Rwanda needs more productive investments, not nightclubs and bars

Editor,

RE: “Kigali’s nightlife offers a lot of unexploited potential” (The New Times, March 14).

Negative perceptions that nightclubs and bars are places of sin and debauchery have a lot to do with this...” It isn’t only a question of perception; there is more than a grain of truth in the view that late night-clubbing and bar-crawling are sure roads to lots of social, family and individual ills.

At the societal level, you are encouraging a mis-allocation of resources to investment in non-productive consumption in an economy in need of more productive investment and single-minded concentration on ensuring our labour force is productive rather than that many workers spend mornings trying to recover from hangovers.

At the family level, the resources expending on night-clubbing and bar-hopping could have been better spent in building a home, making a down-payment on such a home, or sending kids to a better and more expensive school.

Consumption in nightclubs or bars is good for those with lots for discretionary expenditure because they have already covered most of the basics. But how many such Rwandans do we have?

At the individual level, you have obviously not yet witnessed the ravages alcohol can inflict, and the many chronic health problems associated with the kind of lifestyles of drink and night-clubbing you suggest.

I am certainly no moralist or dyed-in-the-wool prude, but I believe your suggestions shouldn’t be given much consideration. Rwanda needs more productive investments – not more bars and nightclubs, though I am by no means suggesting they be banned or not authorised to be established.

Just that other more wholesome businesses should be preferred and encouraged more than nightclubs and bars. Noise pollution bylaws should also continue to be rigorously enforced – remembering that alcohol consumers and nightclubs tend to generate more noise than the average establishment.

Mwene Kalinda