The Sharing Economy, African Style: A Comparative Assessment of the Kenyan and Nigerian Digital Sharing Economies
The sharing economy, often hailed as the future of the crowd-based capitalism, has disrupted many industries, stagnant business models, and consumer choice with vanguard companies like Uber and Airbnb leading the way. With little accompanying research, African countries have been assumed to be the next frontier for the sharing economy, a concept that has long existed in the African context—albeit in an informal and organic fashion. Africa’s burgeoning middle class and vast youth population are anticipated to foster the growth of a formalized sharing economy and permit the continent to leapfrog to sustainable development. However, amongst the current scant literature on the sharing economy, there is even fewer on the outlook of the sharing economy in the African context. My thesis will focus on the possibility of a successful digital sharing economy in Nigeria and Kenya, Africa’s emerging innovation hubs. Specifically, through a comparative case study, my research will aim to answer the following research questions: How do people describe and exemplify a sharing economy in two distinct spaces? Why and how might a sharing economy in Nairobi, Kenya differ from that of Lagos, Nigeria? What drives these similarities and differences?
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