TANZANIA – Regional retailer Nakumatt Holdings invested $2 million (Sh3.2 billion) in its new branch in Arusha as it seeks to double the formal retail penetration in East Africa in the next ten years.
The chain wants to increase the formal retail penetration from the current less than 14 per cent to at least 30 per cent in the region by 2025, according to Nakumatt holdings managing director, Mr Atul Shah.
“My dream is to see thousands of farmers and other cottage industries accessing formal retail markets such as Nakumatt,” Mr Shah noted, adding:
“For this, we have committed to play a mentorship role to raise the capacity of organised groups to deliver suitably packaged and market ready retail products.”
He, however, said such growth for a formal retail sector will require concerted efforts, amongst all stakeholders and will in turn inspire the regional growth.
Alongside this dream, Mr Shah harbours an even more ambitious wish to see the East African countries host the 2030 Football World Cup perhaps in Arusha, Kigali, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam or Kampala.
“As East Africans, we must embrace a common vision to inspire regional development and foster social cohesion. In my view, nothing does this better than a common dream to host a global soccer bonanza,” he noted.
Gracing the official opening of the Nakumatt Arusha branch, the EAC secretary general, Dr Richard Sezibera, said the treaty says that the EAC is private sector driven and people centred, meaning that East Africans have the opportunity to grow.
“We should think East Africans for us to grow. Unfortunately there are some people who think very locally and therefore miss opportunities,” Dr Sezibera stressed.
The EAC boss commended Nakumatt holdings for its regional spirit and plans to operate 24-hours seven days a week.
Arusha City Mayor, Gaudence Lyimo, thanked the Nakumatt management for choosing Arusha as the best place to invest.
“For us, Nakumatt supermarket will add value to our city which is famous as the Geneva of Africa,” Lyimo said, imploring other investors to borrow a leaf from Nakumatt.
Currently enjoying a more than $650million turnover for its regional operations, Shah confirmed that Nakumatt’s future looks bright with its expansion plans now targeting such markets as South Sudan and Burundi, among others.
With the opening of Nakumatt Mlimani, Pugu Road and Arusha, Shah pointed out that Nakumatt now has four running stores in Tanzania. The three new stores are the latest additions to the existing Nakumatt Moshi store which opened its doors in 2011 in the bustling town at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro.
In Kenya, Nakumatt is also gearing up for the opening of two new stores by the end of the year.