China-made wares popular for sale in Kenya
04 February 2016, 20:48
Nakuru - China-made wares
attractive to women are among the popular products that Kenyan traders are
finding profitable to sell in the major urban centers in the East Africa
These include the shower caps, headscarves and hair bands
commonly used by women for the indoor and outdoor activities.
Rahab Wanjiku, who hawks the wares at the Nakuru town,
central Kenya, told Xinhua Wednesday that they are fairly priced, a factor that
many of the customers consider in purchasing the goods.
"We have a variety of shower caps and headscarves whose
prices range from 1 U.S. dollar to 2.5 dollars based on the quality. But a hair
band goes for 0.5 dollars and 2 dollars depending on the size," said the
trader while showing the labels on the products which indicated they were made
By 7 a.m., Wanjiku would be in the town hawking the goods
from one public service vehicle to another, which is the main strategy used by
thousands of the Kenyan micro and small scale traders to find a market.
"The fact that they are marketable is the only reason I
am still in this business. Hawking these goods feeds my three children,"
said Wanjiku who started hawking three years ago after losing her waitress job
in a local hotel.
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Wanjiku trades in goods that for many years have been
imported from India, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, but in the recent
years China has overtaken the market competing for a dominating space.
Hawking has offered thousands of Kenyans access to
self-employment, but accurate figures on those engaged in it are difficult to
quote since the micro and small scale business sector is still under
restructuring and reorganization.
However, hawking in Kenya is not limited to women oriented
products imported from China.
Since 2012, Kenya has eyed China as a friendly development
partner to cooperate with in achieving its socio-economic growth targets as
outlined in the country's Vision 2030.
Currently, China exports technological devices such as
mobile phones and pads which are also sold in small shops in cities and major
towns across the country.
Kenya is also receiving heavy machinery from China,
including infrastructure equipment and farming apparatus which are critical to
expanding the country's economic growth.
By 2015, trade exchanges between China and Kenya stood at
average of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to grow with the continued
expansion of cordial bilateral relations between the Asian giant and Africa.
Inflow of Chinese products into the Kenyan market may offer
an alternative source of income for Kenyans such as Wanjiku, but their quality
must be tested and assured by relevant authorities states, said Professor
George Gongera, a scholar in micro and macro-economic issues.
"It is a favourable option to target individuals who
have a low consumer power because they offer a market, but it is also important
to consider their durability of the products," he said.
He said Chinese investors can partner with Kenyans to
establish factories manufacturing quality goods which could be sold not only in
Kenya but also penetrate into the global market.
This, he said, could create more job opportunities through a
systematic and organized market chain.