Senegalese New York Street Vendors and the AGOA Plan
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As a New York Street vendor Christmas business is a three month worth on business. On my way home after a good deal on 25th 2013 at Lincoln Center, I took a taxi to bring back my merchandise to my storage. The taxi man, Mr Sing an Indian born just ask me, Mr, where you come from? I answered from Senegal. He tells me; I wonder you senegalese guys how do you come to control this street business, but you guys are good sales persons. I tell him, Mr Sing you indians too, you control the gas stations and motels business, he acknowledges that. But he tells me many New York customers prefer to deal with you senegalese for many reasons; you are patient and you just have what the people need at reasonable price. Where do you get your merchandise? I tell him in fact we buy them from the local wholesalers but you need couple of skills on picking the right merchandise and those skills, we acquire them through trials and errors. The inventory has to answer the demand of the customers without overloading the stand with unnecessary items. From that short conversation with Mr Sing I learned two things:
First the senegalese diaspora created their own niche market in New York's corporate jungle but, studies are not yet done how to link this established market here in USA with the opportunities we have with the AGOA (African Growth Opportunities Act). Till now in fact we are good retailers for the advantage of other countries.
Second we have to organize this community in market oriented association so the wholesale prices can be cut down on some items and get proposal of new trends for business strategies.
As we move to a global economy, what is the potentiality of our diaspora in integrating our senegalese economy in the global market? I believe that the hard work has been half done, the market is established on some items and we have the most difficult part done, which is the retail manpower; the rest we need a dose of audacity.
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