Emerging Futures Lab – Borderland Biashara

Emerging Futures Lab (EFL)
Borderland Biashara
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Borderland Biashara is an ongoing project to understand and map the informal economic ecosystem in the borderlands of the East African Community. Biashara means commerce or business in Swahili. This ethnographic research explores the role of mobile phone in the biashara at the Kenya-Uganda border. International borders often create ‘unnatural’ complications to everyday activities such as informal trade . These complications may take the form of restrictions on mobility, customs checkpoints, currency exchange, etc. Mobile phones play a vital role in overcoming these barriers to biashara, and the East African region is globally unusual due to the presence of ubiquitous mobile money transfer platforms, and the dominance of the prepaid (pay-as-you-go) subscription model. This photo-log captures some the stories from observing cross border transactions and communications.

Emerging Futures Lab (EFL) is an interdisciplinary research driven concept design and innovation consulting practice operating primarily in the emerging consumer markets of sub Saharan Africa. With roots in human centered design, business strategy and marketing, as well as engineering and technology, EFL offers holistic roadmaps to maximize opportunities in informal and rural markets. Clients include governments, global consumer brands, social enterprises, and multi donor funded regional trade and integration bodies. This exhibit was curated by Rinku Gajera, a human centered design planner who facilitates socially, environmentally & economically balanced design interventions through participatory methods, and Michael Kimani, research associate.