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#Rwanda:’Chased’ street business in Kigali, a privilege in Singapore

Last week, the City of Kigali has announced the official confirmation of banning stree vendors from doing their businesses across the city’s streets, setting tough penalties and fines to those who will resist against the ban.

Most of people raised different reactions on the city authorities’ ‘controversial’ decision,many of whom saying they would not stand for it as a number of countries are benefiting a lot from street vendors when it comes to economic growth.Singapore, for instance, a street vendor won a global award on food purchase, the prize he was given by Michelin Star.


The 2015 Ministerial Order of May 2015, as it was published in Official Gazette of July 2016 was studied and confirmed to ban street vendors where, in its article 17, both a street vendor and a client are not allowed to sell and buy stuffs on the street respectively and article 19 sets fines against whoever goes against reads,”…whoever is alledged to being involved in the seling and selling of stuffs in the street will be charged Rwf 10’000….”

The order has started to be into force since January 18th 2017. The City Authorities say there are 12 free markets already built for over 6000 street vendors, among whom many refused to work in theese markets.

People’s views on the recent taken decisions
“No one likes doing business in disorder, but life can force you to do so. And telling a street vendor to stop doing such business he was doing doesn’t mean he no longer wants to eat. No way!” wrote Albert Nsengiyumva to Radio Isango Star’s Biravugwa Talk show on the other hand, anonymous source thinks the issue seems to have gone beyond the City authorities’ ability.”the city has failed, not once but more than once, they showed the weakness character,” he said, criticising criticising authorities’ suggestions of ” throwing away vendors’ fruits, from which they were expecting profit, while they would also save children who show signs of malnutrition”.

He also gave the point that street vendors save time for those who got no time to go to the market for shopping due to thier jobs which make them too busy to go to the market as they take their products within their reach to their offices, homes.He suggested that the City authorities should let them move on but help them design the way they can sell their stuffs on order.

The talk show followers who do street busines say they didn’t refuse to do theirn respective businesses in the designed free markets, and claim they were not given space to lay their products, revealing that the space was provided to some minor government employees’ spouses like DASSO, and other local authorities and Inkeragutabara among others.A former street vendor said he fears, once street businesses are banned, prostitution and theft crime rates will immediately rise.


street vendors in Singapore win awards
While such kind of businesses are being done here and there in different countries, what governments do is to make it done in a proper way to avoid disorder. In countries like India, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin and many more, there are no street vendors’ circulations. They instead put big umbrellas across the town streets and start selling their stuffs like fresh fruits, bread, shoes,… all on order. This means they dotheir businesses on streets on a known basis, not in disorder.

A Singaporean street cook has recently won a global award handed by Michelin Star in 2016. this company makes a worldwide study tour on the standards of food stuffs and suppliers and the award was handed to a 57 year-old Singaporean cook Chan Hon Meng and he since beacme popular. he sells between 150 and 180 chicken daily and works 17 hours a day, and , still, he doesn’t satisfy his market demand.

Eulade Uwayisaba was inspired by the Singapore example and suggets Rwanda should walk in the Asian coutry’s footsteps and free Street vendors do their respective businesses, but in a well structured order.
“How can we learn form them while our cuntry’s people are not allowed to apply Singaporean business strategies?” he wondered.

Street Vendors’ contribution to the world economic growth
Women Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing ( WIEGO) has an objective of Empowering Informal Workers, Securing Informal Livelihoods.Thewebsite’s article states that street vendors are much influential to their respective urban economic growth as they take goods to their customers within their reach, at good price, and at a place where a big number of people gather.


The case of Kigali street vendors known as ‘Masai’
A research conducted by Informal Economies Monitoring Study (IEMS) has described 5 ways street vendors contribute to the development of their residence places. They save for their families, feed them with fresh, healthy and enough food stuffs and pay school fees for their children.
They take good care of the city’s street safety and cleanliness, and show good customer care to their customers.They create countless jobs, not only for their sake but also for others in transport, safety, and stocking 2/3 of total respondents say that most of them pay taxes for doing business in their towns and fines where it matters.Street vendors are one of the most influential contributors on different cities’ economic development, where they own informal non-agricultural employments and different many towns appear to be obviously reliant on their taxes.

They, for instance, contribute 24 per cent on Lome’s economy (Togo), 19% in Cotonou/Benin, 15% in South Africa, 13% in Dakar/Senegal, 11% in both Hanoi/Vietnam and India and 9% in Lima/Peru. The fact that most street vending people are male is not a particularity of Rwanda as many more countries’ street businesses are being operated by men where, for instance, street business men in Ghana, South Africa and Kenya occupy 88, 68 and 63 per cent, respectively.

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Fred Irakoze/

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