Making Money the African Way.

Colin Natwijuka | 1st July 2020

Making Money the African Way.

Making Money the African Way.

Colin Natwijuka | 1st July 2020


Thank you for reading this blog. Many people have written on how to make money in different ways. However, I find it irrelevant to the African residences, especially in southern Sahara.

Growing up in Africa taught me lots of ways to make money the African way rather than the technical methods that may be used today.

In my previous articles, I mentioned making money through a method that is now common to most people both in African countries and developed ones-online business.

Some ways of making money in Africa may seem to be difficult for others while other people may look at them as cheap and dirty means of surviving.

The COVID-19 era has taught people lots of activities that will eventually turn into future business success stories. As I was glancing at my PC during the lockdown period, I noticed people learning new skills like baking, cooking, gardening, and other domestic activities.

Some of the activities we could do to make money;

Brick making: It’s a tiresome job but pays well. I could wake up at 6:00 am, make 200 bricks and leave them to dry. After 14 days, I could gather firewood for baking them. This is a lucrative venture that could make a strong young man wealthy in a few years. Engaging in this business is sure to earn you capital that will enable you to hire workers and thereafter your business will definitely grow.

Quarrying stones: If you have land that could be mined for construction, it may well be a golden opportunity to gain in the  future. However, care must be taken seriously with this kind of work.

Quarrying sand: My parents had sand in their land, and sometimes I could dig up a heap to make business. It’s a vigorous activity compared to making bricks as it can cause chest and back pains. Loading a truck using a spade wasn’t an easy task, however, I didn’t have any other option not to do that.

Charcoal making/burning: Some countries will not allow this but it can also be a good venture to make you money in a short period of time. People who have become rich from this business won’t tell you the secret as it looks dirty and for uneducated individuals. Personally, I have done this business before and it was surely a paying venture.

Fetching firewood from the forest for sale; If you have a forest nearby, this can be good business. Remember to plant more trees as you may have no more firewood next year.

Making beds of trees of different species is a good business for young people. There are different government programs that encourage tree planting in different countries in Africa and this could be an opportunity if you have tree beds for sale.

Working in people’s gardens is also an easy way of making money. Most young people who live next to cotton and tea estates in African countries are assured of their pay every Friday and this enables them to buy food and other home necessities for their siblings and even sometimes for their old parents.

Fishing is relatively easier and a hobby that will earn you money in Africa, since almost all parts of African countries are covered with water bodies that include, rivers, lakes, swamps, and streams that are rich in harboring all kinds of fish that live in freshwater lakes.

Looking after someone’s animals is also another money-making business where you'll be sure of being paid the agreed amount of money. Some animal owners pay their keepers in the form of animals instead of cash.

Making footballs and other fibre products for sale also makes for good business.

Making mats from papyrus for sale, which could be used as carpets, room partitioning, and ceiling. .

Fetching grass from the swamp to mulch rich people’s gardens in the village;

Making wooden carriages(bicycles) to sell as it is cheap to maintain.

Knitting table cloths for sale could also earn one good money;

Collecting scrap like old plastic, unused containers for recycling and old metals like the old iron box that would be beyond repair sold as scrap

Selling old newspapers is good business if you're looking for growth and requires strong youth that can move from place to place gathering them.

Making liquid soap is also another business that can make you daily incomes as it requires minimal capital and little time spent on manufacturing.

Making local gin like waragi in most African countries is good business as it has a good market for those who enjoy dry gin.

Chalk making is also another easy business that will benefit you as you do not need a lot of capital for the startup.

Repairing shoes and sandals is a good business for those people with the skills and this cannot be found in most developed countries.

Repairing radios is also one of the activities you could venture into. Some people even do not know how to fix radio batteries and are ready to pay someone to have them fixed.

Selling airtime(credit) is still good business in most African countries as some people do not have access to bank cards.

Making pancakes from local materials for sale is also a good idea for young people to make money. You do not need lots of skills to do this business.

Selling newspapers is also a manageable business that you can start right away with little capital. You sell on a commission basis and no losses will be realized as you will have to take back the remaining copies to the company.

Selling old books in African countries does not cost you a lot of capital but you earn good money as you can sell an old copy at its original price like the new ones

Selling used/old clothes and shoes in most African countries is a source of income that can be done by most people. Personally, I did this business selling babies’ clothes and this could pay well.

If you own a car, you can change it from being private to public transport since in some countries you find there are no formal ways of commuting from one area to another. This also applies to bicycles and motorbikes.

Don’t forget the business of repairing bicycles which is easy and can make you money since most people in hard-to-reach-areas use this kind of transport.

There is also money in fetching water for other people in most parts of Africa especially during the dry season where you find getting just a litre of water is very difficult to find.

If you own land in Africa, there is lots of money you can make from farming including but not limited to cultivation, farming and even hiring other members to use your land and they pay in return in form of harvests they have gathered at the end of the season.

It doesn’t matter whether you own a house or land in most African countries to be a blocker. You just need to build trust between the clients and owners.

Another source of income in Africa is to work as a helper at the construction site. This might seem to be heavy work for only strong teenagers, however, in circumstances where you do not have anything to eat, this can be a good venture for you. 

Hawking food or selling food in the bus/car park: Some countries in Africa still do not have tight restrictions on selling food in public places like in the bus park. Some young people decide to make a living by packing chips and fruits that are sold to passengers.

The above paragraph also applies to sell cars. The moment you get to know person A is selling his or her car, you put it on the market and at the end of the day you earn your commission.

If also you have a registered company, you can start another business that is similar to a house blocker but relatively different and this is easy to make in most African countries. What you do is sign an agreement with the house owner that you are the one to collect rent and in this agreement you state that you will pay promptly every end of the month and this becomes a task for you to demand rent from the tenants.

I shared this business with someone in 2016 so as to enter into a partnership, and went ahead and started it before we signed. He is making good progress and appreciates my advice though.

The writer is a Financial Accountant/Administrator with extensive experience in financial control.

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