Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

Ubernomics and Income Inequality in South Africa…

Tonderai & mate

When an unemployed teacher can rationally afford a taxi ride to Sunday lunch and the driver’s main job is as General Manager of the Coca Cola factory in Cape Town, economists’ alarm bells should start ringing. Welcome to the world of Uber. The said unemployed (economics) teacher took some time off ferrying Africans down their continent on his tandem and took advantage of the Rand’s weakness to enjoy a few motorised rides around the Cape…

 

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Rebuilding an Economy through Education and Sport - Hope for Zimbabwe?

Heath

‘Sport helps to unify a country and, certainly for players, it is colourblind’ Heath Streak, one of Zimbabwe’s most famous cricketers reflects from the office at his academy in the country’s second city of Bulawayo. ‘Working with local schools, we aim to give the next generation some hope and a chance to rebuild our country’. Zimbabwe historically has punched above its weight in both sport and education, although both have struggled recently with the economic and political crises. We set off on our bikes from Bulawayo to try and find out more about the roles education & sport play in economic development…

  

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The Elephantine cost of trade in Africa

dead ele

‘At the current rate of poaching, elephants will not exist in Africa in 12 years time’ Kelvin, educational officer for Game Rangers International (GRI), explains to a group of American & European tourists at the Lilayi Elephant Orphanage near Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. In the background, Musole, a 2 year old bull elephant plays in the mud, seemingly enjoying the audience. Named after the ranger shot dead by a poacher whilst trying to protect his mother in 2014, he will be released back into the wild at Kafue National Park in 2016. We cycled out to the park, 250km west of Lusaka, spanning an area the size of Wales, to find out more about the economics of the ivory trade and the poaching crisis that could destroy Africa’s largest mammal…

 

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Zengamina  - A (simple) model for Sustainable Development? 

SDGs

In September, the UN launched its new Sustainable Development Goals, amidst great fanfare in New York. If you find remembering Moses’ 10 commandments hard enough, good luck with the 17 SDGs and its associated 169 targets. Sustainable Development shouldn’t be that complicated and in the remote North Western Province of Zambia, the local tribe Lunda  have a single word for it - Zengamina. We travelled up to the region, wedged between Angola and the Congo, to find out more with social entrepreneur Dan Rea, a 21st Century version of the early pioneers who sought to develop Africa… 

 

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Triple deficits and Economic Crises in Zambia

Triple deficits and Economic Crises in Zambia
currency chart

Kwacha on the run….

I concluded my last blog suggesting that this week I’d be exploring the role of China in Africa using Zambia as a case study. However, my conversations since stepping off the MV Liemba, whether with roadside tomato sellers, farmers, mining executives or indeed Chinese businessmen, haven’t strayed far from the currency. The Kwacha value against the dollar has halved in the last 2 years, with the majority of the depreciation coming in the last 6 months (chart below). And when an economist with more than 40 years experience in Zambia tells you that the underlying economic crisis, caused by a perfect storm of three deficits, is shaping up to be the worst he can remember, the Chinese blog can wait…

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A positive Legacy from the Colonial period in Tanzania?

A positive Legacy from the Colonial period in Tanzania?
Boarding the Ship

 

All aboard the MV Liemba… (literally)

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