Marketing a Health Drink in South Africa

As a country nestled in the southernmost part of the African continent, South Africa gained prominence for the “great natural beauty, and cultural diversity, all of which have made the country a favored destination for travelers since the legal ending of apartheid (Afrikaans: “apartness,” or racial separation) in 1994” (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008).





In terms of economy, South Africa is a middle-income country with abundant natural resources, well-established financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport systems, and a stock exchange that ranks among the ten largest in the world. Its economy is the largest in Africa, and is characterized by strong financial and manufacturing sectors. The country is a leading exporter of minerals and tourism is a key source of foreign exchange.

During the apartheid era, South Africa long afforded its white minority the opportunity to enjoy a developed-country standard of living at the expense of its black majority. The economy was based on a system that had deprived the majority of the population of education and economic opportunities.

Since the end of the apartheid in 1994, South Africa has made considerable economic progress. Sound economic management and structural reforms, supported by favorable external conditions in recent years, have led to higher growth, lower and more stable inflation, sound public finances, and a healthy financial system. While recent economic performance has been strong, the external current account deficit has widened, and inflation pressures have intensified. Moreover, the country continues to face high unemployment and poverty, which requires more efforts from the government while it simultaneously pursues policies aimed at maintaining macroeconomic stability.

South Africa’s economic performance has been strong in recent years due to sound macroeconomic policies and a favorable external environment. Since 2004, annual real GDP growth has averaged 5 percent, compared with 3.1 percent in 2003. Growth was driven by strong domestic demand, with private consumption and investment spending supported by continuing robust consumer and business sentiment and low interest rates. The strong pace of economic activity led to higher employment. However, the unemployment rate declined only moderately, to 25.5 percent in 2006 from 26.7 percent in 2005, as labor force participation rose. After a prolonged period of remaining within the 3 to 6 percent target band, inflation increased to 6.3 percent in mid-2007, reflecting both rising food and fuel prices and demand pressures (The World Bank, 2008).

According to the CIA World Factbook (2008), South Africa’s population is 43,786,115. It is shrinking at an annual rate of 0.5 percent because of the effects of excess mortality due to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The majority of the population (79 percent) is comprised of Africans, mostly from nine ethnic groups. The Zulus are the largest group, followed by the Xhosas, North Sothos, South Sothos, Tswanas, Shangaan-Tsongas, Swazis, Ndebeles, and Vendas. Each ethnic group has its own cultural heritage, language, and national identity. Before migration patterns led groups to mix with one another, most lived in distinct areas of southern Africa. It is deemed that because of this intermixing with ethnic groups; HIV has spread widely because most people are uneducated about how AIDS is spread through unprotected sexual contact.

AIDS in South Africa

Latest estimates reveal that 4.5 to 6.2 million people in South Africa are infected with AIDS (The Economist, 3 December 2005). Government programs to deter AIDS are not enough to cure the large number of people infected with HIV. According to the report, the national South African health budget for AIDS “has more than tripled since 2001” to amount to almost $232 million in 2006. In 2006, about 85,000 people receive AIDS treatment through the state health service, while another 60,000 get them privately.

Women’s Health Weekly (26 December 2002) reported that AIDS is the leading killer of South African women. The report stated that “women are more at risk than men for contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, because of biological vulnerability and their lack of control in sexual relationships”. In fact, “a combined 41% of all deaths from 1997-2001 were attributed to tuberculosis, flu and pneumonia - diseases commonly associated with AIDS - as well as AIDS itself”.

Because of the extremely high cost of AIDS treatment, people with AIDS in South Africa have
relied on bogus home remedies. In the recent The Economist report (26 August 2006), UN envoy Stephen Lewis “accused the government of embracing theories worthy of a ‘lunatic fringe’, promoting bogus homemade remedies and being ‘obtuse, dilatory and negligent’ in distributing anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs)”. This is because South Africans preferred “such goodies as lemons, garlic and beetroot on their official stand, seeming to present them as alternatives in the prevention and treatment of AIDS, with the condoms and ARVs”.

In view of the economic conditions of people with HIV in South Africa, combined with their culture for faith in home remedies, promoting JOY juice as an alternative supplement for combating AIDS might be attractive for them. The Economist report (26 August 2006) stated that a “medical consensus is that a balanced and healthy diet, not so common in Africa, is essential to fight AIDS”, but when an effective immunological home remedy is introduced in the market, there will be a greater chance for AIDS sufferers to combat this disease, rather than relying on unfounded home remedies.

Recommendations

It is suggested that Everlasting LIFE should establish a manufacturing plant in South Africa, since the raw materials are readily available there. Another good indication to manufacture the product there is that labor is cheap in South Africa. With 4.5 to 6.2 million people suffering from AIDS in South Africa, a JOY juice manufacturing plant in Johannesburg is recommended so that people needing it would not be short of supply. It is expected that the product will do well because it is a scientific and effective home remedy that African people are willing to accept, rather than taking in anti-retroviral drugs. However, it should be sold as a food supplement and people should be warned that this product will help them manage HIV, not entirely the ultimate cure for AIDS.

References
Anonymous. (2002, December 26). AIDS leading cause of death among South African women. Women’s Health Weekly, 14.
Anonymous. (2005, December 3). A war still to be won; South Africa and AIDS. The Economist, 377(8455): 45.
Anonymous. (2006, August 26). Beetroot but no blushes; South Africa. The Economist, 380(8492): NA.
CIA. (2008). The World Factbook. Retrieved June 15, 2008, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html.

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