Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Nescafe Model of Development

Anyone who's ever spent time in the Africa (and many other places - feel free to chime in) has run into the "Nescafe" phenomenon. I also like to refer to it as the "who do I have to kill to get a decent cup of coffee" kunumdrum. Rather than real coffee, most establishments, office coffee areas (if you are lucky enough to have one), etc. have Nescafe - instant coffee. It's just not that great. And rather than just recognize it's inadequacies and replacing it, it's just modified and jazzed up to appear better than it is. This is a nice metaphor for governments and development in many third world countries. Say you have a bad road maintenance system (or a "Nescafe" road system): roads are deteriorating more and more, newly rehabilitated ones are not maintained, repair work is temporary and shoddy, and the government agency in charge of it has neither the funding nore inclination to make things better. Logically you should replace it with a system that works - alter government agencies' roles, responsbilities, methods of finance, etc - and turn it into a "Pressed coffee" road maintenance system. No need to aim for "Cappuncino" road maintenance system - let's be realistic. Instead, however, we try to make the old thing seem better when it's not - we effectively turn it into a Nespresso. The same old government agency that hasn't been able to do anything puts a spin on its role, makes bold statements it can't live up to, and just keeps being the same ineffective actor it was before, just packaged differently. I, for one, am tired of Nespressos, Nescappuncinos, and Nescafe Lattes. It's time for change; it's time for the reign of Nescafe to end. Join me in the revolution.

12 Comments:

Blogger Steve in Wisconsin said...

I realize that 'coffee' isn't the real point to your blog -- but it gives me the perfect reason to discuss having a good cup of joe in Africa.
My last trip to South Africa was in Oct.04 and I longed for a cup of that strong SA mud that I remembered so fondly from a decade earlier. I stopped by a restaurant for lunch and, of course, ordered a coffee along with it. The waitress brought it on command.
Imagine my disappointment when I took a sip of watery brown dishwater! I looked up just in time to see a sign which read, "Proudly serving American-style coffee" -- Yeck! I'll never look at the country the same way again.

7:53 AM  
Blogger TheMalau said...

I feel you, girl! Down with "Nescafe Road System"... or should I say "Office des Routes Coffee"! :)

11:58 AM  
Blogger Mom said...

Sarah, what a clever analogy. I don't know how you come up with these things, but I'm always impressed. Good job!

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my my, I recently moved from Washington, DC. to Kingston Jamaica with my husband, and I have been going mad,about this same coffe issue.Thank GOODNESS Jamaica has more than "Nescafe" at the grocery store, but for a country who produces the finest Blue Mountain brand, why is it so so difficult to buy a decent cup of coffee at a coffee house.I ask myself this almost daily.
I was a huge Starbucks or small coffee shop junkey, as I walked to my office in the Dupont Cicrle area of DC, so this lack of good coffee can be at times troubling.
I found one place my fouth month here and was really excited, only to almost spit it out upon my first taste.
Then about a month ago, I found a great place next to my gym, so I am thrilled now, and stop by about twice a week, for some good coffee.
I have my ideas about why this coffee thing occurs, but my ideas would take up four pages.
Keep blogging

2:02 AM  
Blogger Black River Eagle said...

I am fortunate enough to live in a city where some of Europe's finest coffee brands are imported, processed, roasted, packaged and distributed. The secret is in the mix and the roasting process y'all, and how you prepare the coffee for consumption. For example, few people use automatic coffee brewers here. We pour boiling hot water over the roasted ground coffee resting in a paper filter. Voila! The best Cup of Joe you have ever tasted, hands down.

Nescafé, a product since 1938 of the Swiss food giant Nestlé, is the world's favorite coffee according to the company. 3,000+ cups of Nescafè are consumed around the world every second. So you see Nescafé is not an American-style coffee but is strictly an invention of the Swiss intended to be consumed around the world.

You can read more about the history of Nescafé here:
http://www.nescafe.com/main_nest.asp

Now, getting back to Sarah's metaphor about good governance in the Congo...

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being cited in the PSD blog! (http://psdblog.worldbank.org/)

2:29 PM  
Blogger delnov said...

I identify. Am Kenyan, living in Nairobi. Truly the best coffees in the world come from my country. The coffees are exported green and then come back to us as very expensive Nescafe, just like our roads which I understand are probably the most expensive in the world. My take is that so many people around the world drink Nescafe because like African Governments they are lazy - they cannot stand the process of making a good cup of coffee (or road for that matter). Today, I will eat some strawberries and drink a glass of milk before I get on my way home. This way, with all the patch-up work that our roads undergo, I will arrive home with a milkshake in my stomach. If I substitute the milk with coffee, then I end up with something similar to those Sturbuck's flavourings - yuk!

2:44 PM  
Blogger delnov said...

I identify. Am Kenyan, living in Nairobi. Truly the best coffees in the world come from my country. The coffees are exported green and then come back to us as very expensive Nescafe, just like our roads which I understand are probably the most expensive in the world. My take is that so many people around the world drink Nescafe because like African Governments they are lazy - they cannot stand the process of making a good cup of coffee (or road for that matter). Today, I will eat some strawberries and drink a glass of milk before I get on my way home. This way, with all the patch-up work that our roads undergo, I will arrive home with a milkshake in my stomach. If I substitute the milk with coffee, then I end up with something similar to those Starbuck's "flavourings" - yuk!

2:48 PM  
Blogger kleph said...

Interesting analogy and one I can say holds true here in South America. But the actual situation of the Nescafe coffee phenomena here in Peru is even stranger. Peru produces very good quality coffees, you just can't buy them here. In fact, Peruvian Coffee Chamber estimates that more than 60 percent of Peruvians use instant coffee and very little of the rest is actual peruvian bean. Instead, the good coffee is shipped abroad because it is much more lucrative to do so. But wait! The tins of Nescafe say "Made in Peru." That's true. But what actually happens is they buy the cheapest beans possible from Brazil, ship them to northern Peru where they are transformed into instant coffee and then sold domestically. All of which probably provides an awesome extension for your analogy, but I am not exactly certain how to go about it.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous new house dc said...

companies marketing mineral makeups and also get the best bargains in mineral makeup you can imagine,
find aout how to consolidate your students loans or just how to lower your actual rates.,
looking for breast enlargements? in Rochester,
homeopathy for eczema learn about it.,
Allergies, information about lipitor,
save big with great bargains in mineral makeup,

change edition interviewing motivational people preparing second
,

interviewing motivational people preparing second time
,

interviewing people motivational preparing for a second time
,

black mold exposure
,

black mold exposure symptoms
,

black mold symptoms of exposure
,

free job interview questions
,

free job interview answers
,

interview answers to get a job
,

lookfor hair styles for fine thin hair
,

search hair styles for fine thin hair
,

hair styles for fine thin hair
,

beach resort in the philippines
,

great beach resort in the philippines
,

luxury beach resort in the philippines
,
iron garden gates, here,
iron garden gates,
wrought iron garden gates
, here
,
wrought iron garden gates
,
You: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger
,
answer from more much,
eat eating mindless more than think we we why
,
la times classified,
new york times classified


texturizer,
texturizers here,
black hair texturizer,
find aout how care curly hair,
find about how to care curly hair,
care curly hair,
lipitor rash,
lipitor reactions,
new house ventura california,
the house new houston tx,
new house washington dc,
new house washington dc,
new house ventura california,
the house new houston tx,
the house new houston tx, that you ar looking for,
new house ventura california, you need to buy,
new house washington dc,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

chocolate esophagus heartburn study
,

chocolate esophagus heartburn study
be informed,

digestion healing healthy heartburn natural preventing way
,

digestion healing healthy heartburn natural preventing way
,


Allergies, lipitor rash,
alcohol rash,
lipitor and alcohol,
lipitor alcohol,

natural remedies to aid healing of esophagus
,

chicory heartburn
,

effectiveness of zocor vs. lipitor
,

chocolate esophagus
,
southwestern wrought iron yard gate,
exterior iron gates,
oriental wrought iron gates,
powder coated iron garden fencing,

9:58 PM  
Anonymous thin hair said...

black mold exposure,black mold symptoms of exposure,wrought iron garden gates,your next iron garden gates, here,hair styles for fine thin hair,search hair styles for fine thin hair,night vision binoculars,buy, night vision binoculars,lipitor reactions,lipitor reactions,luxury beach resort in the philippines,beach resort in the philippines,homeopathy for baby eczema.,homeopathy for baby eczema.,save big with great mineral makeup bargains,companies marketing mineral makeups,prodam iphone praha,Apple prodam iphone praha,iphone clone cect manual,manual for iphone clone cect,fero 52 binoculars night vision,fero 52 night vision,best night vision binoculars,buy, best night vision binoculars,computer programs to make photo albums,computer programs, make photo albums,free printable tax forms,printable tax forms, free here,craftmatic adjustable air bedcraftmatic adjustable air bed, info hereboyd night air bedboyd night air bed, low priceair bed in wisconsinbest air beds in wisconsincloud air inflatable bedbest cloud air inflatable bedsportable sealy air bedportables, sealy air bedsaluminum rv luggage racksaluminum made, rv luggage racksair bed form raisedbest air beds form raisedsupport equipments aircraftbest support equipments for aircraftsinformercials bed airbest, informercials bed airmattress sized air bedsbest mattress sized air bedantique doorknob identificationantique doorknob, identification tipstroubleshooting dvd playertroubleshooting with the dvd playerflat panel television lcd versus plasmaflat panel television, lcd versus plasma pic the bestcauses of economic recessionwhat are the causes of economic recessionbed air foam adjustablebed air adjustable foam hoof prints antique and unusual equestrian printshoof prints, antique equestrian printsbuy adjustable air bedbuy the best adjustable air bedsair bedscanadian storesair beds, cheap canadian stores

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a coffee snob, i never touched nescafe...i was wrong...it is just another method for making coffee...i think nescafe is making inroads to promote fairtrade, too. they need to do more, but please do your research!

i WISH nescafe was americaneaux...then we'd have more choices...esp. the fairtrade version.

4:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home