Bridging Access to Electricity Through BOP Markets: Between Economic Equations and Political Configurations

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Abstract

The development of markets for the poorest populations (Base of the Pyramid [BOP]) has become important for multinational companies (MNCs), nongovernmental organizations, and public policies. Assuming that there is demand for very low price consumer products and that the main problem is one of access to those products, the challenge for MNCs is to reconfigure the whole of the corporate process accordingly. The article follows BOP theory and companies' actual innovation. It looks at the definitions of the BOP market, the representation of BOP consumers, and local heterogeneous configurations of actors. Based on fieldwork with an MNC (specializing in electrical equipment) investigating a BOP business, it investigates the work undertaken by managers to build this market innovation. It explores the paradoxical frontiers of consumption and aid to the poorest populations and feeds the reflexion of BOP policies by opening it up toward a diversity of alternatives and possible configurations.

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