Years back I asked my Father for a bike and, in a homily that introduced the idea of the Saturday job, he told me that they didn’t grow on trees. They do now. On the outskirts of Lusaka in Zambia next years crop of bicycles is being watered by Benjamin Banda: “we planted this bamboo last year and the stems are taller than me. When it is ready, we will cut it and cure it and then, turn it into frames.”

Introducing the Bamboo Zambike

Introducing the Bamboo Zambike

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3i Infotech, a global information technology company, has announced the launch of I-SERV, a brand for its retail services to consumers in remote rural areas in India. These services are geared to empower people in these remote areas to carry out various activities and, improve their quality of life thereby closing the gap between the rich and poorer communities and to bridge the urban / rural divide. It is worth noting that supporting this public good can help to build market access to an untapped rural market in India worth an estimated $100 billion. (more…)

The unique challenges of the informal economy and, its linkages to the wider market demand innovative solutions and an ability to deliver despite endless frustration. As C K Prahalad puts it, “Getting the right combination of scale, technology, price, sustainability and usability requires that managers start with a “zero based” view of innovations for the Bottom of the Pyramid markets.” The same applies to the informal market and its linkages to the economy as a whole. [i]


[i] C. K. Prahalad, Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (2006) p 46.

Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful (1973) dispelled the myth that the tractor was always the best technology to use. Western high tech fixes can often be counter productive. There is no good or bad technology to carry out a task – only an appropriate or inappropriate one. High tech is not always the right solution and innovation is more to do with improving on current process than flights of blue sky thinking. The informal market offers major insights into this area – especially in packaging and distribution.

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