Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Trade Bureau asks PM to expedite street vender reform

The Addis Ababa Trade Bureau has written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office asking him to push the city cabinet to ratify a new street trading regulation which was drafted 18 months ago.
A source in the trade bureau told Capital that the Prime Minister’s Office has received the letter and will soon address the issue. The source added that the bureau has already prepared a department plan to regulate and control street trading.
The new department will have over 2,000 staff working in a central office and throughout the city’s Weredas.
The department will work the Transport, Customs, Road, Police, Traffic Beautification and parks Bureaus to better manage street vendors. The venders will be registered and given a special location to work in.
‘’We are ready to do our job but we need the regulation. I hope the Prime Minister’s Office will speed up its ratification then each vendor must obtain their own license and work under the required procedure,” a source said.
Previously the city administration allowed street vending in Megenagna, Sidist Killo, and Kolfe but many trade illegally in other areas.
Today, street vendors in Addis sell jewelry, electronic devices, fruits, vegetables, and second hand clothing including underwear.
Last month staff from the city administration went to Bangkok to get tips on how to deal with street vending.
The exact number of vendors in the city is unknown but a 2014 study indicated that there were 87,000. Now there may be as many as 117,000 unlicensed street vendors.
The streets of Addis Ababa are becoming vibrant and crowded, especially after work-hours, with vendors selling many items. Thus, in the evenings, the sidewalks are crowded with buyers bending down trying to look at items or sellers clogging the street with their products.
Some research indicates that street vending represents a significant share of the urban, informal economy. Because of poverty and high unemployment many people turn to street vending to survive.