A diplomatic row sparked between African country Gambia and Asian country Thailand over the derogatory comments made by the former’s minister against the latter country. Could there be a similar battle in the offing between another African country, Zimbabwe, against also an Asian nation- biggest and strongest at that- China over potentially “insulting” comments, too? And all due to talks about condoms.
Zimbabwe’s health minister David Parirenyatwa complained that contraceptives made in China and being exported to their country were “too small” for their men.
Contraceptives are crucial in Zimbabwe given the reality that the southern African region has the highest incidence of HIV. An estimated 13.5 percent of the country’s adult population is infected with the virus. Parirenyatwa believes then that Zimbabwe has an urgency to promote the wider use of condoms among their men to prevent the spread of infection.
Zimbabwe has also become one of the top five condom importers in the world while China is one of the largest producers of condoms globally.
As Zimbabwe is not satisfied with the products coming from China, Parirenyatwa thinks that it is time for Zimbabwe to be self-reliant and produce their own condoms, rather than importing them. He added: “Youths now have a particular condom that they like, but we don’t manufacture them. We import from China and men complain they are too small.”
But Chinese manufacturers are undaunted by the criticism and appear more than willing to “make amends.” Zhao Chuan, the chief executive of the condom manufacturer Beijing Daxiang and His Friends Technology Co., said the firm was planning to make contraceptives “in different sizes.”
Zhao added that they have “ability” and the “obligation” to meet the different demands from their customers and to make a “contribution”, as such they have been conducting surveys on users’ data in Africa to suit their preparations for future products with “different sizes.”
Zhao also stressed that there’s really like no one-size fits all formula for condoms that will work equally or the same for different countries and nationalities. He specified that Chinese men prefer their condoms “thinner”’ and do not really care much about the size. Customers in North America liked their contraceptives “softer.”