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Foreigners rule informal trading (outcompeting even Shoprite). Consumers win!

10 July 2019 7:01 PM

About 20% of every rand spent in South Africa goes to informal stores, mostly foreign-run. GG Alcock on his book “KasiNomics".

Informal traders are 7% cheaper on average than large, formal retailers such as Shoprite, a survey by SBGS and informal sector activations firm Minanawe Marketing showed.

Informal traders are usually closer to the consumer, which saves her or him the transport costs.

About 20% of every rand spent in South Africa goes to informal stores, according to Nielsen research.

Foreigners - mainly Somalians, Ethiopians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis - run about 70% of informal stores in South Africa.

For his weekly business book review, The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed GG Alcock about his book “KasiNomics: African Informal Economies and the People Who Inhabit Them”.

GG Alcock is CEO of Minanawe Marketing.

A spaza shop in Joe Slovo Park, Cape Town (picture credit:

Description of “KasiNomics” on

KasiNomics attempts to cast a light on the invisible matrix at the heart of South Africa’s informal economies and the people who live in them.

Living and doing business in African marketplaces requires an ethos uniquely suited to the informal, to the invisible, to the intangible.

KasiNomics will take you down those rural pathways, weave between claustrophobic mazes of shacks, browse a muti market, visit a spirit returning ceremony and save money with gogo in a stokvel, among many more people and places.

After almost 20 years of focusing on marketing to the informal sector, GG Alcock, CEO of specialist marketing company Minanawe, showcases some ground-breaking and very successful case studies in this invisible informal world.

His vivid anecdotes and life experiences and how they link to understanding and inspiration for business ideas will make you gasp, laugh and shake your head in wonder.

For more detail listen to the interview in the audio below (and scroll down for quotes from it).

The muti industry is worth R3 billion a year…

GG Alcock, CEO - Minanawe

We have this massive sector that we don’t know how to regulate. And we want to regulate it because we want to tax it…

GG Alcock, CEO - Minanawe

You could halve that 27% unemployment rate if you took into account informal businesses…

GG Alcock, CEO - Minanawe

The real losers are the formal retailers. The winner is the consumer… We should be looking at why they’re successful…

GG Alcock, CEO - Minanawe

Are we supporting South African businesses?

GG Alcock, CEO - Minanawe

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10 July 2019 7:01 PM

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