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Archive for the ‘Kenya’ Category

Coke in Africa

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Often, in conversation about medical drug distribution, Coca Cola is idolized for its ability to deliver its products to the most remote locations. Certainly, Coke’s distribution network is impressive.  As this story from a recent Business Week edition suggests, Coca Cola is pursuing a strategy that is inclusive of local micro-vendors in Africa.

Kingori’s sundry store—known locally as a “duka“—also sells plastic buckets and mattresses, and is no larger than a small bedroom. Her Gold status brings benefits, like an introduction to Coke’s globally standardized selling techniques. She’s urged by Coke to promote combo meals to boost profits, and so red menu signs supplied by the beverage company suggest a 300-milliliter Coke and a ndazi, which is a kind of greasy donut, for 25 Kenyan shillings. Coke also paid for the red refrigerated drink cooler at the entrance to the shop, which is protected by a blue cage. She’s told to keep it full to draw attention, and to stock it according to a diagram inside: Coca-Cola always at the top, Fanta in the middle, large bottles on the bottom. At stores down Naivasha Road, and throughout the continent and the rest of the world, Coke fridges are stocked in similar fashion.

Coca-Cola teaches these mini-distributors everything about how to run a business—from things as simple as waiting until the midday rush before icing down the Cokes to save resources to how to buy a house with their newfound wealth.

via Longreads


Written by Niall

May 29, 2011 at 11:04 am

Posted in Africa, Kenya

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When the History of the Development Debate is Written…

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…this paragraph from Michela Wrong’s It’s Our Turn to Eat should figure prominently when reflecting on the first half of this decade:

By the turn of the century, Western policy in the developing world was increasingly being set not in ministeril offices but by NGOs – organizations like Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid. The Make Poverty History campaign, pushing for the cancellation of Africa’s foreign debt and dramatic increases in Western aid levels, was gathering momentum. Jeffrey Sachs, the brilliant American economist who campaigned in favour of a massive hike in funding, appeared to have won the emotional, if not the intellectual, argument. Other analysts might shake their heads at Sach’s simplistic formula for the continent’s recovery, but he had successfully wooed pop-star campaigners like Bono and Sir Bob Geldof, and their abilty to mobilise a younger generation bored by traditional politics awed Western governments. Whether on the right or the left, political parties realised that promising to ‘save’ Africa was a potential vote winner in the eyes of an idealistic coming generation. No wonder members of the African elite, aware of these pressures, sometimes sounded unappetisingly smug when contemplating tortured Western attitudes to the continent. As one Kenyan newspaper editor told me: ‘What we Africans have realized is that your leaders need to lend to us more than we need to be lent to.’

See Chris Blattman’s review of the book.

Written by Niall

June 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm

“If you fight corruption, it fights you back.”

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Quoted from a recent article by Celia Dugger on corruption in Africa.

I am currently reading Michela Wrong’s It’s Our Turn to Eat, a thoroughly engaging account of John Githongo’s life and struggle to fight corruption in Kenya. This is by far one of the best books on contemporary African politics. In particular, it provides a very accessible introduction to Kenyan politics.

Githongo is one of the modern-day heros of Africa. Former head of Transparency International-Kenya, he was picked by an incoming President Mwai Kibaki in 2003 to be the anti-corruption head for the Kenyan government. Up against inertial tendencies toward graft and shady deals, Githongo quickly realized that the plague of corruption was deeply seeded in the upper echelons of Kenyan officials. Refusing to play the puppet, Githongo pursued a strategy of collecting evidence against fellow government officials by recording audio tracks of meetings. Carrying these tapes and other evidence with him, Githongo went into self-imposed exile in London.

In Dugger’s article, Githongo (now back in Kenya) is quoted:

“Going after big fish hasn’t worked,” he said. “The fish will not fry themselves.”

Written by Niall

June 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Africa, Kenya

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Man bites dog. Scratch that…

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A New York Sun editor, John B. Bogart, is attributed with the following quote:

When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.

Well, Mr. Bogart must be having a chuckle somewhere…

From the BBC: Man bites snake in epic struggle.

Too much.

Written by Niall

April 16, 2009 at 6:45 am

Posted in Africa, Journalism, Kenya