The Canada-Uganda connection

Shouldn't the African nation be able to manufacture its own imitation-African products cheaper than Canada?

By Andrew Leonard

Published June 23, 2009 11:14PM (EDT)

I will just quote the last two paragraphs of a post from Yale political scientist Chris Blattman, currently doing field research in Liberia, on globalization gone awry. But if you're interested in such oddities as the fact that Chinese peacekeepers in Liberia appear to be selling American-grown apples on the black market, go for the whole post.

Two years ago, I bought my sister-in-law a sisal purse in Uganda. Christmas day in Ottawa, she opens the present with delight. "Where's this from?" she asks, as she peeks inside. No sooner than I have replied "Uganda", she spots the tag sewn inside the bag: "Made in Canada".

We live in a world where it is economically feasible to sew purses in Canada, ship them to Uganda, to be sold to Canadians who will fly them back to their home as gifts. If there was ever a sadder statement on the African private sector, I don't know it.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Africa Canada How The World Works