What We Learn From Teenage Girls: International Relations and Logistics

Written By:

Published On:

November 8, 2013

Post Categories

Those who have had the chance to live with, or parent a teenage girl at any point in their lives are familiar with their need to be friends with the right, “popular” girls who learned how to use make up from their elder sisters earlier than everyone else.

Maintaining social interactions with the right “clique” is of the utmost importance, requiring constant reinforcement, with any negative events, such as being shunned for having the wrong type of lip-gloss or hairstyle, considered international incidents by the teenager in question.

In a way, this same paradigm plays out between countries around the world, with negative feedback or responses being actual international incidents in the most literal sense of the word. From avoiding wars, to ensuring assistance in the case of disasters, maintaining good international relations has many benefits for a shrewd country that is well aware of the good to be had.

Good international relations have positive trade implications for each country, providing opportunities for the logistics industry to flourish in facilitating exports and imports. For Kenya, a healthy relationship with her East African Community neighbors resulted in the Joint EAC Export and Investment Promotion Strategy, to be implemented between 2011 and 2016.

The agreement is built upon the common goal of transforming member states, and the region in general, into a credible investment and trade hub. The key benefits of this strategy include providing an inventory of investment opportunities and strategies in each member state, useful in charting what economic sector the logistics industry should target in anticipation of steady growth, for instance, diversifying into mining logistics where focus will be on mining.

The agreement also seeks to catalog member states’ exports and imports, identifying strengths and threats to each; a strategy helpful to the logistics sector by alerting us to pitfalls to avoid.

Healthy international relations are also valuable for humanitarian purposes. Presently, Kenya is home to about 500,000 refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma camps, comprising mostly of Somalian residents.

Through international donors, the World Food Program (WFP) has been able to provide food and basic needs to the refugees, a situation that is currently being threatened by lack of funds. The WFP Kenya Country Director, Ronald Sibanda, has issued a statement announcing that refugee rations would have to be cut down below the daily calorie recommendation so as to stretch current food supplies to the end of the year.

Coupled with a polio outbreak termed “explosive” by the UN, human lives at stake can only be saved by the intervention of external donors. Should nations counted as “friends” of Kenya decide to fund efforts to assist; the logistics function of delivering food aid will come into play. This includes temperatures, storage conditions, hygiene standards and the like. For medication such as vaccines to halt the spread of polio, conditions are even more specific as regards temperatures and separation from any potential contaminants.

On a related note, it is important to foster good international relations to keep channels for donor funds open. Whether the donations are provided simply as a show of good faith, or in search of return on investment such as reduced rates on Kenyan exports, or as part of a mutually beneficial arrangement, the importance of external donor funds cannot be overlooked.

Thus, even though in an ideal situation, Kenya would be self-sufficient, it is important to remain on positive terms with donor states. One such example would be where the Netherlands recently donated $13 million, via the African Development Bank, to finance the construction of a road opening up Africa’s largest wind power project in Marsabit County to the rest of Kenya.

This move is beneficial to the logistics sector, not only in that such a road opens up new freighting possibilities, but also by ensuring clean, sustainable energy is easily distributed, thus reducing pollution and lowering power prices, an issue close to the heart of any supply chain manager.

With these benefits, among others such as military support where needed or sharing of useful technology, it is an absolute necessity for countries to maintain proper relations with their neighbors, whether nearby or on different continents

Photo Credit: www.opensocietyfoundations.org

Photo Credit: www.opensocietyfoundations.org

As an industry, we in the logistics sector encourage countries with tense relations with neighbors to embrace their inner teenage girl, buy the right type of lip-gloss and find a seat at the friends’ table again, for development’s sake.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *