I am an African consumer; therefore you should understand me and stop pushing stupid and silly products in my face because you think I need them.

What happened to understanding my needs as a consumer before you flood our markets with fake and lame goods?

Instead of hiring my continent’s people who understand my needs more properly, you send ‘expatriates’ who have no idea what I need or even what matters to me and then you call it ‘development’?

Adock Ingram’s Managing Executive – Africa, Mr Kofi Amegashie once wrote:

“To understand any consumer, you have to put yourself in his or her shoes. That’s why you need people who understand, live and breathe the consumer environment in any given market.”

Now that should be the investor’s driving force when investing in Africa.

By the way, we are not stupid as you tend to think. Yes we might be ‘poor’ and less developed but that doesn’t mean we are stupid.

Why don’t you hire people with knowledge about my continent when you set up an office in my country?  Why do you have to flood our markets with fake items and price them highly? I am poor but you still go ahead and exploit me.

Amegashie says the greatest issues faced by lower income people on the continent are affordability, accessibility and acceptability. You understand that, right?!

He gives an example;

“Let’s take man on the street in Africa – the equivalent of a security guard or gardener here in South Africa – affordability is a major issue and purchases are based on absolute cash in pocket. This person is not going to buy a 100ml or 200ml bottle of fever or cough suppressant when his child is sick. He is lucky if he has a fridge at home – so where does he store the product once it has been opened? In South Africa we sell product in 100ml and 200ml bottles.”

“Our entire manufacturing process is geared towards producing this product, but we can’t assume it is what we should be selling on the continent. The vast majority of people on the street are immediate consumption people – when they get a headache or cough, they want something immediately. They have limited cash in their pockets and don’t want to buy something that might go to waste.”

Do you understand that the way you package your products matters to me? These paper bags of yours that you use are for the lesser few who can purchase your products from shopping malls and supermarkets.  As an average consumer I buy my products on the street, market stalls and small shops.

In regard to data, you love it as investors since it is the new mechanism to analyze consumer’s behaviours but what have you done to improve it? By the way, I’m talking to you Telecoms.

Thank you for the internet infrastructure set up but pricing your data highly doesn’t help me.

Understanding the customer also means knowing what is acceptable to them.

It first appeared on UGO Uganda Blogs 

Patricia Kahill

is a Social Media, Content Creator and Marketer at Kahill Insights. A Development Practitioner who has no self talent but is driven by curiosity and passion; in a nutshell she is a Multipotentialite. She believes in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which makes her a Christian.

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