Category Archives: urban

Signs of Interdependency between the Formal and the Informal Economy

There is a lot to be unpacked here – I made a mindmap of the urban African entrepreneur who is the backbone of the visible emergence of a consumer class. I’m drawing from my experience of the Kenyan context. I started this in response to Michael Kimani’s Storify recently on the mythical “middle class” and […]

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Top 3 Assumptions About the African Consumer Market

Claims have been made about the Great African Market Opportunity – in retail, in real estate, in banking, and packaged consumer goods – that drive investment decisions and marketing strategies. Yet, reality has been less opportunistic than imagined – Nestle’s struggles in Kenya back in 2015 are one such example. Here are the top 3 […]

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Detailed breakdown of Uber’s business model in Kenya puts spotlight on weaknesses

Latiff Cherono has just published an indepth analysis of what exactly it takes for an Uber driver in Nairobi to cover the cost of doing business. Here’s a snippet, In this post, I try to understand the root cause of the disconnect between how the customer (who defines the value), Uber (the service that controls […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Design, East African Community, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Income, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, Uganda | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Professionals stand above the competition: Branding lessons from street vendors of Africa

Farai Mushayademo’s distinctive dress sense, with a different shiny suit every day, makes him a darling of customers and helps him beat the “rising competition,” he said. This article on the increasing competition for the burgeoning informal economy of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, came less than a month after we saw this smartly turned […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Assumption filter, Biashara Economics, Compétitivité, Consommateurs, Consumer Behaviour, Ghana, Marchés africains, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Spot Signals of Local Purchasing Patterns in the Market

This photograph is taken from a regular news item from a Liberian newspaper announcing the opening of a new petrol station in the town of Ganta. What caught my attention is the size of the LPG cylinders being promoted. On the left is the 6kg and on the right is an even smaller size that […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Consumer Behaviour, Economy, Frugality, Income, Marchés africains, Marketing, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Retail in Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Research Question: Why is the informal retail sector so persistent and resilient?

Retailing in India is currently estimated to be a USD 200 billion industry, of which organised retailing makes up 3% or USD 6.4 billion. By 2010, organized retail is projected to reach USD 23 billion and in terms of market share it is expected to rise by 20 to 25%. (Sinha et all, 2007) These […]

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How to segment the informal sector

This is a research interest that I’ve been pursuing ever since the very first fieldwork for the prepaid economy project that was prototyped in rural Rajasthan state in India back in December 2008. The challenge of discovering, then testing and refining the framework for segmenting the informal sector of the economy – particularly by purchasing […]

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Uber’s app lowers barriers to formalization for unorganized taxi industry in Kenya

This interesting article in the Kenyan news made me think about the role that an app like Uber could play in markets where there’s a high proportion of informal & unregulated business activity. As with much technological advancement, resistance comes with change. Mpesa and the internet were once thought to be passing fads and have […]

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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 […]

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Carrefour in Cote D’Ivoire: Thinking global; acting local

Unusually, for a global retail brand like the French Carrefour chain, their range of products in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire include numerous locally sourced products. News has it that they signed as many as 170 different supplier agreements in their bid to source indigenously. …local products like pineapple from Bonoua (south-east), yam from Bondoukou (east), rice […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Afrique francophone, Business Models, Consommateurs, Emerging Markets, Indigenous & Traditional, Marchés africains, Marketing, Perspective, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, UEMOA | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment