Category Archives: Literature review

Mobile Money and the Informal Economy: A Paradigm Change

One of the most powerful pieces of data analysis I have come across recently has been the Banque de France’s working paper on the role of financial innovation in the informal economy. In my opinion, the importance of their conclusions are no less than the famous “price of fish” paper of a decade ago – […]

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Mobile Phones and the Informal Economy

Over the past week or so, I’ve been scanning literature from African researchers on the broad theme of mobile phones and the informal economy. Here are some of my top findings: The Mobile Phone is a Business Tool and Income Generator – Regardless of the region (and cultural context) of study –  Cameroon or Cote […]

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A Comprehensive Analysis of the Literature on Informal Cross Border Trade in East Africa

Download the comprehensive literature review (PDF) on informal cross border trade, in the context of the informal economy of the East African Community, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. This paper was supported by TradeMark East Africa during the period November 2015 to January 2016. A short extract from the preamble is given […]

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Livestock as movable assets and financial collateral: Collected insights

Following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe, Kenya has just passed a law on the use of movable assets as collateral for loans. President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a Bill allowing borrowers to use household goods, crops, live animals and even intellectual property to secure commercial loans in a move aimed at boosting access […]

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Not Disaggregating the Informal Economy Properly Hinders Development Efforts

Michael Kimani (@pesa_africa) brought this prize winning essay on the importance of understanding the informal economy to my attention, together with a snippet of text from our last inception report highlighting a major oversight that we believe is of critical importance. Mike took issue on Twitter with the author’s very first sentence introducing his work […]

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Poverty is Dynamic and Flexible, Just like the Informal Economy: Evidence from India

…the concept of poverty today is fundamentally different from that of poverty three decades ago, and that safety nets need to be tailored to meet the needs of a society in transition.~ The Hindu, 2 Aug 2016 When quantitative data provided by the India Human Development Survey (the first large panel survey in India) provokes […]

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Borderland Biashara: Mapping the Cross Border, National and Regional Trade in the East African Informal Economy

And, we’re back! With apologies for the long delay in posting on the blog, we’d been busy wrapping up our groundbreaking design research for development programming project for Trade Mark East Africa this past month or so. As you can imagine, the last few weeks of any project suck all the bandwidth out and leave […]

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Africa’s world trade: Informal economies and globalization from below by Margaret C. Lee

The entire text of Professor Margeret C. Lee’s work is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence. Clicking on the cover will take you directly to the PDF. Chapter 3 takes the reader through a journey to different countries of Africa, including Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, […]

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Perspective: Critical Analysis of The African Hype Cycle by Gartner

The very fact that this hype cycle exists is a signal of the increased importance and visibility of the African continent’s place in the global landscape for technology. Released recently by Gartner, the 2015 Hype Cycle for ICT in Africa, is far more interesting for its depiction of the perspective and worldview of Gartner’s analysts […]

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Roadmap for reverse innovation – how to leverage context for disruption

Vijay Govindarajan and Amos Winter have an interesting article in the July/August issue of Harvard Business Review. They identify the barriers to successfully integrating reverse innovation from emerging markets into the product pipeline for mainstream consumer culture. Their key paragraph echoes the issues of people, pesa and place I’d written about earlier: Our research suggests […]

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