On hearing the brand name, one may easily mistake and link KAZI NI KAZI to a Swahili speaking state like Kenya or Tanzania. However, the place is one of the areas with a variety of economic activities in Kigali city.
Alongside regulating hawkers in the city, businessmen and women who previously operated from Nyarugenge market have managed to turn the place into one of the busiest areas of Kigali.
These traders had to find their way out from the market upon the ongoing rehabilitation and construction to modernize and develop it.
The area is hardly enough for the various economic activities taking place. However, traders, technicians, barbers and tailors among other service providers manage to earn a living from it.
Unlike other business operators within the area, KAZI NI KAZI traders also deal in second hand commodities.
In this case, traders have embarked on strategies aiming at developing their businesses and the year’s resolution is to empower each trader with the ability to secure a loan from financial institutions according to Boniface Ndagijimana the Vice Chairman KAZI NI KAZI Association.
“We have started an association and the year’s resolution is to ensure that it is fully registered so that each of us, through this association can easily access loans to raise enough capital to effectively operate a profitable business,” Ndagijimana said.
He explains that some traders get goods from other external traders on credit to pay for sales. However, he noted that there is over charging in such business transactions hence limiting and reducing the profit percentage traders could earn than when they paid cash.
“Some traders have no option but to deal in less paying transactions than missing to earn even the little they do. So if we acquire loans with the aim of boosting our businesses, we can earn reasonable profits,” he stressed.
Although he admitted that the area is over populated given the activities, he said more people are interested in joining and added that currently, about 150 traders operate from the area.
Degaule Gahize is one of the operators in the area. He is a technician, dealing in phone and computer repairing, for both hard and soft ware. He says ever since he moved from Nyarugenge market, the place has been the source of life for the last five years.
“I am one of the pioneers of this place but I do not regret the costs I incur in operating from here ever since I started,” Gahize said.
He added that “Before, I tried to find a place to operate from in town but I could not afford the charges.”
According to Gahize, charges in the market include the monthly rent payment and tax of Rwf 10,000 to the district.
He explains that although shops in town can also be shared, it remains more expensive than the sharing system in the area that makes rent cheaper, hence making business possible for those with small capital.
“Here, we rent according to the space one will operate from. This also gives the chance for beginners to start business with the little capital,” he said.
He added that the place attracts people or clients who can not afford to buy from shops within town. He attributed this to the availability of second hand commodities that include modern chairs, radios, televisions and the other services offered with in that particular place.
The area has also played a role in suppressing hawkers from the city according to Sarah Akimana a dealer in electrical appliances.
She says that before, she used to move around the city with clothes but changed to electrical appliances after getting a place to operate from like her other colleagues.
“I was a hawker in town, but my friend advised me to change business when she got for me a place where I can peacefully operate from. I have also managed to connect other friends to this place so that they can leave the streets,” Akimana said.
She added that life has changed ever since she started operating from the area, stressing that she operates with a peaceful mind that also allows her to concentrate on her business.
“All what I have achieved from my business is because I operate with a free mind, that allows me to plan and undertake profitable ventures,” she said.