Kenya

Ljungbyhed Airport
A few minutes ago, I uploaded the fulltext version of the master thesis report that wraps up Wille’s and my work during the last six months. Feels good to finally get to share it to you!

Access the project-webpage dareafrica.com and read our report ”Seizing the ICT Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa – Implications from Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana”. Please share the report to your network if you appreciate it, direct links are supplied for Facebook or Twitter.

Thesis report publicized!

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Interest in Amsterdam - photo and retouch Erik Winther 2013
We have received lots of interest for our work from all types of actors since the academic presentation. It feels good, as we’ve been frustrated so many times – both by the many business opportunities that are just waiting for westerners, and because of the unnecessary inefficiencies in development aid. I’ll tell you about the spin-offs when we get closer to practical details.

Beside the leverage on our message, I think the best kudos came from Swedfund themselves, as they have requested us to continue on the same track on part-time as consultants. Feels like an indirect “well done”.

Interest

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Toothbrushing outside the tent - Erik Winther 2012
When I scout around in the world, I try to smile and say hello, be open and encouraging, but also critical and objective. Whether I succeed is for you to decide, but I always find it interesting to hear or read what others think and say about things – and I’ve been raised in Sweden with Swedish values and priorities; which of course affects my perception of things.

So in what way does this affect my evaluations? Anders Fogelström has lots of experience of living abroad and gives lectures in intercultural management, and wrote about the Swedes from an outside perspective in Bearing Consulting’s blog. Quite informative and fun, yet including some significant generalizations that demand you to be a bit critical. As always.

Swedes, from an outside perspective

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Reaching for more, shot at UN memorial in Busan, South Korea - Erik Winther 2011
With the formal presentation approved, few things remain before I get my MSc-diploma. We are giving the report a final touch, and we will do the peer-review on Raoul and Fredrik’s thesis when they are ready. But far more interesting is that we get to present the project several times more, in varying forums and for several types of actors.

This completes the circle we were aiming for when the two of us stared to discuss this project two years ago; to do a fun and interesting project in Africa that would contribute and add actual insights and value to at least some part of the society. Hence, I am proud to say that we’ve got to do just that, and that our findings from the seven weeks long research trip across Sub-Saharan Africa will be spread and publicised in multiple forums.

Wrap-up

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Framläggning, photo by Anna 2013
Last Friday, the 25th of January, Wille and I presented our project and conclusions for the audience in C2 on Linköping University’s campus Valla. Our colleagues Raoul and Fredrik were back from Geneva and presented their peer-review before the open discussion started. We got many good questions and were happy to find that the audience was really interested and participated actively, thanks!

When our examiner Anna and supervisor Ya had given us their approval, and compliments I must say, we walked with friends and family to Fredagspuben for sparkling wine before we headed to Stångs Magasin for a really nice dinner. Several hours later, I rounded off the evening over some drinks with my beloved family – love you all.

Thesis defence presentation

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What Africa wants, in short, is business and trade with foreign companies to help their economies grow and skills develop.

This is what Wille and I conclude from speaking with a range of persons all hierarchical levels in the three countries we’ve visited. They do not ask for ‘aid’ (Of course excluding emergencies and catastrophes, but that goes for any country including Sweden.); no matter how good the intentions are. Worth a thought, I think.

Real help

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Travelled distance
33 000 kilometers.

Privacy
The two of us have spent around 99,7% of the last six weeks in the same place or room as the other (excluding showers and restroom-visits).

Interview-notes
Approximately 140 typed pages of bullet point-summaries. That no one but the two of us will ever see because of secrecy.

Taxi
Roughly 200 trips, out of which we had to write our own receipts in all but three cases in Ghana; apparently nothing they are used to…

Ghanaian ice-cream
The cheapest we had cost 0,5USD, and the most expensive portion-packed (think Nogger) we found was 10USD. No, we did not buy the latter.

Our relation
Was mistaken as a gay couple roughly as often as we were thought of as twins; despite being (only) friends & colleagues.

Conflicts between us
None. Thank you Wille for an unforgettable tour! :)

The trip: Hard facts

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Wow, how time flies! Our 48 days in Africa feels more like 4,8 or something. I will miss the bustling street life, the amazing countryside, the friendly people & all new friends, and -of course- the warm climate.

With tons of experiences and more than thirty 1-2 hour long formal interviews in the baggage are there loads of hard facts, tips & trix, dos & don’ts, and concrete business opportunities to process and explain in our upcoming report.

Apart from some samples shared here, the complete set of findings and the full-text report will be published on a separate page. The address isn’t yet decided and I am still working on the design, so it remains a secret. Until we reveal it: Happy Lucia Day and sleep well; I’m off for one last good night in the air condition’s cooling 26°C breeze. Sleep well!

Last night in Africa

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As it turned out, I hadn’t attached any payment proof regarding the application-fee with my application. Hence, the räksmörgås is still just a sandwich. One can say it was my fault, but despite the help-buttons and their texts is the interface’s user-friendliness low. Low enough to accept my application in the validation; without both payment and proof of it.

Guess RDB has a thing or two to learn from Sweden, the country with the world’s second fastest internet, but far more user-friendly homepages that speed-winning South Korea.

Räksmörgås Trading: the verdict

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Two 4×4-cars; one illustrating monetary wealth and satisfaction, and the other representing unused labour and hunger for progress. How far will the convergence reach within our lifetimes?

To me, a great leap forward would be to find a more positivistic term than the conclusive and definitive word ‘developed’. Because mustn’t also rich countries be able to advance?

Developed & Developing

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This picture represents something positive to me.
The man is a Kenyan, living his life in conjunction with the ancient traditions of his tribe the Maasai, but he declares his great openness and willingness to learn by adding a western jacket; and the red cap shows which political party he just represented in the political meeting at which I shot the photo. A meeting that had three hundred visitors, yet took place in the bushes of Rift Valley with a hundred kilometres to the closest town.

Lovely cultural mix

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At last we got to Ghana, one day after schedule. One day after that, also our luggage got here. Beside these issues, Ghana and Accra got a tough start; extremely expensive accommodation (damn you diamond, gold and oil…) and the past awesome weeks in Kenya and Rwanda. The West Coast will have to struggle to level up to the standards.

But the weather forecasts promise sunny blue skies with 30-32°C at daytime and 26-29°C at night, thus the sometimes chilly nights of Kigali are no longer an issue. In fact, Sweden is experiencing snowfall and storms these days, which helps Accra’s temperature make up for a lot of the initial complications.

Photo from the beach just outside our hotel, showing the strong (=fun) waves and a glimpse of the presidential palace.

Struggling start for Ghana

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We see a lot of potential, and it is more than clear that today’s Africa is what China was 30 years ago: the place to be for fast economic growth and help-to-self-help. Which, in the end of the day, is what really matters – to me.

A few examples of what we have seen ourselves in Kenya:
• IBM recently opened their office in Nairobi, their first R&D department in the developing world, 9th in total
• MIT-students start their companies in Kenya’s Nairobi because of the buzzing creativity and potential on Ngong Road.
• Google’s grand office opening-party in Nairobi took place when we were there.
• We’ve met traditional Maasai men that lived far, far out in the bushes without electricity; yet greeted us “Hey, give me your mobile and I’ll send you some nice tribe-songs via Bluetooth”, and did it.

..and in Rwanda:
• Rwanda’s backbone of optical fibre for broadband is better than many others’, e.g. France’s.
• Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is just as clean as Singapore, and their roads are equal in standard.
• Carnegie Mellon University has a campus in Rwanda, their first in the developing world. “Things are too slow in US and Europe”, their director told us.

Our findings, so-far: Africa is on the move

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Beside the academic aspects, the outcome our project creates is at best a decent report with reasonable findings, which we ourselves own the immaterial rights to. So really, why is someone else paying for all expenses during our weeks in Africa?

Just as most other westerners, Swedes are -sorry to say- still considering Africa as a homogenous piece of land, from which the everyday headlines contains the words war/death/poverty/HIV/unemployment/rebels/pirates, but rarely opportunities/economic growth/skills/stability. Hence, most companies are of the same opinion.

But this is not the case. It is actually far from the truth; a result of the negative signals that meet media’s short-term incentives easiest. So the objective of our project is to get an idea of the business climate and opportunities (if any), findings that are to be shared amongst Swedes and Swedish companies in order to raise awareness. Hence, we’re hired as messengers.

Infographics by Kai Krause, which needs to be shown frequently.

Our project

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So we didn’t actually reach Ghana today. The flight got cancelled and we were eventually driven to a hotel, paid by Kenyan Airways. So despite that I only got half an hour sleep last night, the extra day in Nairobi was a quite nice break; meeting up with Malin and Frida again, and swimming in the five-star hotel’s rooftop-pool. A significant standard increase compared to what we pay for with Swedfund’s money.

Oh, if you doubted; the picture shows my room, Wille stays in his own next-door.

Country 1: revisited

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Wille, multitasking at the hotel’s restaurant after eight intense but fun and successful days in Rwanda. Having conducted twelve additional formal interviews, country number two is considered visited. Cheers!

2/3 countries: done

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Last weekend, when we stayed at Simon’s place, he told us that a 12 year old Maasai boy killed a lion on his own to protect his herd of cows. Same issue as with wolves and sheep in Sweden, but it isn’t children who have to take action there – especially not as in this case with a herd-stick as only weapon…

It’s hard to imagine that Simon’s youngest would take down a wild lion alone within nine years.

Lion-boy

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Our empirical studies in Kenya witness on extensive efficiency issues in facilities and infrastructure that produce and provide power, water etc. Sweden is in the frontline regarding “smart grids”; knowledge that will make the bold one very rich here.

So don’t be that darn Swedish – get down here and make both yourself and Africa a favour by helping the last Zebra sync his tail-swing!

75% synchronized

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The last Kenya-weekend was just as exciting as the first ones, but much more touching.

Our new friend Simon, an indigenous Maasai warrior of Christian beliefs, has done more than most for Kenya’s and Tanzania’s rural population: building numerous churches, schools and drilling water wells, beside spreading wisdom in his role as bishop.

The funding comes from American churches, via Derrick who actually also linked me to Simon. I find it fascinating to hear Simon explain how it makes sense that they train their warriors to never fear or doubt. A parallel society with very different values than ours, which include much tighter bonds within families than average western citizens have.

Wille and I got to stay the weekend in his house in a remote Maasai village. We got to meet and talk to so many nice persons from his tribe and were shown a school he built, visited one of the water wells, shared a meal with a Chief at a big political meeting, spoke to his friend John who works at the president’s office, and waived to the gazelles and giraffes that walked past us. An unforgettable memory; thank you for showing us all everything Simon!

Picture showing John, Simon, me and the driver Joshua at the rand of the Rift Valley close to Ngong and with their village and the volcano Suswa in the background.

Simon the Bishop

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I spotted a barbershop when Wille and I were walking around in Kibera (Nairobi’s huge slum). Decided that it was time to cut my hair a little shorter and got a seat in front of the owner’s mirror right away.

It was the first time a mzungu (=white person) had been there, despite that they had had four barbers working non-stop there for 15 years. Just when I found out about that, I witnessed the 2mm “around-your-ear-trimmer” make a highway over my scalp. “There goes my business-look”, I thought to myself, and laughed at the situation while Wille looked anxious.

As it turned out, the shop had no scissors at all; and my haircut -that was carried out with perfection- became just as short as on all Kenyan men with self-respect. Smiling about the situation, I (looking like a heartless American soldier) asked Wille to write them a recommendation letter for me to sign. After all, the memorable haircut costed me nothing but €1 and a laugh.

There goes my business-look

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“Nä, nu är f*n sympatin för gnuerna slut! Kan de inte bara börja hoppa i och dö??”
– Wille, som fått lätt solsting efter att i timmar ha väntat på lite action vid flodbädden där de otaliga gruerna ängsligt kikar ner mot floden de måste korsa; vars vatten hyser tjogvis av tålmodiga krokodiler som i sin tur sällskapas av luggslitna gamar i de kringliggande träden.

Sorry about the temporary change into Swedish.

Wille, dejected

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I convinced two vegetarians and two vegans (the volunteers Anna, Kajsa, Frida & Malin) to join Wille and me to Kenya’s most famous restaurant: Carnivore. As the name suggests; it’s all about meat.

No one fully believed it until we all sat there around the table, with speared meat surrounding us; including delicacies such as crocodile tail, ostrich fillet and bull testicles.

A superb dinner with lots of laughs and grimacing that we rounded off with some homebrew at Brew, accompanied by Alice and Mark.

Carnivores

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Criminal responsibility starts from the age of eight here, and just being homosexual can give you 14 years in prison. I was reading a local newspaper the other day in which they wrote about a secondary school-student that had gotten caught cheating at an exam, and the verdict was devastating: two years behind the bars. Rather hard judgement, I’d say, considering what we hear about the African prisons… But our interviewees also tell us that the tough rule of law here is fair and predictable, which in the end of the day is what really matters.

Nonetheless, our excellent chef Moses (picture) takes it all with a pinch of salt and serves us Nairobi’s best Ugali.

Kenyan citizen

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Once arrived, we got an offer we couldn’t refuse: a 160sqm luxurious villa with huge garden, swimming pool, gardener and housekeeper for $40. That was for both of us, for two nights.

Despite that, and having wild monkeys and turtles in the garden, the best thing was one of the garden’s trees: the Baobab tree. If you look closely (or click to enlarge) on the picture, you’ll see Wille relaxing in the centre of the photo. Now that’s a huge tree!

Baobab tree

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This weekend we decided to get a glimpse of the Indian Ocean, and got on the Friday’s night bus to Mombasa. Strolled around in town, visited Fort Jesus, and got surprised by the extent of the Arabic influences. A few hours later were we in having lunch on Diani beach, a truly nice break from the hectic (but lovely) environment in Nairobi.

The morning-hours of the second day were spent under water, scuba diving. Octopuses, stingrays, frog fishes and a beautiful leopard moray eel greeted us before we were (almost) attacked by a spear gun-fisherman. Lazy afternoon on the endless beach and at the pool area, before dinner at Forty thieves.
Pure awesomeness.

2nd weekend

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Today is Father’s day (at least in Sweden) and since I cannot be there, I’ll dedicate him a post here instead :)
Thank you for being the best of fathers! Kramar

Picture from April, when he took the detour from Russia to visit me in Korea. I brought him to a traditional restaurant and tricked him to order iced noodle soup with the traditional swimming egg in it; probably the hardest thing to eat with slippery Korean (=stainless steel) chopsticks. Great days!

Father’s day

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The wildebeest migration is one of the highlights in Maasai Mara/Serengeti’s calendar. That is when 1.5 million wildebeests (also called gnus) move north or south just like birds do. We thought we’d come a month too late and that all of them had already gotten far into Tanzania, luckily were there thousands and thousands of idlers.


We saw them march across the savannah; until they devastated reached rivers they had to cross. The brown waters were filled with crocodiles and all-over trees around sat vultures waiting patiently. Apparently, the wildebeests behave like lemmings, and 10% of them die at each passage. Thus it was not hard to imagine why they hesitated to be the first one getting into the water as the number of colleagues behind them grew. Tough life.

Wildebeest migration

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Today we held an interview in a café in Westlands, which is the district where most embassies are located and where their personnel lives. Thus it is probably the town’s finest area with swanky shopping malls as in any developed country and lots of security guards.

We had heard of the new movie Nairobi Half Life, and decided to see it there as they had a cinema in the mall. The context and message are closely related to India’s Slumdog Millionaire’s, and the result was really gripping; a must-see. An extra spice was that the film crew happened to watch it with us, so we could say hello to the main actors and thank them for doing this. We walked therefrom on the mall’s shiny marble-floors, still captivated by the movie, but at least feeling better by having our bags filled with school material that we bought earlier for the kids in the Maasai village where we are spending next weekend.

Pain and frustration visualised by one of last weekend’s lions.

Nairobi Half Life

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Having spent almost two out of our three weeks here in Nairobi already, it is evident that time flies. The fascinating people we meet are all making me want to stay longer and get involved in all the visionary projects they run and physically implement.

I guess we will experience similarities in Kigali and Accra, but this is a place to which I probably will return. But time will tell whether that’ll be as a volunteer, employee, entrepreneur, employer or just an ordinary tourist.

Picture of two Grant’s-gazelles chasing each other on the savannah.

Time flies

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The Kibera-evening was rounded off at a local pub in the slum. The facility was combined with butchery; the efficient floor usage is good, but it took a few minutes to forget about the stench. Being there on November 7th was great fun; we hoorayed along with the locals’ happiness for Obama’s victory. Cheers mates and meat!

Picture of a happy student; beer and sunshine next to a mud pit in Linköping.

Cheers meat

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Nairobi’s Kibera is Africa’s second largest slum, housing inhabitants that practically live on nothing and share toilets up to hundreds of others. Last week they had a fire that burnt down everything for 400 uninsured households. Yesterday they experienced some heavy rains, and the electricity got cut off. A great evening to pay them a visiting!

Hence, Wille and I went there just before it got dark to see our safari-friends in their environment. They showed us their housing (not a shack though) and the facilities of the NGO they work for; Wayo Wayo (means footprints). The organisation provides a place to hang out at and a range of creative activities to stimulate kids from the area. The girls volunteer here for seven weeks and blog about their many sub-projects on motenikenya.blogspot.se (which is supposed to be read out as Möten i Kenya or Meetings in Kenya, but gets kind of fun without the dots over the o).

I do not have any pictures from the visit; supposedly really dangerous areas for a white “Mzungu” as me, especially if “showing off” with a DSLR, but it was an exciting experience with a surprisingly warm feeling. Then again, who wouldn’t smile a bit when I walked past in the sewage-mud, wearing pink flip-flops? I’ll give you a picture of a muddy Hyena from Maasai Mara instead.

Kibera

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Maasai Mara is cut of by the Tanzanian-Kenyan border, where the national park Serengeti continues. Because of this, we reached the country border when we drove around in the park. Not that I consider a few minutes across the border without legal permits as visiting the country, but it still felt quite nice.

Tanzania

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At last! A post presenting my superb companion and friend out here: Wilhelm. We have the same background; both of us were born and raised in Lund and moved to Linköping for university studies. The project we are here for makes most people surprised since it is our master thesis; often written individually elsewhere. But writing in pairs of two is the common way for Linköping’s IEM students and we both really appreciate it because of the benefits from discussing ideas in-between.

The Rift Valley’s volcano Suswa covers most of the picture’s horizon, which is close to the village we will live in before leaving for Rwanda. Far more important is the foreground with Wilhelm, who is he called Wille by Swedes (including me), but presents himself as William in English by linguistic reasons. Follow him and our journey via twitter: @HenrikssonW.

Wille

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Next to the national park was a traditional Maasai Village that we visited; their income comes practically solely from tourism, which might make it all a thin façade. But they are the most conservative civilization I’ve ever heard of, and they still live their lives just as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago which made us learn lots despite their shift of primary income.

When we got back to the guesthouse yesterday evening, Simon (the Maasai with 56 churches that I’ve mentioned earlier) invited us to stay with him in his village; a “real one” that never takes tourists. So the last weekend in Kenya will Wille and I spend in a house made of cow-dung and sticks, far away from what we would call civilizations. I feel very honoured and really look forward to get there and meet all -real- Maasai.

Picture: Me showing an unconvinced smile wearing a hat made of the mane from a male lion that was killed by some of the villagers as part of the ritual that turns boys into men.

Maasai Village

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The safari in Maasai Mara was awesome, Wille and I went there in a shared 4×4-van (those Nissans are driven without hesitation as if they were tanks!). So when the car picked us up there were four Swedish volunteers inside; originally belonging in Linköping. Sometimes the Earth feels tiny as a pea.

The six of us were all stunned by the wealth of amazing animals, and we had great fun throughout the three days :) Now we are back downtown interviewing people, and they’re back in the giant slum of Kibera where they help those in need. I’ll tell you more about their project when we have visited them there.

I shot the picture above in the wilderness this Saturday.

Safari

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The picture was shot last January when I just had reached the top of my second mountain in Asia and realized that the visibility was as good as on the first: 5 meters. Behind the fog in the photo you can see the sun rise over the active volcano Bromo on Java, Indonesia; a sight I had travelled 30h straight in an insane tempo to admire, and the 4°C fog that soaked me on the motorbike ride thereto made the feeling last longer…

Kind of the same thing, just opposite, happened today: the travel agency offered us to stay in Masai Mara an extra day with all expenses covered for $60. Now I feel sorry for myself ;)

Oh no ;)

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As mentioned in the post “Progress”, our Thursday was all about planning and arranging meetings. But no matter how exciting the project is, are business meetings on weekends not an option. So today’s biggest issue was ‘What to do during the weekend?’

Thus, our driver for the weekend will pick us up on early Saturday morning, and we’re off for Safari in Maasai Mara; the national park that is called Serengeti on the other side of the Tanzanian border. Looking forward!

Off for Safari

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Just received a call from number 501. Answered sceptically since it is midnight. Heard Johan & John in the other end! A happy surprise from my friends in Stockholm :)

An hour earlier I got a confirmation from Ali (entrepreneur in NYC) that he is well and happened to be in Miami during the storm; good! Too bad everyone wasn’t as lucky; inside US and outside.

Picture showing one of Indonesia’s volcanoes with me and a local travel-mate in eastern Java.

Hello?…!

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Today we’ve been booking meetings and arranged things all day.
We scheduled the meeting with Paul Kukubo, the CEO of Kenya’s ICT Board, and his colleague Lawrence Nduva. That is one of the most exciting meetings possible for our project, so it feels great to have it in the calendar :)

Arranged a couple of other meetings with local entrepreneurs and used our connections to get in touch with Rwanda’s Development Board during our stay there. Also set up the meetings for tomorrow; with the former ICT-strategist of PwC Africa and a key person at Ericsson.

A meeting with the sharp and friendly entrepreneur; and Sandbox-ambassador, Mark rounded off the day. Nice!

Picture from Januari, showing Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Progress

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After a wandering around looking at things and a quick visit at the Swedish School of Nairobi, Wille and I had supper at a Korean restaurant. I wasn’t expecting myself to eat Kimchi when I woke up this morning, that’s for sure :)

Back at Sandavy Guesthouse I met Derrick (American NGO-worker, monitoring development projects) and his friend Simon who is of Maasai origin and still lives as a true Maasai even though he is comfortable in the western society as well.
I sat down and listened to his life story for four hours; from him being sent out to the hyenas at the age of ten to kill or get killed; to the life he lives today: counting assets in number of cows and rather killing his son than allowing him to divorce (luckily not an issue), but at the same time working via a laptop and owning several schools, freshwater wells and 56 churches (and investing heavily to reach 200 soon).

This kind of experiences and insights from remote societies and parallel cultures are very valuable to me, and I wish that more people got -and took- the opportunities to do the same!

Maasai

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Today we acted opponents to Fredrik and Raoul, who have the same background as we do but write their thesis for and at UN’s International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Switzerland. Appropriate for our common field (ICT), we held the six-person meeting via Skype form four different cities in three countries. Feels good that it was we, and not the others, who got tanned during the 2h seminar; as we sat on iHub’s 4th floor balcony with the endless savannah and a few mountains in the horizon.

Picture showing the place where I grew up from above; Stångby / Lund / Sweden, surrounded with nice wheat fields. Shot this summer during a trip with Martin.

Seminar

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Sat down here with a Tusker beer after the dinner, and found a letter from Sweden’s Minister of Trade. Feels good to find her values and perspectives of business with Africa being very sound!

The first picture from Africa shows Wille on one a walk in our neighbourhood, fascinated by the business concept of M-Pesa (the revolutionary SMS-like money transfer system) recharge-services combined with a beauty salon.

Email from Sweden

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Our first day started with a good breakfast in company with the hotels other guests. Then most of the day went past as a combination of sunbathing and reading the opponent’s report; seminar tomorrow. At lunch we got company with a manager from an NGO who provides long-term aid in several Sub-Saharan countries. Exciting to hear how they work with the dependency issues that are unavoidable; as for instance SIDA experiences largely in Tanzania right now.

But the most important update for you is probably that I’ve replaced my Swedish SIM-card to a Kenyan one, thus we are reached via +254 (0) 739 679 549 onwards. Consequently, I cannot answer any calls to my regular number.

Picture from Shanghai last December.

Call me maybe

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We grabbed our luggage at Nairobi’s airport and walked out in the Kenyan night smiling; the gentle and fresh breeze that met us held around 20 degrees.

Picture from Cebu, Philippines.

A comfortable breeze

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The last two days in Linköping have meant temperatures below zero, icy winds and even snowfall. So getting into that plane this morning was not a hard choice! After all, last year made me used to far warmer climates.

KLM flies from Linköping to Nairobi via Schiphol, with the latter route served by 747s. First time I fly in a Jumbo-jet, which despite its size, reputation and individual entertainment-systems has a hard time competing with the much more recent A380-800 that brought me from Seoul to Dubai.

This sunrise was captured in China, but today we saw kind of the same. After which Wille spotted Öresundsbron from an unusual perspective, while we cruised south along Denmark’s east coast.

Departure!

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Week 41 (now)
Linköping – Thesis work, Korean evening and rehab

Week 42
Lund – Thesis work, hello to mom & dad and representation at LTH

Week 43
Stockholm – “Innovation in Action” symposium for the thesis
Linköping, thesis wrap-up, exam and removal of sutures

Week 44-46
Nairobi – Interviewing entrepreneurs/CXOs/governmental officers and safari

Week 47-48
Kigali – Interviewing entrepreneurs/CXOs/governmental officers and look-around

Week 49-50
Accra – Interviewing entrepreneurs/CXOs/governmental officers and water sports
Amsterdam – Hello Lisa!

Week 51
Linköping – Thesis writing

Week 52-1
Lund– Christmas
Amsterdam – New Years Eve

Exciting schedule!

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An important quality measure on our thesis is reliability; whether the conclusions would be the same if another team would test the same things once more.

The tension on the skin from the bone pipe seemed higher when I woke up today, so I called the hospital when the shoulder area started to get swollen. They asked me to come in, and after a new round of x-raying and examinations was the conclusion that nothing had happened, but the verdict was different. Hence, I will get expensive bling-bling metals inserted, probably already tomorrow.

It will unfortunately delay our trip further, but to what extent is not clear at this time. So on one hand: feels good to get it done; and on the other: what about reliability..?

Reliability

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I didn’t know that much about Sub-Saharan Africa until I took the class ‘Development and Governance in Africa’ in Korea. Without imposing that I’ve got hold of it now, at least my awareness and interest is significantly higher.

So to give you a clue of the orientation, Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana are marked from right to left in the picture; since we will travel from east to west.

Geographical orientation

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Got an interesting meeting booked yesterday afternoon, so Wille and I dressed up this Tuesday and took the morning train to Stockholm. Wrote about validity and reliability on the way up, waived to(wards) Hanna and Frida when we passed Scania and finalized the interview preparations while having second breakfast at Wayne’s Coffee.

Found the contact person to have called in sick; but he got replaced by the firm’s super nice founder and managing director. Finished my second coffee in the break when we summed up the answers and prepared new questions before firing again. Our intense questioning of the former investment banker gave results; tons of new input, contacts and leads further, but also a confirmation of our methodology and analysis model. Great!

Went to TGI Fridays to digest their suggestions to read up on at least the last fifty years of economic development in the benchmarking markets they identified, which we got listed as Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand, Bangalore, Silicon Valley, China and Gotland. Had an extra coffee after the burger.

Caught the train back in time to enjoy the sun set in Linköping after rewriting the section about power relationship and receiving a meeting request from an ICT guru in “Silicon Savannah” (Nairobi). Smiled while thinking about the guy we met earlier; lives in a mountain village next to Monaco (guess he just don’t want a Monaco-address for some reason), has his primary office in London and happened to be in their Stockholm office when we came. Showed us a (presently) secret trade agreement they’ve written, which got signed by ministers from Sweden and Kenya in Nairobi yesterday.

Sat down and had a beer with Joel, discussing the issues with knowledge economies and the upcoming weekend, before watching an episode of Newsroom. Washed up after dinner and fell asleep dreaming about tomorrow, another day at work.

Another day at work

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An early question that had to be addressed was where we were going to call ‘home’ this semester. The decision wasn’t obvious, considering we have our university and supervisor in Linköping, Swedfund’s central office in Stockholm, our opponents in Geneva and most interview subjects spread out all over Africa.

The solution we chose was to stay in Linköping during the pre-study and the finalization of the report, in-between which we conduct six weeks of field studies in the three most interesting regions; Nairobi in Kenya, Kigali in Rwanda and Accra in Ghana.

The tickets just got booked, and since we are flying with KLM is the transit in Amsterdam enabling me to stop by and say hello to my good-old friend Lisa. Nice!

Picture of the volcano Sundoro-Sumbing, shot from the 9th-century monument of Borobudur, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Location

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