Will it or won’t it… never mind, let’s just solve it!

“Whether the pressures can be turned into a driving force and the challenges turned to opportunities … is a test of our ability to control a complex situation” – Chinese President Hu Jintao speaking on the global financial crisis (December 1, 2008).

The tug of war between politicians, civil servants, academics, civil society and generally anyone who has an opinion about the effect of the credit crunch on Kenya’s economy has left many of us citizens baffled.

A look at our daily newspapers tells us different stories on the effect of the meltdown. Apart from the agreed negative impact on diaspora remittances, there is disagreement as to the scale of the effect of the financial crunch on the economy and business.

Ask anyone in the tourism sector and they will give you a doom and gloom story about dwindling numbers of tourists, this time not because of political violence, but due to the financial tsunami which has hit developed economies. However, the same question to government will give a response much milder than that.

So what exactly is the impact?

With no consensus as to the impact, if there is, we suggest a more apt question should be what Chinese President Hu Jintao asked:

What can we do to ensure that the country remains competitive and turn these adversities into opportunities?

So far, there has hardly been any debate on this. It’s like bickering over who spilt the toxic chemicals into a river and doing nothing whilst people die!

Reduced external demand is definitely going to affect many businesses and the BPO sector in particular is going to have major causalities, unless solutions such as seeking out local and regional market opportunities are implemented.

Africa mainly due to its isolation has managed to weather the financial storm sweeping much of Europe, the US, Asian tiger economies, China, and the newly emerging giants of Brazil and India.

The time is now to focus on Africa as a market. Books such as Vijay Mahajan’s “Africa Rising” expound on the opportunities offered by this 900 million consumer market. Mahajan points to a market with high commodity prices, greater political stability in many countries, fewer wars, better communications and economic growth of around 6.5% as being plus points for doing business in Africa.

Instead of primary goods, African consumers are now demanding sophisticated goods such as cellphones and IT, concluding that the prospects are too sweet to ignore for any business.

The time is up to debate if the meltdown has had an effect or will have an effect on our economy.

Beijing plans to spend 18 trillion yuan ($2.6 trillion) in 2009 alone to help blunt the impact of the global financial crisis. What are WE going to do about it?


About yipe
Yipe an acronym for the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise is an organization that assists entrepreneurs to start up and manage their small businesses.

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