Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
WE HAVE opened our 34th Shoprite and 32nd Hungry Lion stores today at Munali Mall in Lusaka. This will service the residents of Munali, Chudleigh, Chamba Valley, Kaunda Square, Mtumbi and beyond,” wrote Shoprite Zambia general manager Charles Bota on his Facebook wall on August 30, 2018.
Through its expansion programme, Shoprite Zambia has become a key player in the economy of the country.
The Munali stores have created 150 direct and 55 indirect local jobs, bringing total local jobs in Zambia to 4,150 direct and 1,700 indirect.
Mr Bota says now Shoprite has 16,700 items on range with 80 percent sourced from local suppliers and local agents.
The Munali store, built at K16 million, was overseen by local regional manager Davies Kalimukwa.
In its continued empowerment of citizens, Shoprite promoted Gift Kalinda to run his own store as branch manager after starting as fruit and vegetables supervisor and climbing up 20 years in the system. Mr Bota says with the Munali project done and dusted, the supermarket chain will now focus on finishing a mall it is building off Great North Road in Lusaka and expected to open in November.
Shoprite’s rise and rise narrative in Zambia is a game changer and contributing to the country’s economic diversification agenda.
Apart from job opportunities for mostly the youths who are employed from the locality where the stores are based, the giant supermarket also creates spin-off business opportunities for other businesses from the leverage of traffic of Shoprite’s anchor tenancy.
There are opportunities for real estate owners as some landlords benefit by accommodating newly-employed Shoprite employees or those being transferred.
Income streams are generated for local authorities for trading licences, fire certificates, health checks, etc
Shoprite is helping create aesthetic appeal in neighbourhoods, and long-term effect includes appreciation of property values.
Shoprite’s expansion is helping decongesting areas by spreading out services.
For instance, the Shoprite and Hungry Lion stores at Munali Mall will cater for Chamba Valley, Chudley, Hellen Kaunda, Meanwood Kwamwena, Kaunda Square Stages One and Two,PHI, Kalingalinga, Kalikiliki and Mtendere townships.
University of Zambia workers, just like their Kalingalinga neighbours, will still be spoilt for options between Arcades, East Park and Manda Hill.
As developers like Shoprite continue to make forays in neighbourhoods, property owners in the areas where the supermarket registers a footprint are forced to raise their standards.
This means that car washes, homes and shop owners are forced to upgrade because their structures look too old and out of fashion.
This is evident in Kalingalinga and Mtendere areas where properties are being upgraded to sync with new standards brought about by new properties such as shopping malls.
Although the expansion of malls may seem to perpetuate the notion that Zambia is a trading nation, there is a silver lining in the horizon.
Zambia has potential to graduate from a trading to an industrial nation by replicating the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai witnessed a quantum leap in development due to being a duty-free zone and attracted big companies from all over the world to set up there.
Government’s recent decision to ban the importation of vegetables and fruits which are grown locally is already paying off.
Some supermarkets and hotels have embraced the directive wholeheartedly and are buying products such as watermelons, red onion, tomatoes, potatoes and the famous yellow pumpkin ideal for making soup.
There are a few supermarkets which are buying produce from small-scale farmers.
As for Shoprite’s expansion, its real value will be seen in the long term especially that it is leading from the front in supporting the agriculture sector by buying produce from local farmers.
Shoprite also buys locally made sausages from local people besides Zambeef Plc with which it has a standing arrangement by trading in-store.
Zambia’s narrative is indeed on the rise – thanks to commitment by Shoprite to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.
Shoprite, which started off from former Zambia Consumer and Buying Corporation and National Import and Export stores when it commenced its operations in Zambia, is not only contributing to the country’s economic development through employment creation but modernisation by sprucing up the areas where it is building its shops.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO