The rise of cheap market stalls in Marsabit Town



(second part in a series that examines markets and the changing face of Marsabit)

The newest addition to the changed face of Marsabit has become the ubiquitous and colorful stalls made from iron ( black ) sheets.

In every section of the town, old iron sheets are being torn down and replaced with black sheets.

The speed at which they are set up has added to a new pace of aesthetic development and element of surprising progress to the hitherto slow moving sleepy Town.

The new stalls have led to positive competition. One only pays between 8,000 and 12,000khs per month to run business in one of the stalls.

The old block structures charge 15,000 to 20,000khs per month. These is considered prohibitive by the young people who are now venturing into business.

Some of the common businesses include cyber shops, electrical shops, barber shops, cosmetics and beauty shops, pubs, bus booking office, fast food joints, chewing places and boutiques.

“I chose this because it’s new and it’s been built according to a modern standard“ says a young lady standing in front of her wood paneled cyber shop.

She was waiting for her shop to be connected to electricity.

The tenants had occupied the new shops even before they were completed.

“Think of this as a business centre where you will find all kinds of items, everything you need in one place. “

The County boom is part of the new rush . She is sure that there will be enough business for her with all the tenders and scholarships papers needing photo copying.

Some of these businesses were run by government employees and it sought to give a legit front to dirty money and in other cases it was used as a way to channel resources to the County employee who outsourced some of the services to his shop.

Creative names that are not tied to religion or Ethiopian towns are pasted on the door fronts of these stall. Pointing at a radical departure from how businesses were conceived and operated. The colours and diverse names gives one a sense of urban hype and point at a young and entrepreneurial demographic.

The most visible structure in the centre of Town is Silvia Inn hotel that is immediately followed by the black sheet stall. Going by the activities in the stalls, one senses that more business is taking place in the stall than in the bigger permanent buildings.

The above is along a hitherto obscure mosque road and is the latest addition to the Town. This is owned by Marsabit Jamia Mosque.

In the above “mini Market” all manner of businesses can be seen. All the 20 stalls are owned by a single investor who has a similar ” mini market” at the Arjallo Bus stage. These single investor has at least 40 stalls.

Mr. Boru Kitito who operates his electrical goods and appliances supply shop is a happy man and says business is doing good for him.

The investment of this new stalls in hitherto obscure or “non business looking ” side of Town means that marsabit residents will reconfigure their mental maps in navigating the town.

‘This is possibly the first such black sheet structure constructed. It is presently serving as rental houses in a side of the town.

New Modern Market

The new modern market that is under construction is set for completion in the 2018/19 final year. With the addition of these new and modern market a further 300 more stalls will be added to the already over invested stalls.

The prices of shop rents will definitely go down.

And it will be possible to see some of these new stalls be vacant for lack of business people.

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