Logistics ain’t sexy, like tech

It’s been over a decade since I was part of the venture-backed tech industry. The only thing I miss about it is the massive amount of attention it receives, and from that, the orders of magnitude more capital that flows to tech startups vs. any other sector. Meanwhile, there is nothing like a decade of decompression and deprogramming to get a better view of the realities of the whole tech...

Africa is Next


China had its economic boom… and this year saw its population peak at 1.4 billion and shrinking. India is in the middle of its economic boom… passing up China’s population with another 1.4 billion population, but with that population growth slowing down. Africa is the other place on earth with 1.4 billion people. Not a single country, but 54 countries, but also an area far...

The True Size of Africa

The size of Africa

The standard Mercator projection maps of the world make the land at the top and bottom of the world look larger than they really are, which in turn makes land in the middle, like Africa, smaller in comparison. In reality, Africa is humongous:

What does “global poor” look like?

Dollar street

“Poverty First” on the Africa Eats blog explains why poverty needs to be addressed before other important impacts. The end of that post includes a link to Dollar Street, a great project on the Gapminder website, created by the late Hans Rosling of TED talk fame and Factfulness book. On Dollar Street you can see pictures and videos of families living on $1/day, $2/day, $3/day and...

3 Days, 3 Cities, 3 Companies in Kenya

Site visit youtube videos

I’m back from 12 days in Kenya. That included two days speaking at Sankalp Africa, two days facilitating conversations with the bizi of Africa Eats, and three days driving across Kenya visiting a different company in a different city each day. I’ll save you the long drives, bumpy roads, odd hotel rooms, along with the very long flights and instead give you three highly edited video...

Keeping busy in 2022

The big shift I’ve seen in 2020, 2021, and 2022 is that the default mode of business (in impact investing) is meetings on Zoom vs. meetings in-person. The new normal for my workday is spending a few hours talking to people around the world via Zoom, with 99% of those meetings set by All those people have the option of a phone call, and maybe once per month someone choose a...

Why Foreign Aid Doesn’t Work… and What Does

The Problem with Foreign Aid

The following video does a great job of quickly summarizing the typical problems with foreign aid… So… if that doesn’t work, what does? For-profit capitalism. That may sound backwards, but it truly does work, when implemented correctly. I’ve seen this first-hand, as this is what I do as my main job. I find overlooked entrepreneurs in Africa whose work alleviates hunger and...

Milestone by milestone growth (in Africa)

Cohort analysis

Over at Africa Eats we typically tout growth based on aggregate revenues. Growing from under $1 million to over $16.8 million in seven years is worthy of touting (see below). But this week I started looking at it another way, and that is even more interesting. This week the question came up… how many of the companies are small, medium, and large, and how has that changed over the past few...

The power to grow

Electricity in Africa 2022

Growing an economy takes power, especially electricity. One major piece of infrastructure missing in most Sub-Saharan countries is a ubiquitous electric grid. Only South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and Gabon have 85% or better access to electricity, and while I don’t know first hand what the electric grid is like in all four of those countries I do know that while the Kenyan electric grid is...

The (coming) East Africa Federation

East Africa Federation map with flags

I’m publicly bullish on Africa (1, 2, and 3). I foresee the continent being the next big economic growth story after the Asian Tigers, China, and India. On the path are some major continental-scale efforts, including the potential creation of the East African Federation, a political union of the existing East Africa Community trading group: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and...


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