Category Archives: jua kali

Kenya’s informal economy clambering on to the information highway through their smartphones

Sometimes cliches are the only way to communicate the sheer breadth and depth of the transformation now undergoing in the informal sectors, such as trade and light manufacturing, thanks to affordable smartphones and data bundles. I began calling it digital and not online yesterday when we discovered many people didn’t recognize the word “online” in […]

Also posted in Africa, Airtime, Biashara Economics, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consumer Behaviour, Emerging Futures, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Mama Biashara, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Resilience of Innovation under Conditions of Scarcity

Innovating beyond the traditional tin lantern – a simple wick attached to the can – Kouassi Bafounga cuts shapes from tin cans and fixes them together with glass, string and a little petrol to produce storm-proof lanterns. Last year, Bafounga was one of 11 winners in a “Fab Lab” innovation competition run by the French […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Consommateurs, Design, Frugality, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Household energy consumption behaviour in East Africa: Lighting & Conclusion (3 of 3 Parts)

  The following is extracted from a six month study during 2012 on household energy consumption behaviour in rural Kenya and Rwanda among the lower income demographic, that led to an understanding of some of barriers hampering the sales of client’s solar products in this market. This 3rd and final part will focus on fuel […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Frugality, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Marchés africains, Marketing, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Retail in Africa, Rural Economy, Scarcity, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Household energy consumption behavioural study in East Africa: Cooking (Part 2 of 3)

The following is extracted from a six month study during 2012 on household energy consumption behaviour in rural Kenya and Rwanda among the lower income demographic, that led to an understanding of some of barriers hampering the sales of client’s solar products in this market. This 2nd part will focus on fuel usage and consumption […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Design, Expenses, Frugality, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Mama Biashara, Marchés africains, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), rural, Rural Economy, Scarcity, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Introduction to rural household energy consumption behaviour in East Africa (1 of 3 parts)

The following is extracted from a six month study during 2012 on household energy consumption behaviour in rural Kenya and Rwanda among the lower income demographic, that led to an understanding of some of barriers hampering the sales of client’s solar products in this market. This first part is an overview of household financial management […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Design, East African Community, Frugality, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Projects and Reports, Research, Retail in Africa, rural, Rural Economy, Scarcity, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology, UCSD, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Innovation, Ingenuity and Opportunity under Conditions of Scarcity (Download PDF)

In July 2009, I was inspired by working in the Research wing of the Aalto University’s Design Factory in Espoo, Finland, to launch a group blog called REculture: Exploring the post-consumption economy of repair, reuse, repurpose and recycle by informal businesses at the Base of the Pyramid*. Within a year, this research interest evolved into […]

Also posted in Africa, Design, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Perspective, Photography, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Projects and Reports, Research, Scarcity, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology, UCSD, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

African Youth find Opportunities in Informal Sector Biashara

Biashara in Africa’s emerging economies – Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe- are at loggerheads with the state.  An ever bulging young demographic  and a failure to absorb them into the formal economy has resulted in increased biashara.  The informal sector’s low barrier to entry, appeals to the young Africans’ aspirations, like Simon Danda from Zimbabwe. Rather than […]

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Biashara Economics: Get attuned to the cycles in your business – Lesson #4

Just as egg wholesalers know that business spikes during the school holidays due to increased demand, the ladies who trade in clothes, old and new, know that clothing is a discretionary purchase. In the low season, some switch to selling necessities like charcoal, or fresh veg. People still need to cook and eat. Mama Margeret […]

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Infrastructure has a direct relationship to how much your rural business can scale

This is a micro-wholesaler and retailer in a staple commodity. Infrastructural constraints limit the stock she can manage at one go – seen as the sack with her name on it. This indicates that it was sourced from some distance away, as this is the matatu’s informal package tracking service. It could have come from […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Business, Design, Ecosystem, Flexibility, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Mama Biashara, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Research, Retail in Africa, rural, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, urban | Tagged | Leave a comment