Thursday, 5 February 2015

Restoring some of the benefits of Bujumbura's market

It's been two years since a major fire destroyed Bujumbura's central market, and the effects are still being felt in Burundi's capital.  The devastation is visible on-line here, and market traders who were formerly based there are having to work elsewhere.  Here's a recent account from a trade person:

"I was running my business at Bujumbura central market. I had many customers because the central market was a point where everyone gathered, and my customers knew where to find me easily. But now, I lost my customers. Now my business is not as good as before the central market burned. But I have no choice; I have to continue to work in order to support my family and I have to run my business here [away from the central business district] because town is expensive, and I lost much when the Bujumbura central market burned; all my business burned".

This seller's account demonstrates that the market destruction caused the loss of information connecting buyers and sellers, as I noted in a post last week.  Other sellers formerly present in central market indicate that prices of alternative central locations are prohibitive, so that they can not readily move back to a highly visible area.

One solution would be to build new, inexpensive commercial premises in central Bujumbura (the market has not yet been redeveloped, as described here), but more immediate and cheap solutions may be required.  One would be establishment of regional markets in Bujumbura, able to act as smaller versions of the old central market. Another solution would be information provision by written or verbal advertising.  Often a private sector company or producers' organisation will arrange these activities, but in the absence of sufficient basic funding or coordination, they may not be done.

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