All over Zimbabwe, cars have become mobile markets used by enterprising residents who are selling goods from their vehicles to cope with economic hardships caused by the Coronavirus.
With their car doors and trunks wide open by the side of busy roads, eager sellers display a colorful array of goods in Harare, the capital city.
Shelton Marange worked as a mechanic before he was laid off in May. Nowadays, he braves the southern hemisphere’s chilly winter weather and the risk of arrest or contracting coronavirus to drive to a village 30 kilometers away at dawn to buy vegetables from rural farmers. Then he heads back to Harare to resell the goods from the back of his small truck.
Zimbabwe’s economy was already in trouble before the Coronavirus, beset by rising inflation, the declining value of the local currency, high unemployment, and acute shortages of water, electricity and gas. The country’s economy is likely to decline by more than 10% this year, considerably more than the 3.2% contraction projected for the entire sub-Saharan Africa economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.
In Zimbabwe, selling items from the back of car trunks to beat economic hardships is not completely new, but it was mainly limited to those selling second-hand clothes. Now, newly unemployed people clog roadsides and street corners in both rich and poor suburbs in Harare to sell from their cars. Many said the items for sale are smuggled from neighboring South Africa, which has closed its border posts with Zimbabwe as part of lockdown measures.