Botswana Consumer Fair window for shoppers

The Fair started on the 24th of August and ended yesterday (September 2). According to the organisers of the Fair, it is purely dedicated to the act of buying; shopping defines the purpose of the fair. The Fair, which went by the slogan, “Your Spring Shopping Oasis” had under one roof brought together exhibitors with a diverse range of goods and services to shoppers.

According to Joyce Thema, the CEO of Fairground Holdings, the Fair provided a unique opportunity for Batswana business people to market their goods in an innovative way, as a way of meeting the demands of a modern and sophisticated market, in line with global trends. She said the Fair offerd opportunities for consumers to come into direct contact with wholesalers, retailers and service providers at one spot.

With the accelerated diversification drive by the Government, the retail industry in Botswana is one of the fastest growing sectors that provides the most growth in employment and offers best returns.

Thema observed that with strategies such as the Fair, Botswana can emulate countries such as Dubai and Malaysia that have successfully diversified their economies after depending on single resources such as oil and rubber respectively. “This strategy can also work for Botswana and could cascade into other down-stream industries and possibly an export processing zone industry,” she said.

Some of the exhibitors said since the Fair began they have made a killing. Kuty Fwalanga from Zambia sold hair products and she got approximately 20 clients an hour on average. “People were buying my products; this Fair has provided a market for a lot of my products,” she said. She has not had any problems since she arrived in Botswana and appreciated the chance to interact with customers.

Olebogeng Mokowe is in the business of selling garments and said the first two days of the show provided a lot of business for her. She sells mostly to people when they are off duty, “therefore the business comes when people have knocked off from their jobs.”

Marea Ntsholetsang sold items made from leather. Her company operates from Selibe Phikwe and is called African Leather Products. She told Gazette Business in an interview that the Consumer Fair came at a perfect time for her when people were ready to buy her products. Ntsholetsang said this kind of exhibition was good because it provided retail businesses with a market for their goods. “It also exposed us to potential customers who do not know about our services, since we are in Selibe- Phikwe,” she said.

A Fair organiser said the only problem they encountered occurred because local traders wanted to register at the very last minute. “They thought they were being mistreated, but they were told that they should have registered early because people from outside countries had long registered,” she said. ‘ Botswana Gazette.

September 2006
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