Robert Neuwirth on the Informal Economy in Africa

by Jörgen Eriksson on July 3, 2015

Screenshot 2015-07-03 12.19.29Wednesday this week, I watched a speech by Robert Neuwirth at the Future of Places conference, which I found both very good and entertaining. As it is Friday, I think it is an appropriate day to publish my video of the speech here on the Bearing Wave.

Mr Neuwirth describes the informal economy in Africa in a fascinating way. Having worked with projects in Africa on-and-off myself for 20 years, I enjoyed the speech very much, as he successfully pointed out the quick fixes and sometimes innovative complex shortcuts which makes the African economies work, and also how globalisation plays a strong role, with African street vendors travelling to markets in China to buy cheap pirated mobile phones.

Mr Neuwirth is an American journalist, author, and investigative reporter. He wrote Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World in 2006, a book describing his experiences living in squatter communities in Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul and Mumbai. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post and Forbes and his second book, Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, was published in 2011. Having seen him speak, I put both books on my summer reading list.

Robert Neuwirth Learning from squatters smugglers and street vendors

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