Monrovia is awash in $1 apples. Apples aren’t grown here; word on the street is the fruit were American grown, shipped to China, delivered to the Chinese troops peacekeeping in Liberia, and finally sold on the black market.
This is globalization gone terribly, terribly awry. I mean, can’t the Chinese peacekeepers eat (locally-grown) mangos and pineapples?
I would blame the UN procurement beast, but the private sector breeds mutant markets as well.
Two years ago, I bought my sister-in-law a sisal purse in Uganda. Christmas day in Ottawa, she opens the present with delight. “Where’s this from?” she asks, as she peeks inside. No sooner than I have replied “Uganda”, she spots the tag sewn inside the bag: “Made in Canada”.
We live in a world where it is economically feasible to sew purses in Canada, ship them to Uganda, to be sold to Canadians who will fly them back to their home as gifts. If there was ever a sadder statement on the African private sector, I don’t know it.