revival of ancient trading ties along the historic Silk Road

The South China Morning Post has a great infographic on a favourite topic of mine – the Great Silk Road. Some related posts: On the new Silk Route – Experiencing Africa’s informal trading network with China The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World

Also posted in China, Culture, Ecosystem, global, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

RIP Google BebaPay – Requiem for a cashless payment system

Less than a year after going live, Google is closing down the BebaPay smart card which was introduced as an NFC based cashless payment mechanism for Nairobi’s public transport. Last year, I’d analyzed the context and the operating environment in which they’d launched their service, on hearing the news that they’d been struggling to gain […]

Also posted in Africa, Alternative currency, Analysis, Assumption filter, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Emerging Markets, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Mobile platform, Perspective, Philipines, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Research, Strategy, Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment