Friday

Trading At Kasumba-Lesa..; My Experience

Hi everyone. Its been a few weeks since my last post and I would like to apologize to my readers for that. Well, I am back now and today am gonna share with you a very interesting topic.

Well, for the past one year and some months, I have been living in two countries. I have been living both in Zambia (my home) and in Denmark. I would like to say that I am a "Nomad". and I somehow like it ;-) . 

THE GOAT BUSINESS

Sometime last year, I think that was in June/July, I visited home and I had a few cash on me. I wanted to double my cash, so I decided to find a quick business to do since I was going to be home for three months. I did my research but apparently I didn't do it thoroughly. One day, a friend of mine came by and suggested that we put our monies together and go into the villages to buy live goats so that we can take them to Kasumbalesa (It's a town that boarders Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo). I was told that, when we go in the nearby villages especially in the southern part of Zambia, we will be able to buy one goats for about K100.00 (about US$13) each and we will be able to sell them in Kasumbalesa for upto k600.00 (US$90). Oh yes!!! you heard me right hehehehe! I wanted to buy 20 goats and I didn't even hesitate. The following day, my friend and I went to look for goats in the villages. We went to Choma (Southern Zambia). I remember we got there a bit late in the evenings and we had to sleep on the veranda at one of the shops.. We didn't want to book ourselves into a lodge because we didn't want to spend anymore of our capital money. We already saw ourselves as millioniers and we were ready to sacrifice.

We never even slept that night, the floor was so hard plus it was very cold (that was during the Zambian winter). We ended up joining some call-boys who had made a very big fire and that fire went on through out the night. They were very nice boys and harmless. They welcomed us and we started roasting and eatin some sweet potatoes. It was a great evening and the boys kept telling us about their lives and listened to some juicy stories about there gilfriends and wives. The following day, we took off around 5am into the villages, and guess what? There were no goats anywhere near..., we walked for maybe about 10km or more deep inside the villages and we came across this small village where we were told to wait till the following morning because it was late and we were tired and hungry. There was this man, who was a friend of the village headman who welcomed us with his wife and family. They were really nice people, (i need to go and visit them some day). We were given some food, and a warm place to spend a night. In the morning, we were taken to the headman for an introduction (you dont do busines in the village without an introduction to the chief or the headman). After the introduction, we were directed where to go and look for goats.

Anyway, we never found any goats in that village, so was in the next and the next and the next village. We spent one week trying to find these goats so that we can be millioniers! There were no goats!!! We managed to find one though and it was going for about us$20 and we also ended up buying live pigs that weigh about 200kgs each. Bought five pigs for about US$50 each. We never went to kasumbalesa because we ran out of cash and the we ended up selling them in Lusaka at a place called "pa Kabesha" in Chibolya compound (you can sell anything at this place). We sold them at the same price we bought them at.

The following week, we tried in some villages in Kaoma, Mazabuka and Siavonga. Believe me, there were no goats! When we were in Siavonga, we even tried to buy bags of dry kapenta (very small dried fish).

THE DRY FISH BUSINESS

That's me, selling dry fish at Kasumbalesa
Then two weeks later, another friend encouraged me to try dry fish. I was told to buy some dried fish from Lusaka (the capital City of Zambia) and take them to Kasumbalesa. (appearently, Kasumbalesa is extremyly good for business. Because of the conflict that has been going on in Congo for many years, there is a shortage of so many commodities). People from Congo can only buy commodities from the nearby countries. And Kasumbalesa is one of the boarders that offer different types of business opportunities both for the Zambian people and the Congolese people.


I followed the dry fish idea and I had to do it on my own because my friend had blown off the capital hehe! I went to a place in Lusaka called "ku-mobil", the name is actually taken from the Mobil filling station located right there. This is where the fishermen go to and sell their fish from the rivers. I had to go there around 5am in the morning because I was told that, if I go late, I wont find anything. The first day, I managed to buy some fish worthy about US$200. There is always a truck there and a bus that goes to Kasumbalesa every Tuesday and Thursday. I went there on Tuesday and I managed to buy the fish. You have to be very smart and behave like an a real marketeer if you are to buy anything there. You have to put the box of your goodies on the truck and then you go with a bus. The truck comes after you with everything.
Just received our fish.
I had never been to Kasumbalesa before and I was kind of anxious and nervous about the whole thing. We started off from Lusaka around 4pm and we got there the following morning around 5am. 

When you get there, you have to talk to some people who own what they call "deports" and these guys will be able to allocate you with a stand and some place to sleep in case you don't finish selling the same day. And you have to pay a fee of about US$4 a day. I did all that and I was given a stand. That's the one in the picture above where there is me selling fish. It was very interesting and I had to be extremly smart and learn their currency too. I pulled it off and made some women friends who were doing the business for a while.

inside Kasumbalesa market
Conclusion; it was a very bad idea because when I got there, all I could see was fish and fish and more fish! And you can see in the picture (inside kasumbalesa market) how much fish there was, all kinds of dry fish! That was just the part were I was selling from, the place is bigger than that! hehehehe!! I sold mine and made about US$20 profit. I was encouraged to go back since I had gained some experience. I went back with some fish again, and I went with my friend this time around. Only this time I lost almost all my money. I didn't make any profit and I lost about 50% of my capital. On top of that, We had struggles in coming back to Lusaka. There were no cars and we had to get on a truck that was coming from Congo going to South Africa via Zambia. And that was the end of my Kasumbalesa business adventure and I don't think I will be going back there again.

MY ADVICE IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO DO BUSINESS AT THE KASUMBA-LESA BOADER TOWN.

You have to know exactly what is selling there. And remember, if someone says; take some oranges or green beans., then it means there are 100s of people who have taken the same things. And you dont makdm anything because you have to compete with the price. I learnt that, even people from Angola are now rushing to Kasumbalesa to do business. The only way to do it is by going there physically, do a proper research and try to make some contacts and connect with the guys from Congo. They will be able to tell you exactly what they need and how much they are willing to pay for it. I did make some connections and contacts but it was too late. Doing it twice was enough for me. But yes, there is lots of business opportunities there. Just be very careful and know what you are doing.

Thats about a month and some weeks ago in Rødvig Havn, Denmark. Having a lighter moment with a friend. I like to think of myself as a Chameleon, I can be anywhere and manage to blend in.

25 comments:

  1. Truly inspiring. I want to drive up there in a few days from Livingstone. Long journey

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  2. I have known this Congolese guy and he has been trying to convince me to give (lend) him $2000 so he can do the onion business there. He gives me figures that I'm sceptical of but again wouldn't want to regret not having given it a try. He says he wants to be sourcing the onions from South Africa but to me it's a waste of time to travel that long distance when Zambia had enough onion to make all African eyes cry. But due to trust issues, I want to meet him there so I will drive there from Livingstone where I will arrive from and see first hand if it is worth it. Wish me luck

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    1. thank you for leaving a comment Mweemba. Long drive indeed! The idea of you driving there is the best. You go there and meet up with this person and talk. Have an agreement in place and dont give him any money. Let him be the middle-man, let him find you the business and be the one to supply. Just agree on how much you will be giving him for finding you the market. Otherwise, onions is a good business there too. just go and do a research in person first. God bless you.

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  4. Truly inspiring. I want to drive up there in a few days from Livingstone. Long journey

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    1. All the best! And you will make it. God bless you!

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    2. All the best! And you will make it. God bless you!

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  5. I set sail from Johannesburg and flew into my home city of Livingstone. From there I picked my Toyota Allex and headed for an adventure unknown. The only thing known was my destination at the end of the expedition. Kasumbalesa. I drove to Lusaka where I was to meet a farmer who was said to have had bags of onions. When I got there, I found the commodity had already been sold. Chipata was my next lead. I drove on. When I reached Mwami border, I was told in to uncertain terms that the only source was Malawi. At that point, I had already spend $1000 out of the $4000 I was willing to spend on the business. I thought long and hard but this wasn't the point to look back. I would not bear lose the $1000 just like that. I would rather have to lose everything.
    I left my car there and used public transport into Malawi. It wasn't at all pleasant. I finally found the commodity. Long story short, I managed to get a good number of bags and made it to Kasumbalesa with Red Onions. I made $7000 in a few days there. $4000 deducted and I had $3000 left. I changed my ticket back from economy to Business Class aboard SAA.

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    1. Thats the way to go. Thank God all went on well. I am happy for you. I am glad you made that much of a profit. Business is there at Kasumbalesa, you just have to be smart.

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    2. And thank you for sharing your success story. A lot of people will be encouraged.

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  6. I'm delighted to share success experiences

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  7. It is always good to hear stories from Zambia. I think the African experience is so unique, very special in its own way. Inonge, you are very brave.

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    1. I agree with you on this one. We Africans ara full of adventure and we are strong too. But i feel like sometimes we like to hold ourselves back in fear of what others may think of us if we venture out in a "different" direction than "normal."

      Thank you 21 AcreFarm.

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  8. Mweemba, I like your story but I'm curious to know the aftermath of your business if u ever went back or wouldn't and why?

    Désiré

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    1. I did go back there but I didn't find the onions in abundance. I then bought the white South African onion and it goes just as fine

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  9. Thanks for this......

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  10. I am intending on going to Kasumbalesa specifically for a rice and potato business, I would be more than thankful if you would advice me if the aforementioned commodities are lucrative, thank you

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    1. Hi. Thank you for leaving a comment. I am hoping that Mweemba would respond to your comment. I personally cant advice for I have been in Europe since this post. I therefore have no information or advice.

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  12. Hi Thanks for information I am working on taking fresh beef there any one knows about beef business there

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  13. This mweemba character is a fraud he told me about some lucrative business in Zambia where I bring meds and sell them for times 3 in Zambia and convinced me to send him Money to do the permit at the pharmaceutical council of Zambia made me buy the medicines and travel all the way there to have him block me and not answer my calls.he is cruel bcoz even after explaining that I have to borrow money to see this deal through he still encouraged n assured me all is well little did I realise the other number of the so called buyer was also him! I'm in debt now and do not know where to start n people want their monies back ryt now.do not trust anyone go off and do your research by yourself and don't give anyone Money to do things for you it's always the most helpful persons who are evil at heart.he has ignored and blocked all msgs I've sent him even from different numbers and does not feel sorry at all.im a mother of 3 who are now going to go without food and fees thanks to you mweemba.you could have stopped conning me after you got my money but let me buy meds n travel all the way there for nothing.u don't con single desperate mothers god loves us he shall deal with you on my behalf you will regret this and you shall look for me and apologise and give me back all I spent there is power in Jesus name my tears will never go unnoticed by him.

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  14. just to confirm what the above person has said Mweemba is a con artist as i had a business with him and he has done the same thing to me. He stole 2 million kwacha i have a reward out for him so if anyone has any information about him please leave a msg here or contact the local police and tell them to get in touch with Choma police station as he escaped custody from there in December. Very convincing person but just a great lair

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