By now, we know that the users are interested. But how do we reach them? We decided to meet with a few retailers to understand their view on our product.
First, we met with Mrs Nasreen Bhimani at Zara Solar. Their head quarter is in Mwanza and is one of the larger solar panel importers. They work a lot with public tenders providing energy in schools, dispensaries and villages, and mainly with larger products. Their product range is between 5W-130W panels, all with separate solar panels.
– My brother is decision maker in these questions, and I’m sure he will
like this product. I’m going to forward all the information to him.
On Tuesday morning, we met with Managing director Francis Kibhisa and Joshua Chikowero, head of commercial service at Rex Investments. Mr Kibhisa is electrical engineer and put a lot of focus on the importance of quality in their product range. Before taking in any new products, they are tested internally by the company for a few months to verify their performance.
– We have met with several companies presenting their products. Look at this! Mr Kibhisa brings a bag full of small solar products. Unfortunately, they usually do not last very long, and at this point, we have still not found any smaller solar products that qualify to be sold by us.
Rex Investments have about 25 sales spots in Tanzania and neighboring countries, and indicates sales volumes in terms of containers rather than single items.

The last meeting in the retailer area is Shoprite and Mr Mathews Kaubo, Procurement Manager. Shoprite is one of the main retail chains in Africa, with shops in 18 countries, and 3 stores in Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

– With increased volumes the price can probably be decreased. This is what the market needs now, this is the perfect product! We can test it in Arusha, because both the Maasai and the tourist organizations shop in our store there. We are even willing to sell with a smaller margin than normal, since we see the value of providing this product to our communities.
Back in Dar Es Salaam and more than 3500 kilometres in the car – our Maasai Maserati – and many, many interesting kinds of roads, both bumpy (or “unbalanced” as our Maasai Rafael referred to them) and occasionally more balanced ones, I guess we must admit that our meetings in the city so far is of the “balanced” kind.
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