Cross-posted at caribbeanfreeradio.com/blog/2009/10/20/as-seen-on-the-streets-of-accra/
Like most countries in the developing world, my own included, Ghana has a vast informal economy in which street vendors play an important role. According to a 2003 study done by the Natural Resources Institute in collaboration with the Food Research Institute and the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ghana, street vending employs over 60,000 people and has an estimated annual turnover of over US$100 million with an annual profit of US$24million. Given the pace at which a city like Accra has been growing in the past decade, I’d imagine you’d have to multiply the ‘03 figures by several to arrive at a current estimate.
The video above offers only a minute and relatively uninteresting sampling of the range of items I saw on sale on the streets of Accra. A more complete list would include:
hats, caps, neckties, fans, sponges, clocks, full-length mirrors, volumes of Kwame Nkrumah’s speeches, electric lamps, copies of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, kente-patterned boxes of tissues, briefcases, eyeglasses, world maps, culturally inappropriate colouring books, foodstuff, fruit, including apples neatly packaged in stacks of two and three in long, narrow plastic bags, chewing gum, candy, garden shears, footballs in Ghana colours, dog leashes and muzzles, cufflinks, SIM cards, mobile phone airtime, Livestrong-style wristbands, television antennas, razors, toilet paper, shoe polish, shoe brushes, pens, garments, framed paintings.