Trade in Yaounde, Night Never Falls

Vendors notwithstanding the climatic atmosphere, carry their activities both during the day and the night. This has pave the way to a new form of business which takes place only in the night and which has nothing to envy to the day market.


Who told you that market activities are cling only to the presence of the sun?  If you thought that the night was an obstacle to commercial activities, then you are wrong. After the departure of the sun, commercial activities continue; some even start. This is known as night trade.


6pm. The soft sun which surrounded Yaounde today is gradually paving the way to the night.  The junction dubbed Poste Centrale; one of the renowned junction of  the city of Yaounde is overwhelmed by cars. Traffic congestion is at the rendezvous. On the different corners of the junction, several commercial activities are taking place. Prominent amidst these corners: Our lady Cathedral, Select supermaket, Camtel, SNI, Poste Centrale and the National Treasury. While some vendors are packaging their goods, others are making their arrival. Hence giving room to what is known as night trade activities.


Boris is a vendor of watches. Fair in complexion, measuring 1m65, he gets set for his daily activity. With his bag on his back, he installs his table and later on remove watches from his bag and displays them on the table. He can now start his business: “kolo kolo les montres,” he screams in French (Watches at 1000F).

Meantime, other vendors are engaged in the same process. In no way can we describe this arena of not being a market. You may be surprise; almost all varieties of goods are sold here. Paying a visit to the aforementioned places, you will discover items such as shoes, dresses, caps and readers among  others. This commercial activity has its own responsibility in the traffic congestion taking place “many people on their return from work make a stop here to purchase some goods,” declared a vendor.


Don't think that poste centrale is the only commercial sphere in Yaoundé by night. There exist other poles in different neighborhoods of Yaoundé like TEXACO Omnisports, Carrefour Emana and Perception Ngoa Ekelle.

At Perception Ngoa Ekelle, Steve, a vendor of shoes is one of the prominent sellers “I prefer selling in the night because from a study I made, people prefer buying goods on their return from work than in the morning; by that time, they are more focused on where they are going.” It is for more than five years that Steve has engaged himself in this business. He used to sell at Poste centrale “It is so hard there. Besides the municipal council who usually chase us with its police, there are people who make themselves known as the elders of the sector. We have pay a sort of rent unto them for a place even if the place was empty; as if the air belongs to someone,” Steve assessed. It is because of these different difficulties rocking the sector that he decided to carry his business in a neighborhood. He arrives here in the afternoon from Monday to Saturday. Upon his arrival, he displays his shoes on a white blanket.

Meanwhile, except the climatic atmosphere at Marché Melen, you cannot distinguish the market scene in the night from that of the day. It is the same ambiance, the same traffic congestion and almost the same vendors. They decide to stay at the market unto the night because of the need to make a lot of sales “In need of profit, we have to target customers at each time”. This quest does not last for eternity; at 10 pm, almost half of the market is deserted and by midnight, only night watch are seen here.


Paul Reinhard WANDJI

Trade in Yaounde, Night Never Falls