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December 11, 2018

How our economy can become Africa's biggest

A few weeks ago the people in charge of the Nigerian economy decided to start measuring their economy using international standards. They also opted to add sections of the Nigerian economy that had never been counted in the country’s calculations before like the multi-billion film industry known as Nollywood.

With these changes it emerged that the biggest economy on the continent is actually Nigeria; it is also the 27th largest economy on the planet. As I watched I realised then actions of the Nigerian economic bosses may have given us as a nation to also become a top dog in the African economic front.

Perhaps we too could get in on the action by rebasing some of our often unsung industries to show our bite on the continental stage. Here are a few industries that the mandarins at the ministry of planning should start including in the national economy figures;

 

a) Religious industry

Today pastors (and their wives also pastors in their own right) are among the most well off Kenyan citizens driving the biggest cars and living in the flashiest homes in the most sought out addresses.

The most notorious of these are the ones we see on our TV screens asking you to send them SH333 for anointing oil so that you may be blessed in all you do.

Even the aspiring preachers are in on it as they get into your public transport as you are going to work or leaving for home after a long day. Even though all you are looking for at this time is peace and quiet, they are very happy to yell at the people in the matatu about the love of Jesus. They will then ask for “something small for mchungaji (God’s shepherd)” just before a majority of the people disembark.

The minute the government decides to get in on this sector of the economy and insist on their share of the piece as “Caesar” we will see a huge bump in Kenya’s fortunes almost overnight.

 

b) The NGOs industry

Another big industry that rarely gets to be spoken about is Civil Society popularly known as non-governmental organisations or NGOs. These are the folks who have taken upon themselves to help their fellow man here on earth without necessarily invoking religion.

If you watch international TV stations you will see these organisations saying how for only one US dollar a day a donor will be able to take care of a child in Africa with food and a safe home.

Watching these advertisements I always wish that I could take my own child to their facilities because at 1 US dollar (Sh90) all I am able to buy is one package of Dairy Fresh flavoured milk and an apple for their break at school. What on earth do these “only one dollar a day” children eat?

Even with this it has been known that the NGOs sector has become very big. A good sign of this is that the banking industry has recognised their power and thus have set up departments targeting these organisations.

If banks, the greediest money grabbers in Kenya, can see the money flowing in NGO coffers what is preventing our own government getting in on the action and using their monies as part of the rebasing efforts?

 

c) Mobile money for love

The biggest change in Kenya’s economy in recent times is the mobile money phenomenon. Many the world over try and understand that one can pay for their beers in a bar or pay for your haircut with a simple tap on their cell phone. Here it is second nature.

With the growth in the mobile money sector we have seen many things in the mobile field. Now all you need to do is SMS a certain number which costs a certain amount of money above network and your will access your one true love.

This is a marvel if you consider how difficult it is to date a typical Nairobian. You the dater will always be seen as someone with something very wrong with you are going on your first date.

Thus it doesn’t matter if you bring your best “Tujuane” moves and take your date to the national park or even ice skating as your actions will be seen in a negative light. As a lady you are not safe either as however you look and dress, you will either be a Kiatu or a loose woman.

With the dates not working you can be sure that many are SMSing like crazy as they try to find their one true love. Those smses will go a long way to Kenya being Africa’s number one economy.

 

Venue review: The Galaxy Bar, Chaka Road

I’ve been seeing this sign for a place called The Lunch Place whenever I am in the Hurlingham area on the corner of Chaka Road and Argwings-Khodek Road in recent times.

Right next to this sign there is another for Galaxy Bar promising everything you would expect in a Nairobi place of drinking. I was in the general area last weekend meeting a good friend in a nearby place with some time to kill. So when I saw the sign I figured that I may as well check this place out.

The Galaxy Bar is at the back of a one storey complex which is one of those homes that were once people’s homes but are slowly being phased out in that part of town for offices.

This particular drink place has the combination of an outside area where one can drink in the open and enjoy the Nairobi. Also optional is an inner drinking space which I made my way to as I was worrying that there might be one of those sudden Nairobi showers that appear and disappear randomly.

This inner place can occupy very few people as there were just a few high tables and chairs which were great for me but I doubt would work too well for many of our sisters in their fancy dresses and high heels.

A young attractive waitress came dressed in a light brown blouse with “The Lunch Place” emblazoned at the front. I asked for my usual cold Tusker which at this place was retailing at the princely sum of Sh220; there is a reason why I am drinking more and more at my house with these prices. When she brought the beer I engaged her on this relatively quiet place; which was the best night to come through and have a drink?

She explained that the Galaxy Bar only operated on Saturday. The rest of the time it was The Lunch Place which explained the uniform she was wearing.

Above the bar there were a few TVs for those like myself with a fetish for English Football and other European sports broadcasting from that Northern continent that once ruled ours.

There were very few folks in here, a few couples who were on the “older” side – late thirties to early fifties – and the guys were keenly watching the international rugby.

I have few issues with escaping in an emergency in this place. The pub can host such few people that if anything untoward was to happen it would be a shock to me. Washrooms are sparkling clean but make are designed without the wheelchair –bound people in mind.

 

A quick recap of the venue;

Good: Decent décor, easy to access, great service from extremely attractive waitresses, clean washrooms, outdoor and indoor options available,

Bad: Pricey, Disability unfriendly.

My verdict: It only operates on Sunday but this one of those hidden little gems to hide away from prying eyes close to the Central Business District.

Poll of the day