Local soap will make Kit Yamoyo 100% Zambian

Trial batch of 25g Romeo soap

This is may not look much, but it’s a significant photo.

To our knowledge, these are the first 22g tablets of soap ever to be produced in Zambia. They will be produced by the only large scale hand soap manufacturer in Zambia – Trade Kings. This new, small, low-cost pack will transform access to soap for the poor in Zambia; across the developing world, those on the lowest incomes prefer to buy products in small sizes as they need them. Importantly for us, this will also replace the imported soap we currently have to use in Kit Yamoyo.  This will make Kit Yamoyo’s components 100% Zambian, and bring the cost of the kit down.

Our conversation with Trade Kings about the local production of small bars of soap started in Jun-13 but it’s taken all this time for the conditions to come right for Trade Kings to start manufacture. We are very grateful to the senior staff at Trade Kings for considering our call for small soap and now making it a reality.

This is quite a transformation. Just 4 years ago, when we were setting up for the ColaLife Trial, the only locally produced component of Kit Yamoyo was ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) and that was in 1 litre sachets. Now we have: locally produced 200 mL sachets of ORS, locally produced Zinc in the right format – and now locally produced soap in the right size.

Local production does a lot more than benefit the local economy. It makes the production of Kit Yamoyo much more resilient. When components are imported it creates time lags, uncertainty and risk.  It increases prices, increases market response times and reduces the shelf life of the finished product. When importing, one has to import significant quantities and lead times can be several months. This means importers have to hedge against exchange rate change. Slow delivery fulfillment, transport bottlenecks and import procedures all increase the risk of medicines nearing their expiry date before they can be sold. All these things mitigate against a constant supply and the lowest possible cost.




  1. This is a good initiative. We at Tapera also produce soap, along with a few other small scale manufacturers, please don’t belittle the rest of us for being black owned business. We don’t have access to the funds that the Indian communities have, but to say that the rest of us don’t exist is disheartening. Such statements would encourage us (blacks) to start enforcing BEE. Luckily for you our business is competing favourably and the peoples response to our product, Tapa, is making us a formidable competitor.

    • Dear Mutoba

      Thanks very much for following our blog and for taking the time to reply.

      We had not come across your company before, despite looking for a local hand-washing soap maker in Zambia for some time. So it’s good to know about the products and service available at Tapera. However, I cannot see a hand washing soap tablet listed on your website.

      It is certainly not at all our intention to belittle black-owned businesses. Indeed, part of ColaLife’s aim is to support small enterprises of all types in Zambia, and, in fact, most of the 866 small shop-keepers that our Zambian partner, KZF, has trained to date to sell Kit Yamoyo are black Zambians – both men and women. Some, I am sure, come from other black African countries that may not enjoy the peace and harmony for which Zambia is known and respected across the continent.

      We have looked at your website and it is very heartening to see the great work you are doing with local inputs and supporting local growers. Zambia certainly needs more initiatives like Tapera – we believe that competition in private enterprise is a great thing for growth and sustainability.

      If you would be able to produce a 20-25 gram hand soap, flow-wrapped to protect against odour, either now or in the not-too-distant future, then we would love to meet up to discuss this – and put you in touch with the Zambian manufacturer of Kit Yamoyo. I am in Zambia again from Tuesday next week for 4 weeks, if you’d like to meet up please contact me or my colleague by email: jane@colalife.org or simon@colalife.org

      In any case – we wish you the best of luck with your enterprise.