Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Africa's Trade Dilemma: Cheap Chinese Imports or More Expensive Kenyan Products?

 Kenya's Star published on 4 March 2023 a commentary titled "Why Kenya Can No Longer Make the Goods It Used To" by Godfrey Kimega.

A Chinese entrepreneur opened "China Square" shopping mall in Nairobi in January.  It became popular with Kenyan consumers because of its low prices for imported Chinese goods.  Kenyan traders protested, forcing the government to briefly shut down the mall, because the traders could not sell comparable Kenyan products at the same low prices.  The government subsequently allowed "China Square" to reopen.

Comment:  This is an issue playing out across Africa.  The cost of production in Kenya and some other African countries is higher than the cost of equivalent imported Chinese goods (and goods from some other countries).  African manufacturers and vendors are just not able to compete.  Consumers are pleased with the lower prices, but manufacturers and sellers are upset.