People smugglers, multinationals and politicians are among well wishers who have congratulated Africa after the UN announced that Africa's population is now 1 billion, and set to double by 2050.
Bahati Mbaya, an ex councillor who since the reintroduction of multi-party politics in Kenya in '91 has been unable to rent the brawn necessary to effectively campaign as a potential MP, is now hopeful of becoming a mheshimiwa honourable after the 2012 elections. "Potential recruits of my army ignore my recruitment drives because I can't afford to buy them huge quantities of pangas, booze, mafwaka cigarettes and T-shirts like the incumbent MP," he laments. Because of his withered bank account, Bahati Mbaya campaigns similar to a hawker selling her wares in Nairobi's CBD: he and his fans ran away when the MP's army disrupts his meetings. "Now that there will be more young men around, idle ones at that, hiring them will be muuuch cheaper and I will soon form my own sugu formidable battalion, don't touch that remote."
Fresh talent, malnourished images
Another person celebrating the release of these stats is Nafasi Iko, organising secretary of the Mediterranean Sea Cargo Xporters Association; the lobby group of hustlers who specialise in forwarding Africans to Italy and Spain thru the Mediterranean Sea in packed dinghys. "In fact, tomorrow all our members will meet and write a consolidated business plan and then apply for a loan to buy more dinghys now that passenger numbers are guaranteed beyond 2050," he says, grinning. He says the UN report will be used as collateral. "I don't see banks asking us for title deeds or log books as security when UN stats are like bankers cheques: they don't bounce."
MNO Inc, an agricultural multinational that deals in the leafy parts of the industry such as tea, tobacco and cocoa, will hold a bash. "We were wondering where we will get fresh talent for our fields because natural attrition and free primary education in Kenya have severely reduced the supply of hands," says Walete Ka Wote, head of MNO's talent acquisition, use and disposal department. "This news inspires us because it means we won't lack fresh hands as the government doesn't have the moola to build all those classrooms or pay teachers to teach allllllllll those incoming pupils."
NGOs who earn a living by showing donors images of malnourished or Aids afflicted African kids needing help are ecstatic. "We would like to congratulate Mama Africa for reaching the 1billion people milestone. Before that slice of good news, we were worried about where the cash for the next financial year would come from because our donors are kinda tired of seeing the same kid's photo for 5 years straight," explains Say Relief, chief photographer of the NGO Hunger All Over Sub Saharan Africa. "Now at least with the baby explosion we will be able to regularly change victims' photos online. Wait and see how the funds will swim into our bank accounts like a tsunami."
*first published online on November 1, 2009