I recently attended the Africa Health Exhibition and Conferences which held for the 3rd time in 2013, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The first thing that struck me was that a 3rd of all the exhibition space available was taken up by exhibitors from China, well organised in the “China Pavilion”, designers and manufacturers of products they had come to sell to African consumers. You could find almost any medical device you can think of, from prefabricated hospitals to surgical needles and everything in between.
But, it was not just the Chinese, but also our old masters and friends. The Germans, our British friends, and even the new superpowers like the Brazilians all had entire pavilions. Other than a few local distributors for international firms based in South Africa, there was hardly any African firm in the entire exhibitor space! In fact the only one, I could find was African Health Placements which focuses on recruiting foreign trained doctors to work in South Africa. I left the bright lights of the exhibition hall deeply worried about how we can “rise” if all we do is buy what others produce. All around the space – we, Africans were walking around, marveling at the products of the knowledge economies around the world, wondering….
But, quickly the thought past ….and I returned to my normal “hustle” mode, looking for opportunities for “sole distributorship” :)….e go better!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead