Thrift Market: Used shoe business, profitable business

The one who feeds hundreds of people

• The shoes are sourced from European countries

• About 200,000 CFA francs of trading volume per month

“Burkinas are generally interested in second-hand goods, because they are cheaper and of higher quality,” said Bernard Elbodo, a shoe seller at the shoe market behind the Maison du Peuple. (F. Evan Sama).

According to the French dictionary, a thrift store can be defined as all the clothes and things that other people have used. These include clothing, handbags, shoes and even household appliances. In recent years, a thrift store has boomed in the Burkina Faso market. It is popular with users. Clothes are usually called “yougou yougou” and things, “France goodbye”. L’Economiste du Faso was specifically interested in the used shoe market segment, which overshadowed even the sale of new shoes. There are used shoe sellers everywhere in Ouagadougou, in particular, in the markets, along the roads or on the street. Where do these shoes come from? Is the business profitable? To try and answer these questions, L’Economiste du Faso has plunged into this market in Ouagadougou.

Where do thrift store shoes come from?
Bockari Ouedraogo is a used shoe seller on the edge of Boulevard France-Afrique, not far from the Petit d’Oue roundabout. It specializes in selling children’s thrift store shoes. He talks about the origin of his goods. “I have been doing this business for two years. I take my goods from a wholesaler in Ouagadougou. The latter imports shoes from Lomé (Togo). They are from Europe, in particular, in France”, stated Mr. Ilbodou. Take a package of shoes from the wholesaler at the price of 40,000 CFA, 60,000 CFA or 75,000 CFA francs. A ball can count between 1,000 and 1,500 shoes selling between 500 and 1,000 FCFA per pair of shoes. Bernard Elbodo has 15 years working in this profession. An evolution in selling new shoes and used clothes. It mainly sells adult shoes. It is installed in the shoe market behind the Maison du Peuple, on the rue Traoré Diongolo. For him, the second-hand shoes found in the Burkina Faso market mostly come from countries such as Italy, France and other European countries. He says that traders go to stock in coastal countries like Togo and Ghana. According to Mr. Ilboudo, wealthy merchants often import their goods directly from European countries by plane. However, the price of the product is more expensive.
An activity that provides job opportunities
According to Bernard Ilboudo, used shoes in stores do not have a fixed price. The price depends on the quality and condition of the shoe. For him, the population in general is interested in second-hand goods, because they are cheaper and of high quality. If the market is good, I can sell 5 shoes a day. Often, it is possible to achieve sales of 100,000 CFA to 200,000 CFA francs per month. But since the country has gone through this security crisis, the market has been bleak.
This activity creates job opportunities. In the shoe market alone, there are about 200 stores. According to Mr. Ilboudo, “There are more than 200 (new and/or thrift) shoe stores in the market. In each store, there are about 3 people working there.”

Bockari Ouedraogo, seller of children’s shoes from the thrift store. (F. Evan Sama).

Bockari Ouedraogo also complains about the difficult situation most of the country’s merchants are going through. Before, he could make a good turn. But now, things are getting more complicated. “Previously, I could get 200,000 CFA to 250,000 CFA francs in sales a month, especially with the holidays approaching. I can sell an average of 50 shoes a day. I don’t sell very expensive. The price is between 500 and 1,000 CFA francs,” he recalls. Just for a pair of shoes.”
The two traders pointed out the difficulties they face in practicing this profession. Bernard Ilbodo sees high customs taxes. For him, they don’t let small merchants like him pass. He appealed to the authorities to set up support mechanisms for small traders by reviewing customs taxes on imports.
Bockari Ouedraogo, often has squabbles with the police due to his work location (on the edge of the track). The latter accuses him of illegally occupying public places.
Issof Tapsoba (collaborator)


Focus on the shoe market in Burkina Faso

According to, 99% of the country’s demand for shoes is met by imports from Asia and Europe. This explains the absence of a shoe industry in Burkina Faso. However, there are artisans and professional social centers that make shoes by hand using semi-automated facilities. Footwear imports increased from CFA 3.72 billion in 2008 to CFA 5.03 billion in 2017, an increase of 35.21%.

Edition Number: 437

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