October 1, 2022

By Habib Kamara

Street trading is the order of the day in Sierra Leone, especially in the Central Business District (C.B.D.), which have made the country so congested because a lot of people sell different things around streets like Abacha, Rawdon, Dove Cut, Lumley and Fourah Bay Road, to name but a few.

Kadiatu Kanu is a street trader at Dove Cut, selling pepper.  She said that she has been a street trader for the past ten years and has been supporting her children’s education through it.

“It is not that we want to sell on the street, but there are not enough markets for us street traders. And if there is any, it would not be able to accommodate all of us because we are many,” she said, adding that there is a market at Victoria Park, which has been built for years now, but she does not know why they are not allowed to use it.

At the end of her interview, she stated that they should be allowed to occupy the said market. At least it will help reduce street trading in Sierra Leone.

Amadu Fofanah is also a street trader at Fourah Bay Road (Fire Burn) selling cloths. He has been selling there for a long time now. Street trading has helped him and his family greatly.

According to him, he knows that street trading has congested the city, but it is their only means of livelihood. He stated that he was aware of the market at Victoria Park, but to his own understanding the shops are for rent. “And I do not have such money to pay for rent. I don’t think street trading would be easily stopped in our country. This is because there are not enough jobs. So street trading is the only way some people find refuge,” Amadu Fofanah concluded.

Mr. Joseph Samuels is another concerned citizen. He had this to say, “Street trading is really the order of the day. You see a lot of people selling, and I know they are finding their daily bread. In fact, a lot of them are from the provinces. Everyone wants to come to Freetown rather staying in the provinces doing farm work, which would help boost our Agriculture. Government should build more big and spacious markets. ”

Mrs. Assanatu Carew is also a concerned Sierra Leonean who noted that street traders are many, “But I don’t think there is any government that can afford a big place for all of them. And even if government provides a market for them, there would be those who would come saying they do not sell when they are inside. This is where the problem begins because others would follow.”