Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Cost of doing business

We all know about the additional burdens weak infrastructure, bad regulation, corruption, and high cost of imported goods, can place on entrepreneurs and MNCs operating in developing countries. But at times practical examples make a striking point of just how deep the problem runs: Jumoke, one of the MDs of Alitheia, recently complained about her broken laptop screen - why, i wondered, would she (a) not replace it, or at least (b) get an external screen in the meantime.

  (a) There is no Sony repair centre repairing laptops in Nigeria. I was suprised by this and did the research, and true, in a country of 150mn people the only Sony service centre will only start accepting laptops from May. Even if she were to get hold of the spare part from elsehwere, there would be no guarantee that there's anybody in the country that can help install it.
  (b) The computer guy seems incapable of attaching a temporary external screen, which feeds into the other bit about nobody having the skill to help out.

The only alternative to sending it out of the country, which would cause whole other set of problems, is to buy a new computer. Imagine - instead of a relatively cheap, routine maintenance she has to go out and splash out $$$s on a new computer even though hers works fine. Crazy

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