Cigarette distributor, BAT Malawi has invested over K125 million to support traders in the informal sector through the establishment and maintenance of vending kiosks for retailers of its cigarette products.
About 278 vendors are now running thriving cigarette selling businesses with support from BAT Malawi which also pays municipal licence bills for its kiosk operators.
Since May 2015, the company has placed an additional 15 kiosks between the major cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and other surrounding areas over and above the existing 38 kiosks it had over the years and an additional 75 extra brand new hawker’s trolley in addition to the 150 trolleys invested in prior years.
BAT Malawi has also provided traders in selected areas with brand new motor bikes to assist in the distribution of cigarettes.
BAT Malawi’s Country Manager Gustav Ernst said whilst the model has been a sure way of increasing BAT Malawi’s sales by ensuring there is product availability, visibility and price compliance in the different markets, it has also been valuable to the traders as they have been able to grow their cigarette businesses and expand their reach.
“The company now has over 11,000 people in Malawi who are dependent, directly or indirectly, for their livelihood on the sale of their products: the company’s brand offerings Dunhill, Peter Stuyvesant, Pall Mall and Ascot,” said Ernst.
In addition, the company says its project is also in line with city councils’ market clean up initiative whose aim is to ensure that all traders and vendors are in designated trading areas in the town centres.
“BAT Malawi directly engages the city councils for approval prior to any kiosk placement and pays the necessary business license fees on behalf of the traders,” reads a statement from the company.