Is Apple Bigger than Africa’s Total Economy/GDP? Part 1

Photo credit: Facebook

Few weeks back in one of the WhatsApp groups I belong to, one member posted the above image. Ideally, it was screen shot from a post on Facebook.

Theoretically, the stock could be valued at more than the combined GDPs of 168 countries or economies, but practically not, even if it were one country, like Uganda.

It’s just a bullshit comparison!

In fact, that is an apples and oranges comparison. Reason being, Africa’s GDP is not its net worth. We should remind ourselves the difference between Flow variables and Stock variables.

On a serious note, there is a humongous gap for instance, in our educational system. Not everything blogged or tweeted or shared by a Mzungu is truth!

At times it’s to cause economic havoc, sway one political or economic group from side to the other. There are cold economic wars that global corporations fight on behalf of their nations or governments, and the West is good at it. Even on cable news stations like CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, etc., they will report something just to cause bad news in one country or to paint a good picture of another country or government.

Even if the owner of the post or the original article had been comparing Apple’s revenue to Africa’s GDP (which would have been more a “like with like” comparison), have you for a moment thought that a huge part of Africa’s economic output isn’t even measured?

What is the value of the Uganda’s warm weather, which by the way is one of the best in Africa as tourism veteran Amos Masaba Wekesa attests here, organic food like cassava (one longevity expert at Harvard University, feeds almost exclusively on cassava flour), clean village water and fresh air, household value in our informal economy?

All the above are not in the official numbers of our (Ugandan) or total African economy.But most importantly he compared a Flow variable (GDP) with a Stock variable (Apple’s market capitalisation)…probably to try to denigrate us.

Choosing to follow that bandwagon is not to our benefit as a continent, because “As a man thinketh, so is he”.

Ofcourse one may argue that it is not an apple to oranges comparison, saying Apple’s value lies in its ability to create value, that is., the intellectual capital that can turn resources like its workers or employees to turn big chunks of aluminium and coltan into an iPhone where we can have such a discussion.

Yes, we Africans have all the resources, but we don’t know what to do with them.We have the largest deposits of aluminium but can’t turn that into iPhones. A chunk of aluminium ten times (10x) the weight of an iPhone still won’t be able to do anything.

Also, we (Uganda) have fantastic weather, yes, infact it might actually be the best…but we are literally undergoing starvation in most parts of the country. There is even no single African country in the top 10 global list of exporters for agricultural products.

But people who have winter periods where it’s impossible to grow food actually do better than us.

Close to 70% of the African population is under 30. There is a lot of potential, but they are unskilled in strategic domains and generally worthless to the global economy. The true value of resources is only in what you are actually doing with them not what you think they are worth.

Much as that such a rebuttal is or may be oblivious to global mechanisms, most of us are convinced that Africa has not been left alone to follow its path.

So, while there is an internal gap, the detractors (you and I know) are actively involved in preventing Africa’s progress; they have been doing this for a long time.

This is well documented, and I can share a few books showing the misinformation in some sources. We may not have the time to engage now, but you will leave comments. Each to his own. Enjoy the narrative (in the books) of your choice below.

  1. Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade & Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
  2. The Secret History of the America Empire by John Perkins
  3. Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective by Ha-Joon Chang
  4. Trade is War by Yash Tandon

It will be a long process but start with №1.

But generally, in Africa (and especially for Uganda), part of the issue is the bad education system. I give some of you that credit. Hence, you can imagine recently some of our Heads of State went to Ukraine to beg for grain. Grain! The guy responded clearly to them.

But it’s because some of the leaders are enablers of a thieving system, instead of working to change Africa and its problems.

However, the question is: Do we join that bandwagon? Many have decided it’s easier to join the thugs.

Think about non-tariff barriers (NTBs)…like the latest in that pipeline is the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CABM) which are increasing even now as new graduates are taught liberalisation (Europe says “do as I say, not as I do”).

To bring you to speed, the CBAM is a regulation which will require importers of certain carbon-intensive goods to pay a levy on their imports corresponding to the charge imposed on comparable domestic industries under the EU ETS, thus extending the carbon price paid by EU firms to foreign producers of the same goods.

In simple terms, it will be a tax (carbon tax) paid starting 2026, depending on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions on a certain quantity of imported products that emit/produce those gases.

They are the same people telling us “plant more trees”, “stop using charcoal and firewood”, “embark on industrialisation (agro-processing)”, etc., and all promoting or pushing for other such campaigns.

Actually, it’s a Red Herrings galore or fallacy.

In light of the above, do you think they will allow us (Africans) to export to them while they are sitting on de-industrialised cities? Ask yourself, why do they have trade wars with China?

We need not have feigned ignorance of Africa’s plight. Always blaming Africans without accounting for external factors like mentioned above.

In our recent memory Magufuli tried to steer Tanzania forward by sheer effort, but we all saw what happened next…I hear democratic problems, next we saw Tanzanian opposition politicians with European support (crying of repression), etc.

Luckily, the man died, and ever since, the political issues in Tanzania also miraculously disappeared from media, despite the same party remaining in power. Haha!

Where do you think Africa would dock if left to move without guidance?

….to be continued.

NB: This article also appeared on Medium by the same author. Click here.

About the Writer

Julius Masaba is a private investment researcher and business consultant. He’s also the Business Development Lead at Ablestate, https://www.ablestate.co/ and a WordPress writer/blogger on startups, entrepreneurship, business and finance. He loves tech. Visit: https://consultmasaba.com/

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