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Feature: Zambia youth shift to motorbike courier business to make ends meet

As formal jobs continue to elude many young people in Zambia, some young people have decided to find alternative ways of earning incomes through the informal sector.

Some have since joined the highly growing business of providing courier services using motorbikes, which is slowly gaining popularity in Lusaka, the country’s capital.

A visit to Downtown Mall, one of the popular shopping malls in the city, found a group of young people at the back of the mall with their motorbikes waiting for customers.

Some of the young people own motorbikes while others have been employed by people to provide motorbike courier services.

With increased congestion on roads in Lusaka, motorbikes are proving to be the fastest way to travel as they can easily meander through the congestion, a situation that is making the motorbike courier business a success.

The bikers deliver goods, clothes, food and any other thing the client wants delivered, with the fees depending on the distance.

“We have many bikers now because people feel that this is the business to enter. People now prefer using motorbikes because they are cheap to maintain, fast and not affected by congestion,” Steven Hang’andu, the vice-chairman of the Downtown Bikers, said in an interview.

Gift Nyirongo, who started riding a motorbike in 2021, said he was forced to join after finding challenges of getting his salary where he was working.

“So I decided to join this industry so that I can start pushing certain things for my personal development,” he said, adding that he does not regret the decision because it has changed his life.

According to Nyirongo, he is now able to not only take care of his family but also send his children to school and support other people in need of assistance.

Asked how they get customers, Nyirongo said a biker is supposed to build trust in his first customer and build a relationship where the customer will be calling each time when there is an errand.

“This business is about trust. Once the customer trusts you, they will start sending you to deliver goods for them. They will even recommend you to other customers,” he added.

For Vincent Siachiyasa, it is time young people stopped complaining about the lack of jobs and find something meaningful to do instead of waiting for the government.

“I started riding a bike six months ago after facing challenges of finding a job, as you know jobs are hard to find in this country,” he said.

Siachiyasa said he is so far happy as he is able to make money and take care of himself even if he is working for someone.

Acras Mapulanga, who has been riding a bike for the past one year and five months, however, appealed to the government to help the riders deal with scammers who usually scam them when it comes to online payments.

The riders have also appealed to the government to assist them with loans to get motorbikes as some of them were just working for other people.

The motorbike courier business has increased in the Zambian capital and the business has also attracted companies that provide ride-hailing taxis, with some buying motorbikes and employing people to do deliveries.

Diana Mwangala is a woman bike rider working for Titume, an e-transportation and logistics company.

Mwangala, who started riding a bike in March this year, says she decided to join the company because she likes riding, adding that so far the business has been okay.

Source: Xinhuanet