The bustle of the streets, the sound of market vendors, the delicious aroma of street food, and the tropical heat. All these are common to every African market. Join us and explore the biggest African markets of 2023.
Africa, the second largest continent in the world is located in the tropics. Due to its location, there is a variety of resources found in the continent from mineral resources to food items. This abundance of resources has led to the establishing of large business centres for trading in Africa. Below are 10 of Africa’s largest markets along with the countries they are located in.
Biggest Markets in Africa 2023
- Khan el-Khalili
- Onitsha main market
- Kejetia market
- Fes Medina food market
- Maasai market
- Owino market
- Fourways farmers market
- Addis Mercato
- Greenmarket square
- Ariaria international market
Top 10 Biggest Market in Africa 2023
1. Khan el-Khalili
This market is located in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt. Some of the items sold in this market include jewellery, food, coffee, crafted items, and so on. It also acts as a tourist centre attracting people from all over the world to come to take part in the exchange of resources.
Years back, before the market became as established as it is now, the name Khan el-Khalili belonged to a single shop. However, now it’s the name of one of the largest marketplaces in Africa. The Khan el-Khalili has undergone terrorist attacks twice in 2005 and 2009 respectively leading to the death and injuries of both foreigners and indigenes. This led to a reduction in the number of people visiting the market in those years, right now though the market is as prosperous as ever.
2. Onitsha main market
Located in the southeastern part of the country Nigeria in the Western region of Africa, it is the largest market both in Nigeria and the entirety of West Africa. It cannot be said when the market was established but it is known to have existed as far back as 1550. Food items were mainly sold until the Portuguese introduced clothes, gunpowder, and guns which they sold in exchange for slaves. Currently, the Onitsha main market has gotten so large that other markets were drafted out of it including a stockfish market, a pharmaceutical, timber market, textiles, and vehicle parts market. Fire extinguishing services are located all over the city due to the high rate of fire outbreaks in the market.
3. Kejetia market
Also known as the Kumasi Central Market, it is located in Ghana West Africa. The market currently has about 8500 stores along with a clinic and a school for the children of the market women. Further plans for upgrade are being put in place and the market will see a massive change if the plans are actualized. Due to the arrangement of the market along with vehicular and pedestrian movement, a lot of plans have been put into security and direction of market activities. However, in terms of situations above the power of the local force, the situation is referred to the police station. The Kejetia market has suffered from fire outbreaks as well as flooding however, the market remains standing strong.
4. Fes Medina food market
Located in Morocco, this market is based mostly on food products. Fruits, snacks, and other food products can be found anywhere and everywhere in the market. Due to the winding streets and complicated layout of the market, it’s important to have a guide when entering the market for the first time at least until you’re familiar with the layout.
5. Maasai market
One of the most popular markets in East Africa located in Nairobi Kenya, it’s known for its availability in many African-themed crafts including textiles, beads, pots, and jewellery. Why this market is named after the Massai is not known; however, it is a general market opened to the public belonging to no person or group of people in particular. However, the Maasai people have complained that their craft methods have been stolen by other traders and used to earn more profit even though these traders don’t know the significance of the colours used for their crafts.
6. Owino Market
Also called St Balikuddembe Market, it is located in Kampala Uganda and was founded in the late 19s. Items sold include textiles, shoes, clothes, food, electronic items and many more. The market has over 40,000 vendors as well as over 250,000 customers. Usually open every day, the market experiences a wide influx of customers on weekends and a few days before holidays. The market is located strategically close to the taxi and bus terminals to enable vendors and customers to easily leave and enter the market.
7. Fourways Farmers Market
Located in South Africa, the Fourways Farmers Market is a market in which farmers gather to sell their goods to other people. In this market, most of the goods sold are grown, prepared, or baked by the seller. The Fourways farmers market has a wide range of delicacies just waiting for you to explore along with various restaurants offering African and non-African dishes. Currently, the Fourways farmers market is undergoing renovation to make it bigger and better.
8. Addis Mercato
Located in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, it is one of the largest open-air markets in Africa specializing in locally grown fruits, spices, and vegetables. Coffee is one of the most sold products in the Merkato. However, due to its status as one of the largest markets in Africa, almost anything to be bought can be found in textiles, food items, and jewellery. Labourers and Donkeys can be seen hurling heavy loads and bags from place to place and sometimes walking becomes problematic due to the high population of the market.
9. Greenmarket square
One of the oldest sites in Cape Town South Africa, the Green Market Square was founded in the late 1600s and has been used for slave trade and parking vehicles. As of now, the square is used for making and selling crafts, jewellery, and clothing.
10. Ariaria international market
Founded in Aba Nigeria, while it might not compare to the Onitsha main market, the Ariaria international market can be classified as one of the largest markets in Nigeria. Established in 1976, the market mostly deals in the trade of shoes. Traders have boasted that other Africans and even Europeans have come to the market to purchase shoes and items.
Visiting any one of these markets will yield the experience of a lifetime. Comment below if you know any more of Africa’s largest markets