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Watch: Solar power energises Kampala street food scene

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Street traders in Kampala work in shifts throughout the day and night
Street traders in Kampala work in shifts throughout the day and night -
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Reuters
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Food carts equipped with solar panels are helping street traders in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to up their takings.

In a project set up by socially-minded entrepreneurs Musana – meaning "sunlight" in a local Ugandan language – carts that create their own light, cutting down on electricity bills and allowing vendors to stay open longer, are franchised.

There are now seven of them in the capital selling 'rolexes' — a popular street snack of an omelette and vegetables wrapped in a chapati. Street vendors usually work in shifts, continuing into the night.

"A lot of rolex vendors work 24 hours in different shifts and it's very difficult for them to work at night," said Musana Carts Ltd co-founder Nataliey Bitature.

"They either don't have access to power or they are stealing power or they have to be under somewhere that has power just so that they can see, and so by adding a solar-powered light it gave them so much more ability to stay open longer and to make more money, "

Those who want to become a Musana cart vendor also go through training in financial management, customer care, hygiene and a host of other skills that will help them run their business. They then pay about 1.5 million Ushs (€370) which gives them a solar-powered cart, a fridge, and an operating license from the city authority.

One happy vendor, Moses Okello, said: "Life before Musana Carts, I used not to make enough money. I couldn't even manage to pay some of my bills, like especially rent. I used to do little sales, not as [I] am doing right now with Musana. Many people come to me. With Musana you have to be hygienic and when you are hygienic you attract a lot of people."

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