Oriental Plaza Mall in Gaborone Broadhurst Industrial Emerges as Lifeline for Small Businesses in Botswana
Batswana entrepreneurs operate a variety of businesses next to the mall own businesses such as roadside eateries, street vendors, and tuck shops outside the mall.
Botswana: The Oriental Plaza mall, located in Gaborone Broadhurst Industrial, has now become a source of survival for small businesses, writes Onneile Setlalekgosi-Ramasilo.
The mall serves as the main supplier of goods to Chinese stores in Botswana, and the shops within the mall are owned by Chinese.
Batswana entrepreneurs operate a variety of businesses next to the mall, such as roadside eateries, street vendors, and tuck shops outside the mall.
The mall itself has a variety of shops selling clothing, electronics, accessories, and homeware, with the majority of the products being made in China and sold at wholesale prices.
Many Batswana entrepreneurs have different views on the mall.
Some say they run their businesses to escape poverty, while others view the mall as a source of employment, as the country has been hit by a high unemployment rate of 24.93%.
Palalani Phillimon (45) owns a roadside eatery next to the mall. "I run my business according to the shop hours. When they open, I start working. I target customers visiting the mall," he says.
When COVID statistics were high in Botswana, the majority of shops within the mall sold essential items such as surgical masks and hand sanitiser.
Boniface Misa (44) shared that he has been unemployed since graduating with a degree in architecture design from Limkokwing University in 2014, and now earns a living by running a busy tuck shop next to the mall.
"I can cater for my needs, which I could not afford before. I also managed to buy a car that I am using now," he said.
Francis Chinzara (32) says he survives by sourcing piecework in the mall and is often temporarily hired to off-load stock containers.
Others have said they buy goods in bulk to sell in neighbouring countries such as Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Tshepiso Nkepela (19) from Pallaroad village works as a sales representative within the mall.
"With the salary from here, I can feed my family back home," she added. In conclusion, Oriental Plaza Mall has become a source of survival and employment for many small businesses and individuals in Botswana.