Friday, May 20, 2011

Thinking Locally, Drinking Locally

One of the crown jewels of Kabul's "New Economy" is the Bagrami Industrial Complex, which is located about 7 km east of downtown. Inside the Bagrami Industrial Complex, a huge Coca-Cola bottling plant was opened in 2006. Some residents complained that the $25 million investment, made by an Afghan family mainly based out of Dubai, could've been better directed towards hospitals or schools.

The plant, however, directly employs 300+ people, and indirectly employs a couple thousand more ('indirectly' here refers to the drivers, store owners, streetside vendors, etc.) Those jobs help put Kabul on the road to stability, and that stability will enable the existence of needed institutions to help the city get on its feet and stay there.

I'm glad to know that all the Cokes, Diet Cokes, Sprites, and Fantas in our chow hall are bottled in Bagrami. Not only does the local purchase help stoke the local economy (and because we pay market rate, we're not creating an inflationary burden on Kabulis), but it means we don't have to rely on a long logistical tail to get the products. No ships to load up in the Persian Gulf, no port call in Karachi, and no hazardous trek through the Khyber Pass to get American soldiers and contractors their sweet, nutrition-free drinks.

That's a better way to do business. I know sodas aren't much good to begin with, but I'll also admit I enjoy them from time to time...and it's nice to know they're coming from right down the road.


Corey said...

but do they use cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup? ;-)

C R Krieger said...

And, they don't bake in the sun in transit.  That seems to change the taste.

Regarding Coke vs a hospital, it causes me to wonder about sustaining the economy.  Is this a fish story, as in "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"?  How does this work out economically?

Regards  —  Cliff