As Oxfam warns that Britain is struggling to meet the cost of necessities like bottled mineral water, 15 million consumers in East Africa are reported to be reining in their lifestyles by opting to forego luxuries such as food.
“I really don’t know how I’m going to survive the journey into the office without Highland Spring,” said local government officer Gillian Perrier, 30. “How will I replace the sandstone and basalt my body loses through my daily cycle through the traffic? And think of the kids, facing a gruelling 15-minute walk to school - it’s only flavoured Volvic that keeps them from dropping into the newsagents for sweets. I may as well give up altogether and go back to driving the Espace.”
Meanwhile, up to 7.2 million people in Somalia and Ethiopia alone are reassessing their priorities in the face of rocketing prices, drought and violent conflict.
“Property prices are plummeting round here”, complained one Somali villager we spoke to. “My home lost 95% of its value overnight, when the local militia roared into town and fired an anti-tank rocket at it. And my small eco-business has been struggling to survive ever since the rains stopped last year. If this goes on, I may have to let some of my hard-working family go. Still, my heart goes out to those people in Britain who can’t afford mineral water. I’ll have a rummage round and see if I can donate something I can manage without, like a kidney or a daughter maybe.”