CCTV Reporter, Girum Chala, Explains Ethiopia’s Merkato, Africa’s Biggest Open Market (Video)
Merkato: Ethiopia’s open air market CCTV News
Addis Mercato (Amharic for “New Market”, popularly just Mercato, from the Italian for “market”) is the name for the large open-air marketplace in the Addis Ketema district of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and for the neighborhood in which it is located.
Mercato is the largest open air market in Africa, covering several square miles and employing an estimated 13,000 people in 7,100 business entities. The primary merchandise passing through the Mercato is locally-grown agricultural products — most notably coffee.
The Addis Mercato was instituted by segregationist policies of the Italian occupational government. They restricted the historic St. George Mercato to Europeans, causing the mostly Arab tradesmen to relocate a half mile to the west. Over time, local shopkeepers displaced the Arab merchants and, since the 1960s, the Addis Mercato has had a mostly local flavor.
The Addis Mercato has over 120 stores and one massive shopping center with 75 stores.
Notable landmarks near the Mercato include the Al-Anwar Mosque and the Cathedral of the Holy Family.