If you want to know that as Africans we have failed what you are about to read is enough testimony. Before you get feelings , emotional and defensive about it here is why .
I am very keen when shopping to see where an item has been manufactured.
Pepsodnet toothpaste is manufactured in Vietnam yes in Vietman a country that was ravaged by war in the 70’s and 80’s when most of us were fairly stable.
This Pepsodent is manufactured by Unilever in Vietnam for Ghana. Uganda and you guessed right Kenya my home. Ghana was the first country in Africa to gain independence in 1957 that is 64 years ago. Uganda and Kenya were next heading to 60 years.
Population wise Ghana 31M Kenya 52M Uganda 42M with a combined population of 120+ we are NOT able to produce toothpaste to clean our teeth , all our dentist could do is to endorse these products. Add Nigeria 170M Ethiopia 100M et al.
As Africans we should hang our heads in shame. 60+ years we have to import such basic stuff but we are quick to chesthumb when we are challenged by others .
We dont produce oil and we dont exploit any rare earth minerals to make us a net importer so why cant we produce such basics to save the rare hard currency?
Let’s now do some maths .
If only 50 million of us in these 3 countries bought a tube a month that cost $2 we are talking of $100M a month and in one year we are talking of $1.2 Billion which is what tourism earned Kenya in 2018.
In the 70s and 80s even when we had political agitations and late Moi faced serious run in with IMF and World Bank we were producing most of these basics. We had colgate, close up , dettol soap, protex, and many others all manufactured in Kenya.
In 2021 we have sunk so low that our educated youth are busy slashing shrubs by the roadside in the name of Kazi kwa Vijana while leadership zoom past in fuel guzzlers and even worse is when others sell Wheelbaronmics to be the future and next big thing for Kenya.
Ghana. Uganda & Kenya we should all be shamed of ourselves and our leaders owe us an apology. Please dont tell me about cost of electricity as the only reason why manufacturers are giving Kenya a wide berth.
Unilever is British.
Britain has just gone through a divorce with EU. Unilever MUST be made and encouraged to come and set up shop here for all their consumables. Africa we dont want aid we want trade but again our leaders MUST wake up from their deep slumber and drop their selfish approach to life.
It’s no rocket science . What is the use of Kenya power and Kengen posting some forced profits when we know they are all bleeding . Its very easy to support these industries with cheaper power and in return we get more Kenyans employed and more taxes paid locally.
$1.2Billion is Ksh 120 Billion. You do the same maths for all other consumables and you will realise that we are all busy exporting jobs yet we can easily gainfully employ our young people in decent places. Asking graduates to cut grass by the roadside as casual labourers or to fall in love with a wheelbarrow is USHENZI. Worst part is when we clap for such backward thoughts and we sanitise it as empowerment.
I dont think all is lost . Its high time we discouraged these imports and let’s cut down the talk at workshops. Let’s get some work done.
Well as always I choose to remain an optimist.