Consumerism is the engine of our contemporary society. It drives the ambitions of 21st Century businesses and large corporates, resulting in a massive all-out assault on the senses of the consumer. By feeding into the frenzy associated with the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts, businesses continually re-invent the cycle, creating a culture of consumption that keeps the global economy ticking.
Indeed, as Bernard Mandeville argued in his influential work Fable of the Bees in 1714, a country’s prosperity ultimately lies in the self-interest of the consumer. This school of thought, controversial as it may have sounded back then, paints a realistic picture of the current state of affairs in the 21st Century.
Today, advertising is perhaps the biggest promoter of consumerism.
In the current age of information overload, one in which a variety of eye-catching goods and services are marketed through a multiplicity of intrusive channels and media, the average consumer’s life is perpetually in need of some product, an upgrade or a switch to a better existence. Worse still, there is an increasingly growing tendency to not only push the consumer to the point of distraction with the deluge of promotional contents, but to get him to accept alien shopping traditions, messages and cultures as a result of the global influence of consumerism.
This trend finds deeper relevance in the concept of emulation, widely regarded as a major plank of latter-day consumerism. The poor attempt to emulate the rich; the rich look up to the stupendously wealthy; modern consumers react positively to celebrity endorsement as a measure of emulating or aspiring to the perceived lifestyle or status of public figures and, more to the point, native consumers are force-fed largely alien or foreign shopping ideas that find no relevance in their cultural realities.
What does Black Friday mean to a native African or Nigerian?
To begin with, the term has no local significance but has its origins in a foreign tradition. Put differently, Black Friday represents another form of neo-colonialism; a repudiation of what makes us African and a wholesale acceptance of the sub-texts of another man’s culture without any form of questioning.
An informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the fourth Thursday of November, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952, Black Friday – as a term – only began to assume widespread recognition around the early 2000s. The earliest evidence of the application of the phrase Black
Friday to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context suggests that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.
Indeed, alternative history indicates that the first recorded use of the term – Black Friday – was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis and the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. As the phrase became more widespread, a popular explanation became that this day represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black.
Today, many Nigerians who have little or no idea of the associated meanings or etymology of the term – Black Friday – glory in the consumerism-driven fever which advertising has helped entrench in the minds without paying heed to how the term came about.
When an entire people lose their way and emulate culturally-alien concepts, there should be a conscious effort to query the norm, to ask questions and to customize these imports to suit native circumstances or existential realities. Little wonder the famous Greek philosopher Socrates quipped: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Presently, Black Friday is widely regarded as the busiest shopping event of the year, with research indicating that spending on Black Friday 2017 raked in $7.9 billion in online sales (up 17.9% from 2016) while a whopping $700 billion was recorded throughout the November – December period, a 5.5% rise from 2016.
Perhaps, we would be better off looking inwards for a more fitting term, an original word to situate our acceptance of the annual celebration of global consumerism.
None comes to mind better than what Konga, a Nigerian e-commerce giant, has done with the term – Yakata.
Yakata, in the local Nigerian parlance, means crashing. In other words, the term is used to signify what the annual shopping fiesta has come to represent to the brand and its numerous patrons: a time to crash prices and offer consumers best deals on a wide range of goods and services.
Rather than slavishly ape an alien concept – which Black Friday remains despite the global phenomenon it has become – Konga has given us a refreshing variation on the theme by re-christening it Konga Yakata. Interestingly, Konga has also gone beyond just jumping on the Black Friday band-wagon to actually making it a sales event worth participating in.
Konga Yakata, as an original term finds more relevance with Nigerians and Africans, is indigenous and most importantly, lends a proudly local flavour to what is a very important shopping activity in the annual calendar. Through it, Konga has managed to do what other e-commerce companies have been unable to do: take a foreign concept, adapt it our local circumstances and weave/build a solid original structure around it which every patriotic Nigerian shopper should be proud of.
Robert Flynn, an e-commerce researcher from New Jersey, resides in Abuja
Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in cost of goods – Nigerian Breweries
Nigerian Breweries has revealed that Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in the cost of its goods in 2020.
The Finance Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rob Kleinjan, has revealed that the increase in the brewer’s costs of goods was due to the devaluation in naira and FX scarcity, which led to the increase in the cost of inputs such as sorghum and sugar, as they are not fully produced locally.
This disclosure was made during the Nigerian Breweries’ Fact Behind Figures results presentation today.
However, Kleinjan explained that the increase in cost could not be fully attributed to currency devaluation and foreign exchange scarcity, which exerts pressure on imported input materials.
He said the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ costs of goods sold, as reported in its unaudited financial results, could also be linked to the volume of goods sold, as the company’s sales volume in Q3 increased by almost the same percentage as the cost of goods sold.
However, Mr. Kleinijan reiterated that to mitigate further losses, it was important for the company to focus on the supply chain and seek ways to mitigate price increases.
What they are saying
The Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Jordi Borrut, while speaking at the virtual event said:
“In 2020, the results of Nigerian Breweries were adversely impacted by COVID, VAT increase, FX devaluation and scarcity of foreign exchange. The year started with a promising 1st quarter, which was heavily impacted in Q2. The Nigerian market, however, rebounded in Q3.”
Mr. Rob Kleinjan, while explaining the factors behind the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ cost of goods sold in the first nine months of 2020, said:
“It is also clear that the increase in cost is due to the devaluation and the FX scarcity which has put pressure on our input cost. If you look into the main elements we use, which are sorghum and sugar – they are not fully produced locally, so when the currency is devalued, the prices of these inputs will soar.
“That’s why it’s important that we are focused on the supply chain, and seek for ways we can mitigate any of the price increases, because the increase in cost comes from the input prices, which come from FX scarcity.”
United Securities Limited changes name to Coronation Registrars Limited
United Securities Limited formally notifies its numerous customers and stakeholders of a change of name to Coronation Registrars Limited.
In line with section 30(3) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA), United Securities Limited has formally notified its numerous customers and stakeholders that it has obtained regulatory approval from the Corporate Affairs Commission to change its name to Coronation Registrars Limited.
The disclosure is contained in a verified post on Linkedln, signed by the firm’s Secretary, Omotoyosi Kola-Ojo, and seen by Nairametrics.
What this means
In line with the recent corporate action and according to section 30(5) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the company has been issued a new Certificate of Incorporation by the Registrar General of the commission, evidencing the change of name.
What they are saying
A verified post by the Firm read thus: “The Public is hereby informed that United Securities Limited having passed the necessary Special Resolutions in line with Section 30(3) of Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA) and obtained the necessary regulatory approval of the Corporate Affairs Commission, has changed its name to CORONATION REGISTRARS LIMITED.
“The public is further informed that pursuant to Section 30(5) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the company has been issued a new certificate of incorporation by the Registrar General of the Commission evidencing the change of name. All stakeholders are requested to take note of the above information.”
We have exported 7 clinker vessels to other African countries since June – Dangote Cement
Dangote Cement says it has exported 7 clinker vessels to other African countries since June.
The Group Executive Director of Dangote Cement, Michel Pucheros, announced that Dangote Cement, Africa’s leading cement producer with nearly 48.6Mta (Million Metric Tonnes Annually) capacity across Africa, has exported 7 clinker vessels to date to other African countries.
This statement was disclosed by Mr. Pucheros in a press release issued on the Group’s performance in the third quarter.
- The cement maker exported 2 vessels of clinker per month to Cameroon in the third quarter of 2020 via the Apapa export terminal, which takes the Group’s clinker export for the quarter to 6 vessels.
- In addition to its maiden shipment vessel to Senegal, which is a total of 27.8Kt of clinker, took its clinker exports to other African countries from June to date to 7 vessels.
In his statement, Mr. Pucheros said, “We continue to focus on our export strategy and are on track to ensure West and Central Africa become cement and clinker independent, with Nigeria as the main supply hub.
“Clinker exports have steadily been ramping up in Q3 after our maiden shipment in June 2020, whilst land exports have also resumed.”
However, as the Group ramp-up production across all segments and regions to reach its cement production and bagging capacity of 48.55 Mta, he said,
“Dangote Cement’s strategy to offer high-quality products at competitive prices is meeting customers’ expectations in Nigeria and across the continent, where we continue to deploy excellent marketing initiatives and operational excellence across the continent.”
- Clinker is a nodular material which is used as the binder in cement products. Clinker is produced inside the kiln during the cement manufacturing process.
- The primary use of clinker is to manufacture cement, as cement is produced by grinding clinker.
What you should know
Nairametrics had reported that Dangote Cement Acting CFO, Guillaume Moyen, during a virtual event in September disclosed that the cement producer is set to commence clinker export to other African countries within the next few weeks.
He reiterated that the Management of the company is on course to sell more clinker across West Africa, and commence shipment to Central Africa in H2 2020.
Why it matters
The export of clinker to countries where limestones are not available in huge quantities gives these countries a chance to produce its cement for construction purposes.