– Market Women Describe 2022

By. Jerromie S. Walters

Monrovia, Liberia—Friday, December 30, 2022: The year is coming to an end in the next 48 hours, and Liberians are gearing up for the new year while reflecting on a year filled with blessings, grace, and, of course, challenges.

Grace couldn’t be excluded as there still exists the gift of life, but despite the breath that’s still being inhaled and exhaled, there’s even more aggression shown in the lives of some Liberians, especially market women.

The Womenvoices Newspaper took a microphone out into the streets to hear what Liberians (especially female marketers) thought about 2022. The microphone caught the waves of what many of them said was a tough year for their businesses, with lots of problems and setbacks.

Kumba Tamba, a marketer in Rally Town who’s involved in the sale of dry goods (different kinds of smaller markets), said the business in 2022 was not good as much as in other years.

“When we put the market down, for people to buy it can’t be easy; we will sleep, sleep, and sleep before someone will come buy a single thing,”  she said.

She thinks the slow pace of business  is a result of the low purchasing people of people or not being paid, and as such, she wants the government to increase the pay of its employees and invest more money in the economy in order for their businesses to grow in 2023.

Unusually, Mamie Kanneh, a 65-year-old businesswoman at Rally Town Market, is among scores of other market women who described 2022 as a difficult year for them.

Though there were encouraging purchases made on a few occasions, the elderly business woman who sells dry goods said the business was indeed slow in 2022.

“People are not buying as we experienced before; in 2022, they can buy at times, but the business is very slow, and I think it’s because there’s no money, so I’m asking the government to invest in the economy and be paying their workers regularly, so when they get money, they will buy from us,”  she said.

Rebecca Nyumah is another local business woman in central Monrovia; she sells palm nuts and often transports herself from Gardnersville to central town daily to do her business.

Referencing the numerous challenges she confronted along the way, she termed her involvement in the business in 2022 as one that was guarded by God’s grace.

“No buying; sometimes the business can be tough; most often, it can spoil in our hands, and it can become a problem for us to pay for the people market because we can credit it at times.”

As many other women insinuated, Rebecca said the economy is weak and civil servants are not being paid.

Like Mamie Kanneh, Helena Gbaryu, an elderly woman who’s involved in the sale of fufu, said business dropped in 2022, pointing out that the usual quantity of fufu she often purchases was previously sold for 1.000 Liberian dollars, but it increased in 2022 to 4.000 Liberian dollars.

She said at the current price the goods are sold for, she doesn’t expect to make a profit often because, at times, she either gets the actual money she invested in it or experiences a loss.

Ma Helena Gbaryu called on the government to invest more in its people, as she believes it’s challenging to earn money in Liberia, which is why a lot of Liberians are not consuming like before.

Similar to Helena’s experience, Musa Fahnma, a businesswoman and resident of Sinkor, said the year 2022 was difficult for her business.

According to her, her highest daily sale in 2022 was often around 500 Liberian dollars.

However, based on the women’s testimonies, it’s safe to say that the year 2022 was filled with a lot of difficulties that market women will not want to experience in the coming years.

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