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Traders on the run: Activities of street vendors in the Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana

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Abstract:

In recent years the activities of street vendors have become a topical issue within the urban spaces of the developing world. Still, research that explores the geographical dimensions of street vending activities in Ghana is limited. Based on field interviews with street vendors, consumers, shop owners, and metropolitan authorities, a number of findings emerged. First, there were no noticeable socio-economic differences amongst street vendors operating within the study areas. However, noticeable differences in the areas of origin of vendors were observed, with most of them originating from the Eastern, Ashanti and Central Regions of the country. The study also shows a progression amongst trades over time, in terms of the types of goods which the vendors trade in. As may be expected, a shift to higher value items takes place as traders build up capital. Another important finding is that most of the vendors were continuously on the run due to constant harassment, assault and seizure of goods by metropolitan authorities and other users of the city space. To be able to address some of the problems identified, it is suggested that city authorities should adopt consultation rather than confrontational approaches in dealing with street vendors.

Keywords: Accra Metropolitan Area; poverty; street vendors

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291950802335806

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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