In 2019, the world is making progress at breakneck speed, but in a certain West Africa country, you still need a power bank to experience a semblance of modern life.
Depending on which country you live in or visit in West Africa, you may enjoy the semblance of modern civilisation, thanks to stable public power supply. If you live in or visit a particular West African country, you will find that even in 2019, there is no such thing as uninterruptible power supply, and so, you still need a power bank.
Yesterday, my assistant informed me that because of the horrible state of power supply at her residence, she would be purchasing a power bank for her personal use. That is no news. What is news is the fact that she managed to even live without one for any period of time.
But then, I remember that I braved it just recently. I went about my daily life without having a power bank to top up my Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. To its credit, the S9 Plus has a robust battery life, but even at that, I find that I often need to tiop te battery up during the day, depending on how heavily I use it.
I got away without having a power bank partly because I have a car charger in my vehicle and often resort to using it to top up my devices. Yet, eventually, I still needed to get a power bank and I did.
Public power supply is so bad that my assistant has been recently unreachable for stretches of time because her smartphone had run out of power. And now, she must get herself a power bank.
Without stable public power supply in 2019, any country is a village stuck in the dark ages. Which is why almost everyone in Nigeria still needs a power bank. Forget those who make up the upper 5% percentile of the population and can afford to run a power generating set round the clock.
Power Banks Are Big Business In Nigeria
In the giant West African country called Nigeria, power banks are big business. No; not the production of power banks, but the business of selling power banks. After mobile phones and chargers, power banks are perhaps the hottest mobile accessories in te market.
Forget about production, because the lack of stable power supply makes production in the country an unprofitable venture, especially where there is competition from imported competing products.
Yes to Innovation; Competition is Mission Impossible
Despite the horrible lack of stable public power, there is a lot of innovation happening in Nigeria. There is a growing army of young people who are making things happen despite the horrible operating environemnt. And that is commendable. Anyone who is able to build anything useful in Nigeria is a hero. Making things happen in this huge West African country is akin to squeezing water out of rock.
But while it is easy to be excited over whatever innovation is happening in the country, it is important to note that much of those cannot compete on the global stage. Eleswhere, the costs of production does not include the cost of acquisition and running of power generating sets on a daily basis.
Individuals and organisation producing in Nigeria cannot compete on the global stage because their products will always cost more. The dire state of public infrastructure ensures that is so. Nigerians can innovate but will find it difficult to compete globally, and it will remain this way till power supply is fixed.
No matter how much the individuals innovate and work around the lack of power supply, it will be at extra cost. As such, if a manufacturer were so foolhardy as to venture into producing power banks in Nigeria, those products would cost more compared to imported products of similar specs.
There is a reason why many manufacturing concerns in Nigeria have relocated their factories to Ghana and elsewhere.
It is the same reason why the power bank is a necessity in this massive West African village-nation. Those who cannot afford a power bank as a separate entity simply buy what is called a “power bank phone” – like this one – and live happily ever after. Or for as long as it lasts.