Eco­nomics of im­ported hu­man hair

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Mor­ris Mpala

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.




Mor­ris Mpala is the man­ag­ing direc­tor of MoB Cap­i­tal Limited, a Bu­l­awayo head­quar­tered mi­cro­fi­nance in­sti­tu­tion with foot­print across the coun­try.

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