THE AFRICA WE NEED IN 2013

It is 1400 hours Kenyan time and I am thinking about the year that has gone by…..

What does 2013 hold for Africa as a continent and for its beautiful people…?

If global trends are anything to go by 2013 will be great for online businesses and if Africa hopes to reap gain from this trend it needs to remember a few things….

In 2013 we  need to pay more attention to the products we are putting out there.If we expect to reap from the online business trends, we need to develop standards and regulations that ensure all products meet international  standards .

In 2013 African governments need to develop policies that support the growing crop of entrepreneurs who are running small and medium-sized business because those are the future of business if global trends are anything to go by.

In 2013 we  need to learn from the more developed countries that have industries going back centuries on what it takes to be great.

In 2013 we need to never tire of telling our businessmen and women eager to get into the international markets to never tire of perfecting their crafts ,products or solutions they put out there.

In 2013 Africa  needs to tell its emerging entrepreneurs to know their trade so intimately they could give a lecture to prospective clients in their sleep.

In 2013 we need an Africa so daring in its ventures that the world sits up and listens.

In 2013 we  need to groom African youth to be so enterprising they never look at donor aid as a gift but as a curse.

In 2013 African governments need to work together more for the future of millions of African children who will come after us.

If you think this is what Africa needs in the new year,please share the post and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

AID WILL NEVER SAVE AFRICA

A long time ago when I was still an impressionable 20-year-old,I wanted to work for the United Nations .

somewhere remote,wild where people were in dire straits was my preferred option.

Aid organisations in Africa are a dime a dozen and their fleets of four-wheel drives are always zooming past you on a mission to save some hapless individuals somewhere.

While we cannot dismiss the good work some of the international aid organizations do,we have to admit that “compassion” can only be stretched so far.

I am reading a very interesting book by Andrew Buckoke titled  Fishing in Africa:A Guide to War and Corruption and  got a new phrase there…compassion fatigue.

What happens when the endless streams of dollars ,and Euros are no longer there .

Will Africa watch its children dying because donors have pulled out and the money bags are no longer bottomless.

With so many years that have been invested in the aid business,how many of he projects started can we say have been sustainable over the long-term and have completely obliterated suffering,poverty,malnutrition and  other health issues

I am yet to hear f an aid organisation that has closed shop because it eradicated all of the problems it had set out to alleviate in the first place.

What am I getting at?

Governments in Africa and its citizens need to work harder to ensure that we are not always hang out to dry when western countries can no longer afford to fund our projects.

It is a fact that most countries on the continent are run on donor aid.

We should feel slighted that almost half a century after most of the countries on the continent gained independence we still can’t run our countries independently.

How we are going to do this ?

By ensuring we have better leaders ,people running government and countries need to be committed individuals who put public service before personal interest.

We need to elect leaders who put integrity,hard work and selfless duty before  clan,tribe,color or political interest.

We need to change the way we look at ourselves so that the world stops seeing us as that sorry continent where people cannot put their act together..

We need change.

Please share your thoughts on how else we can inspire change on our beautiful continent…

WHY AFRICA NEEDS TO TAKE CARE OF ITS OWN

In a recent edition of the Business daily there was an article on Coca Cola and not a very flattering one.

It was all about the alarmingly high percentage of 4-MI or methylimidizole a chemical used in the manufacturing of its very popular Coca Cola brand.

Kenya had the highest percentage among 9 countries  of the chemical in the Coca Cola samples tested by an independent US consumer advocacy group.

Norah Odwesso the Public Affairs and Communications director for Coca Cola Central East and West Africa Business unit response was “All of our products are safe and comply with regulations in every country where we operate. Regulators throughout the world have approved the use of caramel in our products.”

Read the full article here

Apparently each and every country in which Coca Cola operates in has different safety standards and for Ms Odwesso so long as they are meeting the minimum requirements in each country and making money it really does not matter.

Africa lacks a continental food safety body like the EU but that should in no way allow Coca Cola to take advantage of the ignorance most countries have on globally accepted safety standards.

As much as we would like to attract foreign investment, African leaders  should be more reasonable and demand safety before profits from the international brands operating on the continent.

Why for Pete’s sake should the Fanta I take in the UK, be  different from the one I take here in Kenya where another possible carcinogen sunset yellow is used as a colorant.

Yet in most other developed countries Coca Cola uses a certain percentage of fruit pulp to manufacture the same brand?

When cheap toys that have certain toxic substances are dumped on the African continent,who is going to protect our children from these harmful substances if our leaders do not put public safety over the cuts they receive for approving importation of these items ?

When inferior brands of household items,baby products like diapers are dumped on our continent who will speak out?

When foreign banks are making mega profits from deposits and very high interest loans from their African branches ,in countries where populations are still living before the poverty line,countries where governments are propped up by foreign aid,is it really fair?

African leaders need to put the needs and the plight of their people before all else.

These brands and businesses selling their products here have no interest in the safety of the continents people,all they care about is money.

Africa needs to look after its own.

Only then will we stop being ridiculed for our ignorance,people will respect us,brands will be more reasonable and stop slowly killing us with inferior products. stand on our own wo feet.