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St Balikuddembe Market (Owino Market)

Location
St Balikuddembe Market is shares a boundary with Nakivubo Stadium and is within working distance of the tax and bus terminals. It is in the centre of the central business of Kampala City.

History of the Market
St Balikuddembe market was started in 1971 with 320 vendors who were reallocated by Kampala City Council from Nakasero Market to this site. The City Council named the new market; Municipal Market which was later renamed by vendors to Owino Market after an old man called Owino whom the vendors found on the site roasting maize and sweet potatoes. The market started as a whole sale market for farmers produce with aim of supplying other markets in Kampala and surrounding areas. Over time the market has diversified into other lines of business to include garments, shoes, scrap, cooked food, chicken and meat.

Description of the Market
The initial structures of Owino market were made of papyrus, which were replaced by iron sheets before permanent structures were built. Owino, which is the biggest open market in Uganda and possibly in East Africa is built on 7.04 hectares of land with time, it has became overcrowded, forcing some of the vendors to move out to the expansive parking yard belonging to Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium.

Population in the Market
The vendors and traders are in excess of 50,000 vendors, 70% of whom are women.  At least 300,000 customers visit   the market on a daily basis and the number of customers increases over the weekend and a few days before a public holiday.

Ownership of the Market
When the market started in the 1971 owned and managed by Kampala City Council (KCC) now KCCA. The vendors and traders under St Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space and Lockup Shops Owners Association Ltd (SSLOA) are in the process of obtaining a sub-lease from Kampala City Capital Authority (KCCA).

Commodities and services in the Market
The commodities and services offered in the market are quite many and include the following among others;

  • Food staff
  • Clothes
  • Fruits
  • Shoes
  • Bed sheets
  • Vegetables
  • Restaurants
  • Textiles
  • Bags
  • Electronics
  • Repairs
  • Tailoring
  • Transport