This is a slightly different episode of The East Africa Business Podcast where  we’ll be covering a thesis around development.

When you consider how countries and societies have spurred economic growth it has all happened through urbanization.

Streams of people moving from rural livelihoods to populate cities where they would find a better life and more opportunities.

Underpinning all this was energy.

Opportunities and wealth are a function of economic productivity and in order to produce more, power is needed to run, say, factories.

Historically this has been generated centrally, in a power station and sent out via the grid.

This has favoured a society built around these central sources of power and hence led to the rise and growth of cities.

Azuri Technologies, however believes that this same path does not need to be taken in Africa

In this episode Conrad Whitaker and I discuss macro trends around the continent’s development,how off-grid solar can change the paradigm for migration patterns and ultimately what their view of the future is with the distributed economy.

I’d love to hear any feedback you have for this episode. I certainly found it to be one of the most thought-provoking interviews done to date.

(hence why it goes on for a little longer)

More information

How countries and societies develop is a fascinating discussion, and one which acts as a bedrock for any understanding of how businesses operate.

This episode offers a new perspective on the paradigm which Africa can take, opening up the possibility to leap frog the development paths taken in other parts of the world.

Azuri Technologies are in the business of providing low-income households with their first reliable electricity source, through solar powered devices.

Whilst a light bulb (and satellite TV) could be viewed as just basic necessities, the fact that these have been powered through individual energy sources (as opposed to “grid” electricity) is, to Azuri, just the first step in a new trajectory of development.

Going forward, other basic needs can be provided to rural communities without the need of building expensive and difficult foundational infrastructure.

The interview is longer than normal as we delve into Africa’s current status quo and how it might differ from elsewhere in history.

We discuss how enabling basic infrastructure increases economic productivity in people which then catalyses economic growth. An example being that with light at night, children can study more and people can spend more time cultivating their land.

If listening at home and thinking how an idea you have might hit into the bigger picture of the continent’s development, this episode is a must.

Lessons and Insights

Next big thing: solar powered irrigation systems 

Biggest insight: “The distributed economy theory predicts that Africa’s development will leapfrog the West”

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