This article examines the contrasting business models in the spaza shop sector, and compares foreign-run businesses with South African businesses. We argue that foreign shop keepers are more successful than South Africans because of the strength of their social networks, which provide them with access to labour and capital and enable collective purchasing and market domination. The articles argues for a two-pronged policy that would formalise larger shops whilst permitting and encouraging informal micro and survivalist businesses.
Written by Rory Liedeman, Senior researcher, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation
Andrew Charman, Director and researcher, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation
Laurence Piper, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Western Cape
Leif Petersen, Director and researcher, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation
This article was first published on the Econ3x3 website – Accessible policy-relevant research and expert commentaries on unemployment and employment, income distribution and inclusive growth in South Africa.