Inside Emerging Markets

February 2016 Edition 

After weeks of dull weather the Kenyan dry season is in full swing! Warm weather, cool high altitude breezes and the sound of birds rather than rain on our tin roof. The first month of the year was introspective, I reviewed 2015 and set goals along with getting back to work after a 2 week vacation to Ethiopia. 

So after doing a lot of thinking, what do I like the most about my life? The people. Nairobi is known for it's security issues, traffic jams and Kibera Africa's largest slum but what lies under the surface is a vibrant expat community and fantastic Kenyan's working to change the country for the better. Frequently there are parties with 5-6 countries represented, individuals building health clinics or researching new agriculture techniques. Although we all have our families elsewhere, we connect over an idealistic view of changing the world. For those that want to learn more about the positive correlation of health and relationships check out the Harvard study that has tracked several hundred men over the last 75 years. Here's a TED talk for a quick 15 minute summary! 


Kenyan Story of the Month : 

The Nairobi Skating Club born from a flawed UN Aid Project

An article about athletics, different classes working together to help kids learn a sport and a local grassroots initiative. I laughed reading about how the local community added speed bumps because the road was so smooth drivers were flying past the community. I curse speed bumps that disrupt traffic but without them unfortunately drivers in Nairobi are too erratic. 

African Movie:  
Nairobi Half Life 

Last week I went for coffee with a few friends and 'Nairobi Half Life' was recommended. Unlike most overacted excessively violent African films it follows an excellent plot of a village boy hoping to make it big as an actor. He travels to Nairobi only to be robbed and fights to survive while following his dream! 

Watching Technology Trends Emerge In Africa

FinTech and Entertainment, two core areas that will take off in Africa in the next decade. Why? With the majority of the population unbanked tech is stepping in to store currency in phones rather than under the mattress or in a bank. Streaming is giving birth to new film industries rather than stagnating under a pile of pirated DVDs. Great businesses in Africa will continue to involve transactions people make everyday and providing them with something to do during their new leisure hours as the workforce shifts from the informal to the formal economy. 

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most and Least Resilient Economies

As the Head of Sales at SteamaCo I'm constantly pondering which countries have potential for microgrids, and which will attract operators in the coming years. The Harvard Business Review Article puts a lot of my logic into perspective with the term "resilient". A combination of politics, and economics. With off-grid energy statistics on energy access and distance from the grid also help along with governmental policy. 

East African Jobs! 

New Jobs Site - Journey 

When you live in Nairobi you become the "Africa guy" among your friend network back in Canada. Where to travel, how to work abroad. Well one of those questions has become a lot easier, I'd like to introduce Journey a product of a few social entrepreneurs. What started as a local jobs mailing list has become a full blown website. Niraj is a community builder and introduced me to SteamaCo and I'd highly recommend job hunters to check out Journey! 
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