Other coffee chains already on the ground are unlikely to be singing with joy about this (unless the arrival of the newcomer brings fresh business otherwise unaccounted for – which is a possibility), but Starbucks is coming to Sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite the controversies the company has courted in the US and in other parts of the western world over the years (most recently here with the #RACETOGETHER campaign), one would hope that if they create jobs and help contribute to the economy of South Africa, then their presence will be a very positive thing.
It goes without saying that being a business trading for profit, they are going to South Africa to make money. But looking at their previous record elsewhere on the use of tax efficiency vehicles (which in plain english can translate to ‘tax evasion’), you’d hope their tax affairs in South Africa are going to be transparent, and the taxes they will pay will be proportionate to the profits they generate. Having said that, if there is an agreement with the Authorities for tax breaks, the story we’ll hear may not be that different to their controversies in Europe.
For me, its fitting to join the chorus of many esteemed writers and activists and say it again on this blog, that if big companies operating in Africa paid their dues, African governments would not face the critical cash shortages most of them face. And if such was done while anti-corruption bodies upped their endeavours to curb corruption, our economies on the continent would likely improve. Minimally, there would be more money to spend on the basic services.