Modernization is good. We can all agree with that. It forces change, brings new ideas and new traditions with it. It can lift people and entire countries out of poverty and break them from cycles of dependence.
Development of infrastructure, housing, and transportation are integral parts of a functioning and well-balanced economy. This also spawns retail stores and restaurants to follow and open up shops, which gives the masses choices and opportunities for work and pleasure.
Modernity also brings other changes, including a shift in mindset and sentiment. In Nigeria, this is evident. When we randomly ask people to speak about modernity and positive developments within the country, they routinely point to the latest luxury high-rise building or the new mall that is being constructed, or the new “modern” supermarket that sells the latest imported goods.
It seems people associate Western modernity as good and as a positive sign for our country and we too believe this is true… to an extent. New roads or improvements to the electrical grid are definitely conducive and positive for overall development, but is everything that comes from the West or East – good?
Here Comes The King
A recent press release stated that Burger King, an American hamburger, chain has plans to open a restaurant in Lagos. At the surface level, this may seem okay for some. It shows foreign interest in Nigeria (which is vitally important), and it has an opportunity to create jobs and employment for locals. It also will be a familiar brand for Nigerians in the diaspora who visit home.
Nigeria is already home to a plethora of American fast food joints, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s to name a few, and this trend seems to be growing. Fast food is convenient, relatively cheap and typically are places where youths hang out. This is all well and good, but the negative sides of fast food spots are being exposed.
The rise of obesity in the West is becoming a health catastrophe. Heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension are all closely associated with highly processed foods laden with fat and sugar – all hallmarks of fast-food restaurants.
Now we do not want to get in the way of progress, or we are not picking on Burger King specifically, but we do hope to highlight locally grown, mom-and-pop restaurants that are owned and operated by Nigerians and not multinational corporations.
No details were given on the timing of the Lagos store or the specific location. Burger King is only second to Mcdonalds which is the largest and most popular fast food and hamburger chain on the planet.
Maybe they will make a special Whopper hamburger with local spices and yam fries? Let’s wait and see.