“Let them eat brioche!”
Queen of France, wife of Louis XIV Maria Theresa, after learning that peasants have no bread to eat.
I have personally witnessed
a wave of copy-pasting successful online business models from the USA and Western Europe, not because the demand for them was particularly exploding, but because they were hot in the West, so there was no reason not to expand to Africa. It took a lot of mistakes, and especially hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign investors money, to realize that you might want to pay a little bit more attention to the local specifics of the market. And that maybe you want to look more East in search of inspirations.
Full lockdown and self-isolation à la China
2. China knows better than Europe what’s best for Africa,
3. Big Bad Europe copied the Chinese approach anyway,
4. African leaders are in love with sugar daddy Xi,
African nations one by one started implementing a similar approach of full city lockdowns and self isolations. And this is where the problems start.
Lockdowns and self-isolation work in rich or strict culture populations. Most African countries are none of them.
If a military dictator turned democratically chosen Nigerian President Buhari says “ #StayTheFuckHome
”, 69% of Nigerians should answer
“What fucking home?”. Rich European countries can simply afford
to pay you for staying home. African countries can’t and won’t. They can’t because they could, but money disappeared. They won’t because if they can do it now, why couldn’t they support the poorest of the poor before? African stimulus plan to combat COVID-19? As far as I’m concerned, there’s been a stimulus plan in action for the last 50 years.
China, Singapur, South Korea, Japan are extraordinary in terms of organization. They are used to strict measures enforcing the law, strong leaders and general obedience of the rules. Africa countries have great rules in place and in most cases good legal system. But rules are nothing without enforcement, and enforcement is always the issue. In regions facing corruption, police actions are focused on enforcing bribes, not rules.
Healthy people, sick economy.
How can you say to 85% of Africans who live day by day
, not to move and work? If they don’t work hustle, they won’t eat tonight. How do you tell them to wash hands for 20 seconds, if there’s no running water and soap?
“Street traders, okada riders
(a.k.a. “Public transportation) and survival sex workers are regularly harassed and brutalized by state agents while trying to earn a living, but the urgency of their economic situation blunts the edge of any risk aversion that they might otherwise have. If rape and torture are not enough to deter people from leaving home every day to try to make some money to survive, a novel coronavirus outbreak is not likely to succeed either. (…) In my city (Lagos), grimy currency notes go from hand to hand throughout the course of everyday life. People sweat on one another in transit. Communal toilets, kitchens, and bathrooms are typical in low-income neighborhoods and can be shared by as many as 40 people in one building. In the poorest neighborhoods, sanitation is non-existent because neither piped water nor sewage management systems are available.” OluTimehin Adegbeye