Tag Archives: research

The Quiet Digital Revolution: Indigenous Innovation in Intelligent Information Systems

By | December 13, 2018

Big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are the buzzwords of the day, along with the obligatory blockchain and bitcoin. Much is being written on their potential to solve Africa’s problems, or India’s challenges. In turn, each has been promoted as the next big thing to address poverty and its discontents. Yet, we note, that… Read More »

What happens when the informal economy is not criminalized? : Case of Hargeisa, Somaliland

By | December 3, 2018

In Hargeisa, the role of the informal economy during and after conflict has been vital to conflict prevention and peace-building. A recently released report by Cardiff University and Somaliland research partners on their work related to the role of urban informal economies in conflict zones offers us perspective from another angle. A little thin on… Read More »

Rural Household Financial Management on Irregular Incomes

By | October 18, 2018

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… Read More »

TEDTalk video: Recognizing the value creation and economic contribution of the informal economy

By | November 24, 2017

My talk given at the TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, this August, went live on Ted.com at some point during the night a couple of days ago. At that very moment, I was on a Finnair flight from SIN to HEL, so with a wee bit of delay, here’s the link to the video of the… Read More »

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

By | July 24, 2017

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… Read More »

Africa’s Middle Class: Development economics and marketing demographics conflating the holy grail

By | September 12, 2016

The most developed nation on the African continent, south of the Sahara desert, is considered to be South Africa with its financial and transportation infrastructure and systems, a legacy from history. In the first decade of the 21st century, the black middle class – known as Black Diamonds in marketer jargon – came into prominence… Read More »

Why I’m cautious about most mobile platform consumer research in Africa

By | December 19, 2015

StanChart’s price tracker rolled out in Nigeria is a great example of where and how mobile phones can really add value in understanding the African consumer market and add substantially to its scarce database. What concerns me however is the increasing promotion of the ubiquitous cellphone as the means to gather consumer insights for all… Read More »

Dynamic vs Static Metrics: Attributes for an African Measure of Competitiveness

By | April 7, 2015

For analysts everywhere, the challenge of considering each economy in its own right seems to be far too much trouble, and so they tend towards sweeping generalizations which lump all metrics under one label – “Africa”. Some find even that far too exhausting and aggregate Africa along with Europe and the Middle East. These regional… Read More »

Human centered design for financial inclusion: Lessons from fieldwork in rural India, The Phillipines and Kenya

By | July 19, 2014

Introduction Financial inclusion has become mainstream thinking in economic development. The vast majority of the unbanked live in the developing world, and a significant proportion of this population are rural residents. One can easily surmise, without recourse to statistics, that the bulk of the target audience for institutions seeking to offer them affordable and accessible… Read More »

Reflecting on The Informal Economy, October 2012

By | October 17, 2012

John Keith Hart, who first saw the economic activity of the “unemployed” in Accra, Ghana back in the beginning of the 1970’s, almost exactly 40 years ago, opened the symposium with the statement that the informal economy had gone mainstream. After all, he said, here was a gathering of folks from around the world, ready… Read More »