There’s a concept in economics of substitute goods. Basically if the demand one for one product goes, demand for another goes down.
If pasta becomes super popular then you might see sales in couscous go down (substitute good). Other products though, such as tomato sauce, may instead go up in demand (complementary goods).
Anyway, two conversations last week made me think there might be such a relationship going on between two slightly contentious products in East Africa, which could have some interesting implications…
A friend has just quit his job and started travelling. This week he told me a story of an Italian guy he met living on the Kenyan coast who is currently building a boat.
A series of events led to me being able to take a day off work yesterday.
I decided to spend it going to a mango farm about an hour out of Nairobi to scope out its commercial potential.
On Saturday I went for lunch with the lady who cleans my apartment and her sister at their home in Kibera: one of the big informal settlements in Nairobi.
The conversations and anecdotes that came from our afternoon were rich with the colour of the lives they’ve both lived, and the families they’re raising. On their permission, I’ve written the below.
Over the Easter weekend a good friend (Ben) and I spent a couple of nights an hour out of Nairobi. Despite the primary goal of “getting a way from it all”, the short excursion ended up showing several aspects of Kenyan culture not always visible from the day to day:
The Chinese influence, a hangover from the colonial era, and the emerging Kenyan middle class.
At the beginning of November I spent a week in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.
As covered in the previous post, I was there connecting with businesses about training their teams to be effective and efficient in data analytics, and between meetings was able to get a decent impression of the city.
This post covers the key aspects that became apparent when I came to jotting down thoughts on the trip.
Since touching down back in Kenya in late August there have been some developments on the work front.
After a year or so of doing freelance consulting, and nurturing different business ideas it got to the stage where I fancied shaking things up and actually cracking on with some of the opportunities I’d been telling everyone that I was seeing.
As you might have seen, I have a bit of thing about business in East Africa.
Since deciding to relocate to the region last year in order to set up a business I’ve found myself learning as much about the region as possible, and taken enjoyment in distilling the many complex moving parts into a narrative which I can comprehend and communicate.
On a recent trip back to London, I looked at how I could share this with others.
Today I’m flying back to the UK for a month to catch up with friends, family and some clients I’ve been working with.
The date on the plane ticket is a year to the day from when I took a flight in the opposite direction and touched down in East Africa for the first time and so it therefore feels like an apt time to reflect on the last 12 months, and take stock of what’s been going on.