Namibia’s Lands Minister must be wise and reject an application by a Chinese tobacco company to invest in a huge tobacco plantation there.
The WHO predicts that the African region will be one of only two areas of the world where smoking prevalence will increase by 2025. Africa is heading towards being the continent with the highest number of smokers, and towards a public health disaster.
Africa does not need Chinese tobacco investment or investment by big tobacco companies such as Philip Morris or Japan Tobacco International or British American Tobacco or any local tobacco companies.
Japan Tobacco International, which has expanded insidiously and frighteningly into developing countries, recently acquired 40% shares of Ethiopia’s government-owned tobacco company, National Tobacco Enterprise, for a ridiculously huge sum of US$ 500,000,000. It promises to be a massive public health disaster for Ethiopia and Ethiopians and will contribute to Africa being one of the highest=prevalence smoking regions globally.
African governments need to make wise decisions about their investments. They need to invest in the health and well being of their citizens. They need to ensure that their fields are used for growing valuable food crops and other useful products. Tobacco will bring no wealth to Africans, but it will bring the rotten baggage of child labour, addiction, disease and death, depletion of soil and deforestation, and all the rest of the devastation caused by smoking and tobacco use.