Africa is a continent facing major challenges; Corruption, Tribalism, Mismanagement of funds and resources, Poor leadership and now Religion.
The poor are always vulnerable to ideologies that offer salvation and hope. This includes salvation ideologies that promise hope and reward not necessarily found in this life but in a future life one easily accessible through the one-way door of death. Religion is therefore becoming a huge business in the continent with new investors joining in everyday. Even politicians like William Ruto are known to use religion as a manipulative tool. Some of the most religious countries in Africa have the poorest majority.
In order to figure out how religion is plunging millions of Africans deeper and deeper into poverty everyday, we must first look at religion from a business point of view and understand how it functions.
1. What is the product being sold?
These may vary. With hope being the main product other common products are peace, prosperity, miracles and the like.
2. Packaging of the product.
The product can be packaged and presented to the consumer in very many ways. The first and the most common one is through scripture. Others may be books, audio, video or even mass media where we see churches and mosques with dedicated TV and Radio stations. In this new digital age, some are even opting to use social media during the packaging of their product.
3. The price of the product.
Anything the consumer can afford based on the judgment of the seller. The rich have the capacity to give out millions while the poor might only be able to part with a few coins for the same product.
4. Terms of payment and delivery.
Payment is made first and the delivery is made later. There is no specific waiting time before your delivery is made. Sometimes it’s just a few days, other times a few weeks or months or years. Here the consumer must exercise a lot of patience before whatever they ordered is brought home.
5. Cost of production.
This again depends on the seller’s ability. The cheapest form of production is being able to talk for long hours and doing rounds in the city. Others up their game a little by writing and extracting content from different areas like the scriptures, philosophies and past arguments. Some invest heavily in recording equipment for their videos.
Investment levels in the business are different. Sometimes all you need is to buy a nice suit and a pair of shoes or simply set up a small structure in the ghetto. You might as well decide to invest heavily and build a mega church and hire a fleet of vehicles. It all boils down to your financial ability.
7. Risk factor.
Like every business, even religion has risk factors. For starters, it might dawn to the gullible customer that the product you are selling (hope, prosperity, riches, peace, etcetera) never gets delivered or it’s false. The customer might also realize that he has enough of the product within himself and he now becomes your competitor – selling the product to other gullible customers.
8. Sustainability of the business.
How long can this business be sustained? The answer is simple, there is no time zone. This business could run to infinity.
9. Key to the success of the business.
The ultimate goal of every business is success this isn’t any different. The number one key is keeping the consumers in the dark. The idea here is locking them up in a certain zone where reasoning is limited. Feed them with just enough information to keep them buying the product and don’t let them know as much as you do.
With those few points in mind, it now becomes clear why everyone is rushing into this religion business. The level of investment needed is minimal and the returns are big. The product can be sold across all classes. Both the rich and the poor are willing buyers. In the next article we look at how those who have mastered the nitty gritty of this business are contributing to the spread of poverty in the continent.
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