Marketplace of Ideas: can you help us to pioneer pay-as-you-go bicycles in Zambia? (open invitation)

A simple answer to an entrenched problem?

A few weeks ago Jasmine Bourne of DFID shared her experience of visiting rural Zambia to understand the impacts that inadequate mobility can have on economic and human development. Bicycles are one of the oldest, simplest and cheapest transportation technologies and yet they remain stubbornly out of reach for many in Zambia — as a result, many basic daily tasks such as water collection, selling produce at market and accessing education and health services become exhausting and time consuming activities for the majority.

We believe there is scope to consider the role technology could play in advancing access to bicycles in Zambia. Technology which is increasingly prevalent in the solar home system market may be a part of the solution. Pay as you go (PAYG) methods help reduce credit risks, make money more traceable and allow staging of payments over time.

Meanwhile, technology now widely adopted in North America, Europe and Asia is allowing bicycles to be locked and unlocked remotely and tracked through GPS. What might the combination of these developments and opportunities do for mobility in Zambia? Meanwhile, many bikes currently used in Zambia are imported and some are of questionable quality. But we’ve been impressed with the design and build of local brands like Buffalo Bicycles and Zambikes. Is it possible that broadening access to bicycles designed for the local environment could not only increase mobility but also help to create jobs and build the local economy?

Our call for help

To help find the answer, DFID Zambia is excited to be starting a pilot testing the potential of combining mobile payments technology with pay-as-you-go or lease-to-own bike schemes. To catalyse our activity, we are seeking to invite a range of stakeholders to a marketplace of ideas to present our thoughts to date, solicit feedback and invite you to work with us to make this idea a reality.

We are looking to work with mobile payments providers, local bicycle providers, locking solutions providers as well as experts with a keen understanding of and interest in bicycle mobility in Zambia. If this sounds like you, please put the below date in your diary for our marketplace of ideas…

This is taking place on:

Time: June 12th at 2pm — 4pm (Lusaka time), 1pm — 3pm (UK time)

Location: Online or in person at BongoHive | Plot 16948B | Thabo Mbeki Rd | Lusaka | Zambia

To register to attend, please fill out your name and contact details on this googleform.

This brief presentation outlines out thoughts to date, including our vision, initial hypothesis and approach.

We would love to hear your feedback and suggestions at our event. Our marketplace of ideas will also likely lead to a request for proposals to partner with us on this project.

This initiative is a part of the UK Dept. For International Development’s Frontier Technology Livestreaming programme/fund, helping DFID apply frontier technologies to the biggest challenges in development.

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