Category Archives: Expenses

Cashpower: prepaid electricity in Rwanda

Maarja Motus, an Estonian designer and my recent intern spent 3 weeks in Rwanda recently conducting some research on my behalf. Here’s an extract from her report on Cashpower, the Rwandese term for prepaid electricity. An electricity agent (Cashpower agent) next to Kigali market has 300 customers, only 10 of them buy for whole month […]

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Published! Pathways Out of Poverty by iBoPAsia Project

Innovating with the BoP in Southeast Asia. The iBoP Asia Project has published the complete set of small grants funding innovation projects for those at the Bottom of the Pyramid in the ASEAN region. One of the first projects to win the Small Grants competition in 2008 was The Prepaid Economy Project: Understanding BoP household […]

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“Kadogo” kerosene vs “Lumpsum” LPG: Trade-offs and cost/benefit analysis

Following a fascinating conversation with @bankelele and @majiwater on Twitter regarding the cost of kerosene, pay as you go models and relative benefits of each, I’ve been inspired to write this post exploring the topic further. Before I proceed, I’d like to take a moment to clarify what the “Prepaid” in the title of this […]

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The underlying principle of flexibility

The Economist writes about the proliferation of mobile money across the African continent, high lighting some aspects of its rapid adoption by the local population – 96% of whom are on prepaid or pay as you go mobile subscriptions.  A new survey of global financial habits by the Gates Foundation, the World Bank and Gallup […]

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Price cuts in the prepaid economy

Sunil Bharti Mittal recently referred to a pattern of consumer behaviour that came as a surprise to Airtel Africa, leading to a rethink of their near future pricing strategy for this market. The Indian telecom company told participants at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, that it was surprised to find that the […]

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Ever smaller and smaller: how household budgets deal with rising prices and inflation

It is only an eighth of a kilogramme packet of sugar, yet many Kenyans can barely afford it. This particular size of sugar has many references among residents of Nyanza Province, such as kobole, Kadogo and Sukari ndogo. In Kisian Village, Kisumu County, the packet is retailing at Sh28, the epitome of the ‘Kadogo economy’ […]

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Prepaid pricing plans and the financially savvy BoP buyer: A discussion

Rural grocery shop, South Africa January 2008 While putting together my post on demanding BoP customers today, I came across this snippet from an article titled "Getting to know the sophisticated prepaid user" from The Philippines (one of the field locations for the user research documented on this site). Its a quote attributed to the […]

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Coping Strategies as Food Prices Soar

Surging food prices are being widely reported in India this month. I’ve been asking female informants and neighbours at Dharavi how they are managing the pressure on household expenses.

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Synthesis of the Prepaid Economy Project

The impetus for the Prepaid Economy project came from field observations during other projects which focused on the design and development of products and services for those at the BoP. It was noted that the majority of the BoP lived on irregular incomes derived from a variety of sources, while few business models or payment […]

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Seasonality and its influence on rural BoP household financial management

Fallow field, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan India  January 2009 I first noticed the influence of seasonality on income halfway during the Indian fieldwork. On one hand, its but natural that the seasons are linked to a farmer's cash flow, dependent as it is on the harvest. But it was when I met the silversmith that I […]

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