The role of street vendors in the socio-economic development of Yilo-Krobo District - Ghana

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In most Third World Countries including Ghana many people earn their livelihood from the informal sector. Street vending is one of the most common activities in the informal sector. In all parts of Ghana, including Yilo-Krobo District, it is practised by a large number of people including children, youth, adult men and women. However, being part of the informal sector, street vendors are characterized by low level of capital, little or no saving and irregular income. They do not have access to any form of formal credit and promotional activities. Thus, most of them suffer from low financial returns and irregular income. Moreover, they are operating under difficult working condition and hence, exposed to physical and moral danger. The objectives of this study include identification of reasons why many people engage in this activity; the roles they play in the socio-economic development of the District, the problems and constraints they face and to make suggestions as to how their problems can be solved or minimized. To this end, formal interviews were administered to street vendors in three selected area councils namely, Somanya (the District Capital), Nkurakan and Oterkpolu. For the enumeration, main streets and access roads where street vendors concentrated were chosen. Information regarding current and future plan for street vendors from different institutions in the District was also inquired. Analysis of the data collected indicates that for many of them street vending is the major source of subsistence while few undertake it to quickly sell their goods and to maximize profit. Street vendors benefit the larger community in different ways. Some of their contributions include bringing the basic goods ‘closer to the society, payment of taxes/rates, market tolls, development levy and contribution to communal labour. Currently Ghana is guided by the principle of human centered development. Thus, considering their socio-economic role and the unfavourable working condition, it is necessary to intervene in such a way that the creation of favourable working environment and the enhancement of their skills and knowledge can help develop their human potential towards better utilization of the resources and to help them develop.
A Thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2000