Traders desert markets, cite exorbitant rent and few clients

Friday December 31 2021
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Street traders selling in Kigali. Some traders have abandoned their stalls in modern markets over high rent charged. PHOTO | FILE


Street vendors in Nyarugenge District have abandoned markets, complaining of exorbitant rent.

Some stalls that the City of Kigali launched in 2016 are empty due to high rent charged.

For instance, Epaphanie Uwihoreye, a mother of two, finds all her hope in street vending since she finds the provided markets very expensive that don’t match her income.

“The rent is approximately between Rwf 150,000 and Rwf200,000 which is difficult to earn. I didn’t have the income to pay rent so I decided to come back on the street to earn some income to support my family…” Epaphanie Uwihoreye who stays in Kicukiro Kagarama told Rwanda Today.

The majority of street vendors sell various products including clothes, watches, beads, shoes and soft drinks like juice. They say selling items on the street helps them to get customers.

Eric Ishimwe, 22, sells watches and jewelries in Giporoso, Remera announced that he earns at least the maximum of Rwf12000 of profit a day, of which he says didn’t ever earn at his time working in designated market place because he used to earn around Rwf3000 of profit a day Street vendors buy their goods from wholesalers and sell them at low price compared with those from the shops.


According to Jeremy Bimenyimana, Kimironko mini market director, Kimironko market alone registers more than 200 vacant workplaces while only around 100 vendors decided to stay in market so far.

Initially, the street vendors who were moved into new markets were exempted from rent and taxes and other local government dues for one year.

However, almost six years later, the majority still struggle to pay their rent. “I started this kind of trade back in 2015 and was expecting my life to change when I got capital for starting my formal trade. The expenses on rent are too high compared to what I make from selling, I couldn’t make profit ..” said Evariste Kamana, one of the street vendors in Nyabugogo bus station who left the market. While there is no explicit law that prohibits street vending, it is illegal.