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Insight Out

If you want to know who you are, ask your neighbours.

Arrogant Europeans

Sometimes I have the feeling that we have to be doubly compliant to please our European customers. This is my experience over the last few years, ever since my company Uriwibutso started delivering passionfruit to Brussels. At first, we were able to quickly built up a network of customers. We sent bananas, strawberries, and mangoes to Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. But the Europeans have unbelievably high quality standards. If we Africans bargain with the Europeans, we automatically have the weaker position. Once, a Belgian importer called us. A whole container was spoiled when it arrived in Brussels. One and a half tonnes of bananas! Sadly, we didn’t have a representative in Europe who could have checked the situation for us, and sending someone from Rwanda would have been too expensive. We had to believe him. The whole incident cost us 20,000 euros. Today we don’t deliver fresh fruit to Europe anymore, the prices have fallen too much and the risk is too high. Instead, we export fruit juices and banana wine to Belgium, France, and Germany. I’ve just returned from Italy. There, I bought new machines worth 900,000 euros to produce fruit juice concentrate. We need European machines to be able to meet European standards.

Gérard Sina (43) lives in Kigala, the capital of Rwanda, with his wife and five children.

Study hard, or else...

If there were one place in the world where people should live, it would definitely be Great Britain. People living there are gentlemen from top to toe, experts, real friends, and simply amazing. I am calling them everyday from my call centre in New Delhi trying to sell them UMTS mobile phones and contracts of the “3G – The third generation mobile network campaign”. Sometimes I am really being a pain in their necks. They are having lunch when I am calling and I am answering the phone as “Charles” as nobody would be understanding my real name “Vishnu”. After that I tell them in my Indian accent how they could save a lot of money with the new contracts. “Thank you for calling Sir, but I am not interested”, they answer, eating noisily. However, when making phone calls to the U.S., it is a completely different situation for me. They start cursing and giving my mother or sister names at once, though I only have a brother. Despite all that, we are really successful within the call centre, but also all over India. I am really proud of that success. We are taking more and more jobs from Europe to my country everyday and earn billions with you. Europe could be a lot more powerful if it finally made a real effort. Italy, France, England, and Germany – all you guys have the same culture! However, it is good the way it is at the moment. For 300 years we were ruled by Great Britain and I think it is our time now. The future is ours. All I can tell you is to be making some effort! Focus on your jobs and your studies! If you do not do so, the little yellow men from China and India will come to do their own business and take your wealth with them.

Vishnu Sharma (20 years old), his job alias is “Charles”, works in the Neveno call center in New Delhi and studies economics, business and English.

Recorded by Ingo Arzt

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