Economics of imported human hair
THERE has always been talk that economically females spend so much money on dead things. Maybe due to the fact that resurrection is a great phenomenon our fairer sex would like to demystify the principle by the high expenditure oblivious of the wider economic implications.
Females spend a lot of financial resources or otherwise (including time) on their skin, lashes, nails and hair and policy makers are baffled.
Yes, they are spending their hard earned money, but the amounts are just beyond comprehension. At what cost does this come? How huge is the import bill to the detriment of the economy due to the non productive nature of the expenditure?
Are people aware that the art of being beautiful is even affecting others that don’t even know what’s happening and probably don’t care?
Let’s look at statistics during the past years. In 2013 local women blew $8.5 million on hair and hair products and between January and March 2014 they spent $4,4 million.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the products were imported mainly from South Africa, China, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Euro monitor International says Africa combined is spending $7 billion annually on wigs, hair extensions and relaxers despite limited financial resources in the women’s spheres. These are huge figures by any measure. You do not have to be a super mathematician to understand what the above figures mean and their wider implications.
And to think these are only recorded statistics, we shudder to think what could be the actual numbers.
Figures will never lie but liars will always figure to suit their circumstances.
Add bottled water, tooth picks, sanitary pads, flyers and you wonder, are we ready to see Zimbabwe start to work again.
With non Zimra compliance on these, it is scary and over the years how much has been lost due to importation of such yet we are screaming liquidity crunch. The mind boggles what sort of liquidity are we talking about? The economy’s worst nightmare is its own economic actors within its borders with or without their knowledge.
Isn’t this some kind of peer pressure in terms of class seeking antics that affect the wearer and non-wearer of these weaves? Are the conditions of harvesting the hairs humane to encourage such trade?
Don’t they violate the human rights conditions or labour rights? Are they brought into the country at a premium to our country treasury? And by buying them are we not complicit to these violations? Is the headache worth it after all has been said and done?
At individual level probably yes it’s serving its purpose but at national level it is cancerous to say the least.
If we were to ask females to go easy on the hair will that be too much to ask to help ease the bleeding of scarce resources? A little bit of looking ‘hideous’ to save our economy? Are we sacrificing the home budget just to be cosmetically advantaged?
It’s the simple financial things that we tend to overlook that cause bigger economic headaches. If we can’t handle the hair economics how can we be trusted to handle countrywide economics, some are asking.
Let’s campaign to save our economy. Please let’s shave our heads or go natural for a limited time.
Do we still continue being broke but looking nice? Do we still go hungry but having a weave on? Do we still dent the household profit and loss account because we have imported hair pieces to look drop dead gorgeous? Is this self-actualisation?
Above all can we afford this? At what cost are we looking nice though it is an individual preference with a national catastrophe. It’s like one driving big cars but still being accountable to a land lady (lord).
In our earlier articles we described mothers as chief economists of the house so there is a need to balance trivialities like these so that we keep the home at excellent financial freedom thresholds.
Are we aware of the consequences of our little individual actions in the collective financial freedom activism? What if we also look at other avenues that are draining scarce resources without us being aware what it is? We will collapse because we can see its self inflicted financial agony and it’s continuing unabated.
Yes it is hair but whose hair and at whose expense and from an African cultural perspective can this be considered wrong to hoard other people’s hair and bleed the little financial resources we have.
Those that can afford it are all honky dory but affording is just not limited to one’s deeper pockets. There is always the bigger scheme of things.
Why should hair cause so much economic challenges when it’s all dead? Be bold go bold or natural and celebrate your Africanness if you are ready to save the economy.
Ladies you are considered the backbone of the community and the chief economists of the house but are you ready to tackle this head-on with the tenacity it requires?
Emotionally we deliberately chose hair and hair products but we can extend to other products and analyse accordingly.
IF YOU LIVE IN BYO PLEASE CONSERVE WATER
IF YOU LIVE IN ZIMBABWE PLEASE USE ELECTRICITY SPARINGLY: SOS (SWITCH OFF SWITCHES)
IF YOU LIVE ON PLANET EARTH PLEASE PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
Morris Mpala is the managing director of MoB Capital Limited, a Bulawayo headquartered microfinance institution with footprint across the country.