I got back from my trip to Nairobi, Kenya on June 29th. It was the rainy season- which meant the fruits were ripe and the streets less congested.
It was fun to navigate the roads and the different methods of transportation available to me. I liked Boda Bodas, but Matatus were my personal favorite. They make the streets interesting, ensure a unique transportation solution for 30% of daily trips in Nairobi, and kept me intrigued about my next ride.
It was also eye opening to see how Chinese companies are winning the market for road infrastructure in Kenya. Just like in Michigan, all roads were under construction, but almost exclusively by the Chinese. My biggest take away though, is realizing that the innovation that China trades with America and American OEMs is not the same quality of that that it trades with Kenya and other African countries.
There is definitely a lot for me to learn and unpack from this trip still, but I thought to share my observations with you upon my return to Detroit.
I often found myself wondering how many Mobility solutions will come out of Kenya (like mobile money transfers and mobile mapping technology did); If there are any structures for these solutions to be piloted in or outside of the continent; and whether there will be a contextual understanding for them in America.
But most importantly, I was and still am very grateful that Challenge Detroit was flexible and allowed me to take time off to experience what Kenya had to offer.