Chipo Pasi (not her real name), a cross-border trader who supplies electrical goods to retailers at the Gulf Complex in Harare, had a hectic schedule during the just-ended Christmas holiday, during which she recorded brisk business.
While many other people had locked up their offices and gone to be with their families, for her it was business as usual, but she has no regrets.
“I supply DVD players, generators, televisions and two-plate stoves with ovens at the Gulf Complex after every two days. I get electrical goods from Botswana but usually I have orders from buyers at the complex, which makes it easy for me in terms of selling,” said Pasi.
She said during the Christmas holiday, she recorded a profit scale of between $80 and $250 per day.
She said she supplies DVD players for $25, 21-inch television sets for $80, two-plate stoves for $55 as well as generators, whose price depends on the size.She said fast sales were being realised from DVDs and two- plate stoves.
Pasi however refused to disclose exactly how she gets the wares into the country through the border, though she volunteered she is forced by circumstances to resort to unorthodox means.
Another cross-border trader, who identified herself as Christine, said she travels to South Africa twice every week and sells clothes and blankets at the complex.
“The Christmas holiday provided us with good business, I cashed $400 on Christmas Eve. But since then business has been quiet. Maybe people no longer have money in their pockets,” said Christine.
Gulf Complex is a business site for informal traders who sell clothes, kitchenware, tiles, sinks, household goods and Chinese products.
Informal traders at the complex pay $400 per month for the little space that one is allocated.
Cross-border trading thrived in 2007 when the country was facing economic challenges and the trade has been on a downward trend since last year when groceries became available in local shops.
Currently cross-border traders are importing electrical goods and clothes as many textile companies are no longer operational.
Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate has also fuelled the level of informal trading in the country.