So it’s been a few months since we last released episode and we’re back soon with some more interviews on the bustling business scene in East Africa.

We have a number of episodes that you can look forward to. I’ll give you a short preview of the ones to come and also a bit of housekeeping.

We’re starting on Thursday 16th August 2018 with

Impact Investing

The view from Beyond Capital, and impact fund, on what they look for when putting in money for social good in the region

Behavioural economics

Insights that come from the Busara Center on applying behavioural practices to solve challenges in East Africa. Lots of interesting, and often counter-intuitive insights in that one

We’ve then got a few big players in the Kenyan economy. I noticed that there has been a slight bias in previous series around focusing on the “growth start up”. Entrepreneurs who have spotted a gap in the market, and are early on their journey. But with this series we’ve got some more… bricks and mortar businesses going on:

Tissue Paper

Chandaria Industries. So I have a great interview with Darshan Chandaria who is third generation of the family business. They’re one of the biggest manufacturing companies in the region (making tissue paper) and now a host of other activities.

He is personally an investor on the TV show Lion’s Den which is the Kenya equivalent of Shark Tank in the US and Dragons Den in the UK. Interestingly in Rwanda it’s called Face the Gorillas, I guess because they are they are a formidable creature in the country. And, I had to Google it, it turns out that in most other countries it’s called Dragons Den. I was hoping there’d be lots of Tiger references in South East Asia, but that’s just Japan where the show is called Money Tigers. Sri Lanka probably has the most interesting version which is called Wall of Tuskers, in reference, one would guess to elephants being the most unnerving creature on the island.


Tuskys is one of the biggest retail chains in Kenya, and by virtue, East Africa. I think this might be one of my favourite interviews to date. It’s certainly the longest, which I guess is a proxy for how much interesting stuff there was to cover. But again, we’re talking with the CEO of a large bricks and mortar business, employing thousands people across the region. The insights and perspectives that you get is different five people with their laptops coding up a solution to a problem they see


And then to continue the bricks and mortar analogy we have an interview with Mburu Karanja who runs Cemex. They are, ironically, in the business of disrupting the literal bricks and mortar industry. There’s a technology developed in Italy which is an alternative to making walls with stones, instead making panels from steel mesh, concrete and polystyrene. From what he says it’s superior on almost every measure to building stone structures and seems like it could be a really promising part of the nation building aspect of East Africa.

The Economist

Also whilst I am based most of the year in Kenya, I was back in London over the summer and took the opportunity to meet with Jonathan Rosenthal who is the Africa Editor of The Economist magazine, who sponsored earlier episodes on the show.

This was quite fun, as I got to go into The Economist office, in the radio booth that they use for their own podcasts, and also see the magazine in the making, as well as have an interview about a lower case economist’s view of Africa.

There are a few more interviews in the pipeline, but I’ll leave it there for now.


Now, in terms of following along to this season, I’d invite you to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. This way you can have new episodes (which will be coming out on Thursdays) ready for you to go.

You can head to The East Africa Business Podcast on Facebook. Click Like and you’ll then get to follow when new stories come out. We’ll also be sharing quotes from the interviews which can also be found on the show notes section of the podcast, which is at

Also, if you think of other companies who would be a good fit for the podcast, or would have a good story to tell, then please do get in touch, either by emailing

Sending a message on Facebook, or even via tweet. On Twitter I’m Sam_Floy.