martes, 15 de junio de 2010

Innovation at Africa

La nota la trae The Economist, y presenta evidencias múltiples del poder transformador (para bien) de la innovación que surge cuando hay libertad de empresa y mínima (ojalá cero) intervención estatal; y lo contrario...

Extracto aterr-aleccionador:

"Such successful entrepreneurs can point to countless examples of how business can improve people’s lives. In Kenya, where the government has removed its dead hand from the telecoms market, mobile phones are ubiquitous; in next-door Ethiopia, where the government’s grip is as tight as ever, only 2% of the population has phones..."

Extracto esperanza-ilustrador:

"Africa is also seeing the benefits of “frugal innovation”—inventions that are designed to serve the poor. Mobile-phone companies, which have done more than anybody to improve the lives of poor Africans, are continuing to innovate. Kenya’s Safaricom and its rivals are pioneering money-transfer by mobile phone (see article); mobile savings and agricultural-insurance schemes are next. Companies from other emerging markets are also expanding into Africa. Bharti Airtel, which completed its $10.7 billion acquisition of Zain Africa, is a world-leader in improving services while reducing costs.

Nor is innovation confined to telecoms. Vijay Mahajan of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin, produces a long list of innovators in everything from the design to the distribution of products. Nakumatt, a Kenyan retailer, allows people living abroad to buy vouchers for its stores and then transfer them to their African friends and relatives, making remittance payments smoother. Other bottom-of-the-pyramid innovations include the Jiko, a portable charcoal stove that can reduce fuel consumption by 30%; the Q-drum, a doughnut-shaped plastic container that can be used to transport water by rolling it along the ground; the Weza, a foot-powered generator that can be used to charge cell phones and radios; and a $20 washing machine made from discarded motors and iron..."

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