“Africa will not be affected by the credit crunch.” Don’t you wish you could find the buggers who said those words and give them a severe thrashing? At the beginning of the year, general consensus was that the financial crisis would not affect Africa. Some one forgot to tell the boss that. Coz right now, every thing is being blamed on the crunch. Mark <an auditor in a leading firm> is irked by the announcement that there will be no payrise this year due to the crunch. “How about the longer hours and more money we brought in ?” He asks in vain. Betty <program coordinator in a US sponsored NGO> is facing similar problems. “We are having heavier workload and taking up duties of vacant positions. They are no longer hiring. Its too much stress but at least I’m losing weight.” But its not only the workplace being affected, costs are rising across the board. Neil <withheld> swore at the taxi guy when he was told that there are no more routes at the money he was offering. Even the walking away stunt failed to work.. His exact words were : “bloody %@*& idiot $@#*$ .” Paul <MOFPDED> nearly cried when he was shopping and could not believe the price tags on the shelves . Difficult times call for desperate measures. Stella <DSM> has reduced on her girls night out. “we used to do two a month but now we do two every three months. And they are more fun.” Johnny <Warid> is doing the Kenyan thing of going out only on Friday. “I don’t do these kampala theme nights anymore. Too expensive. And
some weeks I just stay home.” Joel in Nairobi simply travels to kampala to party. “Man beer is cheaper in the Kabaka’s land.” Phionah has moved to Kigali . “There is no night life here. What would I spend on?” she reasons. Rhino <self employed> only does house parties. “A whisky bottle from a supermarket and you are set for the night. ” Eddy <construction firm> has discovered supermarkets. “Beer in supermarkets is so cheap. I just go with my crew and park like two cars in the parking lot and keep refueling from nakumatt. Music is there and company is chosen. what more could you want? ” (Nakumatt lot on weekend nights is filled with crews hanging out—Editor ). Esther <ESKOM> just does bulk shopping. “Buy in bulk, save in bulk.” some others like Hamu <ooomphdesigners> have disappeared altogether from the social scene. Kagimu <UBA> has relocated upcountry. “Till its over,” he says.
We are all hoping that it will be over some time soon.
<This article was written in 2009. Africa did survive the harshest of the credit crunch. Please refer to the Mckinsey report “Lions on the Move” – Editor>