@DailyNation

Digital platforms, copycat solutions create jobs, money-making opportunities

8 months ago, 16 Apr 11:37

By: Bitange Ndemo

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Euromoney East African Conference held at the Radisson Blu. The theme of the conference was “Fostering a thriving fintech ecosystem”.

I wasn’t among the invited guests but due to exigencies of work, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru, who was scheduled to give a keynote interview, asked me to represent him instead.

As such I came in at the tail end of the conference. The ushers took me straight to the front seat and introduced me to the interviewer, Christopher Garnett, senior external adviser for the Euromoney Conferences.

I had never met Mr Garnett, a robust and extemporaneous British conferences denizen.

We couldn’t talk loudly, since there was a session going on, but through whispers, we exchanged pleasantries.

He was kind enough to share the list of questions he was to ask me.

GREATER PRODUCTIVITY

Come question time, he did not follow the script. For a moment, he threw me off balance by his guerrilla questions but I managed to gather my thoughts to respond to his impromptu questions as I acclimatised to what was turning out to be an adversarial interaction.

Once he was through with his random questions on entrepreneurship, he eyeballed the question paper then posed: How important is digital, information and communication technology innovation?

I responded by explaining how ICTs had brought greater productivity and inclusivity. He was unconvinced, insisting instead that I explain exactly the impact especially on employment.

My attempt to elaborate how platforms like Airbnb and Uber have created jobs didn’t do any good as he quickly dismissed them as exploitative and paying peanuts to locals.

Before I could comprehensively respond, he’d already started to ask his next question. It was obvious to me that he wanted to have the last word on this.

Like many “do-good” economists who have obviously read books such as Lords of Poverty, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Disaster Capitalism, and The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World, he had made wrong assumptions about how global platforms exploit international workers while taking huge profits home.

THE BIG PICTURE

This neoliberal economic thought tends to put more emphasis on individual liberties and sometimes narrowly defines success in a manner that ignores the big picture.

Whilst the Uber taxi drivers may be earning less-than-stellar profits, multiple other benefits accrue to countries, including Uber-like copycat solutions applied to other transport modes like motor bikes or trucks that, though not as big, employ a sizeable number of employees with profits remaining in the country.

In Kenya, for example, the concept behind Uber has been extended to fast-growing Sendy for motorbikes and Lorry for trucks.

Even the “exploited” worker benefits too from the emerging models of lending based on credit scoring. Many of the Chap Chap Uber drivers had never owned a vehicle before and no bank would have considered them for credit.

But these new technology-driven lending models have enabled greater inclusivity and productivity for their customers.

Prior ...
Read More


Category: oped opinion news

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@DailyNation

Digital platforms, copycat solutions create jobs, money-making opportunities

8 months ago, 16 Apr 11:37

By: Bitange Ndemo

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Euromoney East African Conference held at the Radisson Blu. The theme of the conference was “Fostering a thriving fintech ecosystem”.

I wasn’t among the invited guests but due to exigencies of work, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru, who was scheduled to give a keynote interview, asked me to represent him instead.

As such I came in at the tail end of the conference. The ushers took me straight to the front seat and introduced me to the interviewer, Christopher Garnett, senior external adviser for the Euromoney Conferences.

I had never met Mr Garnett, a robust and extemporaneous British conferences denizen.

We couldn’t talk loudly, since there was a session going on, but through whispers, we exchanged pleasantries.

He was kind enough to share the list of questions he was to ask me.

GREATER PRODUCTIVITY

Come question time, he did not follow the script. For a moment, he threw me off balance by his guerrilla questions but I managed to gather my thoughts to respond to his impromptu questions as I acclimatised to what was turning out to be an adversarial interaction.

Once he was through with his random questions on entrepreneurship, he eyeballed the question paper then posed: How important is digital, information and communication technology innovation?

I responded by explaining how ICTs had brought greater productivity and inclusivity. He was unconvinced, insisting instead that I explain exactly the impact especially on employment.

My attempt to elaborate how platforms like Airbnb and Uber have created jobs didn’t do any good as he quickly dismissed them as exploitative and paying peanuts to locals.

Before I could comprehensively respond, he’d already started to ask his next question. It was obvious to me that he wanted to have the last word on this.

Like many “do-good” economists who have obviously read books such as Lords of Poverty, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Disaster Capitalism, and The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World, he had made wrong assumptions about how global platforms exploit international workers while taking huge profits home.

THE BIG PICTURE

This neoliberal economic thought tends to put more emphasis on individual liberties and sometimes narrowly defines success in a manner that ignores the big picture.

Whilst the Uber taxi drivers may be earning less-than-stellar profits, multiple other benefits accrue to countries, including Uber-like copycat solutions applied to other transport modes like motor bikes or trucks that, though not as big, employ a sizeable number of employees with profits remaining in the country.

In Kenya, for example, the concept behind Uber has been extended to fast-growing Sendy for motorbikes and Lorry for trucks.

Even the “exploited” worker benefits too from the emerging models of lending based on credit scoring. Many of the Chap Chap Uber drivers had never owned a vehicle before and no bank would have considered them for credit.

But these new technology-driven lending models have enabled greater inclusivity and productivity for their customers.

Prior ...
Read More

Category: oped opinion news

Suggested

19 hours ago, 13:08
@TheEastAfrican - By: Charles Onyango-o ...
EAC, just let Burundi go, we can always remarry

One can see Kenya and Uganda squabbling, but at least they are easily reconcilable. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion
17 hours ago, 14:42
@DailyNation - By: John Walubengo
M-Pesa is a critical resource that should never fail

The regulator must demand more system security measures from M-Pesa and the service provide should treat customers better in times of distress. ...

Category: oped opinion news
18 hours ago, 13:47
@DailyNation - By: Bitange Ndemo
Let’s embrace evidence-based policymaking

With big data, rationality will replace popularity in public policy. ...

Category: oped opinion news
1 day ago, 06:08
@TheStar - By: Adhere Cavince
ADHERE CAVINCE: Kenya can bridge China trade deficit

While relations between African countries and China have deepened and broadened in various fronts, some observers see the latter as the chief beneficiary. Key fodder for the pessimism partly arises fr ...

Category: oped opinion news topnews
1 day ago, 22:59
@DailyNation - By: Kaltum Guyo
Politicians’ greed undermines equality and security in society

The accumulation of wealth by a small minority undermines the work of the government. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion
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@DailyNation - By: Constance De Leus ...
Internet shutdowns cost us a lot and smother critical freedoms

The internet lets us connect, share and explore our human potential. ...

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