Friday, August 10, 2007

of the 24 hour economy

There has been lots of talk lately about the need or lack of for a 24hour economy. i thought the economy was always 24 hour anyway. maybe they meaning business operations around the clock. like the matutus that ply route kariobangi south or kahawa west. meaning that the 24hour economy has been around. but the place where i shockingly saw the real deal was at isich and gikomba. most of the shops in isich operate normally at night and the streets are full of people. unfortunately the roads are pathetic and streets lights dont work. however at gikomba market, i saw that the activity is very much alive and fortunately there is some bit of good light as well. but probably the place where the 24hour thing is most required is at the port of Mombasa! clearing a cargo at the port the other day took me a whole one week because of congestion, confusion and sheer numbers. by the second day, there were 1000 people ahead of me. then at the end of it all i still had to pay charges for the delay in the form of storage charges!

there is so much work yet these guys only work till 5pm after which they chase everyone away. how much better would it be if they worked in shifts even at the customs and container terminals with operations going on around the clock?

actually there are some businesses that are better after hours like supermarkets, banks, etc. when i used to work for this company in my first job, i never understood why it the bosses used to close during lunch hour. yet that was the time some people who are busy in offices would have gotten time to make a quick purchase or a quick inquiry


  1. I agree with you, especially the port, banks, telcom and supermarkets. I recently heard something about Nakumatt starting 24hours at one of their branches. Another 24 hour industry that would really profit Kenya would be call centers for European and American Companies. Most big businesses in the US such as banks and credit card companies have outsourced their customer service centers to India, Phillipines, Argentina, etc because of cheaper labor in those areas. We speak good English in Kenya - this could be a very lucrative 24 hour business for us.

  2. @no-spin, very true. nakumatt already opened their 24 hour branch. in kenya most people are concerned about security though

  3. Security is the key... we are not safe during the day... let alone at night...

    There have been numerous bank robberies over the past 2 years during the day in Kenya esp in Nairobi.

    Uchumi (during the good days under Suresh Shah... I miss those hefty dividends!!!) had experimented with a limited 24 hour store at Sarit Centre lakini they got robbed so often that it was shut down to protect the staff, customers & askaris!

  4. No-spin: The internet connections in Kenya are unreliable, expensive & of low bandwidth... so this needs to be be "fixed" before we can contemplate full scale BPO outfits.

    It costs me around $500 per month for a 128/512 unlimited connection... plus the cost of equipment e.g. routers...

    That can buy me a reliable T1 (1.5 Mbps) connection in almost any US city.... with equipment often thrown in for free if you pay in advance or sign up for 1-2 years!

  5. I hear you all ... I know security is quite a big concern. I was actually thinking of BPOs in the future ... post undersea fibre optic. Companies could probably provide transportation for their over-night employees somewhat like the airlines do to ensure their safety. I know we're still a long way from there. The insecurity really needs to be addressed though if we're to compete at an international level.

  6. Odegle: Something up your alley...

    Obama Girl...

  7. @coldi, i look forward to that time we will be able to get internet for that price in kenya and it looks like it wont be long

    @no-spin, totaly agree

    @coldi, i dint get the message. the post isnt there

  8. hahaha.. kenya first of all the law in kenya states that women cannot work after 6pm except if they are managers or emergency workers .. so most women work after 6 illegally - no joke.
    So we will have 24hr economy that women canot legally partcipate - see the irony of this . tell martha to amend this law first before asking for quotas.

    anywya for the 24hr econmy we need to realignn political and cultural mentality we need to move from an rural focused (rudi mashambani) ideology to really thinking of how we can make cities livable and all the rest will follow. i odnt think most big cities sat down and decided to be 24hrs it just happened. - me thinks we should start with a 1O hr 7days economy first.

    but first we have to amend that little law and other silly laws


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