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Background of the study
Serious focus on street hawkers begun with the Bellagio International Declaration of street hawkers which called for national policies for street hawkers, and follow up action by individual hawkers, hawkers associations, city governments and international organization. The Bellagio Declaration identified six problems of street traders around the world, namely: lack of legal status and right to hawk, lack of space or poor location, restriction on licensing, cost of regulation, harassment, bribes, confiscation and evictions, lack of services and infrastructure and lack of representation or voice. Women in Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), an international network has spearheaded research and policy dialogue on street trade. In Africa, WIEGO has worked closely with Street Net in leveraging funds for research and policy dialogue in six African countries, namely South Africa, Ghana, Cote d‟ Ivoire, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.
In all the case studies, women dominate street vending. This is due to the limited economic opportunities for women in both rural and urban areas, gender bias in education, and augmenting husband‟s income. Besides these facts, street vending has a special appeal for women due to its flexibility. Women can easily combine street vending with other household duties, including taking care of children. The Uganda case study points out those women participate in street vending as a way out of a predicament. Women have moved from being subsistence and commercial farmers to engaging in trade
and informal employment. In most cases they vend when their husbands cannot sustain the family or to supplement the husbands income. The Kenya study covered Nairobi, Kisumu, Migori and Machakos. Both Nairobi and Kisumu are major cities with a population of 2.1 million and 322,734 thousand respectively. Machakos and Migori are smaller towns with a population of 143,274 and 95,446 respectively. Migori is on the boarder of Kenya and Tanzania and has cross border trade, while Machakos is quite close to the capital city, Nairobi, traders then can easily get their whole sale supplies from the city.
Street and roadside trade is an important economic activity that sustains a significant percentage of rural and urban dwellers, especially within the developing countries. The activity falls among the Small and Micro Enterprises [SME] that form the main thrust for economic development in developing countries. In Africa, the sector has operated outside the mainstream economic development, and falls within the informal economic activities. In view of the difficult economic situation that has faced Africa with reduced external support and increasing levels of poverty, many countries have began considering the sector as one of the channels of fostering the private sector‟s contribution to both growth and equity objectives of development. By 1995, International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates had shown that SMEs account for 59 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa‟s urban labour force [Ondiege, 1995]. Estimates indicate that in the developing countries 40 to 80 per cent of the urban workforce is in the informal workforce. Street vendors are the most visible among this workforce, although their activities, working conditions, relations with authorities, policies and regulations relating to their operations among others are not well researched and documented.
Apart from the above country studies, the review is based on secondary sources, including academic literature, statistical sources, government documents, media and civil society works. The review takes a thematic approach and covers: magnitude and composition of street trade, characteristics, working conditions, associations of street vendors, legal, regulatory and policy environment and programmatic responses to street trade. By “Street Trading” it is referred to the activities taken place in the first two types of market (in the open air), including the individuals who ply their trades in discrete locations. Street traders in Hong Kong are officially called “Hawkers” or “Shiu Fann” in Cantonese. The original terminology and definition of Hawker-itinerant trader in a western context is no longer relevant in most Southeast Asian cities. People who conduct business in public place (squares, streets, open ground, canals, etc) are named as “Hawkers”. However, as was shown by the study of Shiu Fann (Hawker) Images, the traditional Chinese concept of itinerant trading (the true sense of the word “Hawker”) was found embedded deeply in the modern image which hardly represents the norm for today‟s street traders. This may be due to ambiguity in people‟s mind arising from the mini-store-like fixed and well structured stalls which are so common in the hawking scene, and their general acceptance of street stalls as an integral part of the overall retail system. If an image is seen as an evaluated model of reality in which human behaviour is accorded, the popularity of street shopping in modern Hong Kong must have some relationship with this particular image of Shiu Fann (Hawker). A hawker is the name given to vendors in many areas of the world selling merchandise that can be easily transported; it is roughly synonymous with peddler or costermonger. In most places where the term is used, a hawker sells items of food that are native to the area. A hawker is a vendor of merchandise that can be easily transported; the term is roughly synonymous with peddler or costermonger. In most places where the term is used, a hawker sells items or food that is native to the area. Whether stationary or mobile, hawkers usually advertise by loud street cries or chants, and conduct banter with customers, so to attract attention and enhance sales. When accompanied by a demonstration and/or detailed explanation of the product, the hawker is sometimes referred to as a demonstrator or pitchman.
Statement of the problem
Although the intimate environment of the home and neighborhood exerts the greatest and most immediate influence on the lives, health and well-being of people (Songore and McGranahan 1993), the immediate problem currently attracting the immediate attention of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) is that of street hawking the Central Business District (CBD). This relates to the continuing rise in the concentration of street hawking activities on busy intersections, around markets and major transport depots in the CBD of Accra. The ranks of hawkers keep swelling with teeming youths selling a variety of wares including food staples, cooked food, household effects, electronic gadgets, imported used clothing and footwear to mention a few thus street hawkers have turned major roads and pavements into markets The main purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which street hawking had impacted negatively on the beautification of the Accra Metropolis. The environmental problems however, are not limited to CBD congestion. Beyond the congestion in the central city, the ubiquitous unauthorised structures that have sprung up on the city‟s landscape ruin its aesthetic appeal. Further, there are other serious environmental problems. Street vendors by their activities generate a lot of solid waste and there is generally improper disposal of refuse partly because there are limited receptacles for collection and generally, sanitation and drainage infrastructure and services remain a serious challenge.
Street hawking especially in Accra has been associated with numerous problems such as congestion, human traffic, chaos, and filth in the city of Accra. The purpose of the study is to investigate among others the negative impact of these street hawking activities on the beautification of Accra Metropolis.
Specifically, this research seeks to;
Find out the various categories of street hawkers trading in the Accra Metropolis.
Describe the nature of street trading activities in the Accra Metropolis.
Obtain the opinions of street hawkers as to whether trading activities impact on the beautification of the Metropolis.
To suggest ways by which the problems associated with street hawking can be solved.
To solve this problem, this research seeks to answer the following questions;
1. What are the categories of street hawkers trading on the street in the Metropolis?
What are the nature street trading activities in the Accra Metropolis?
What are the factors hindering the beautification of the capital city?
In what ways can the problems associated with street hawking be solved?
Significance of the study
Generally, discussions on informal economic enterprise come in three dimensions: the activity focus, people focus and habitat focus (Amin and Others1996). While there is a wealth of information on the economics of the informal sector („activity‟) and the mainly marginalized urban poor workers („people‟), relatively little has been documented on the places of work („habitat‟) of informal economic units in developing cities. However, the literature on this component of the discourse is growing. A number of authors have already done some work on the location of informal activity in some cities. For example Brown‟s (2006) edited work, „Contested Space: Street Trading, Public Space, and Livelihoods in developing Cities‟ presents a collection of articles on a number of cities including Nepal, Kumasi, and Dares Salaam etc. Bhowmik (2005; 2004) has done some work on Mumbai; Cross (1995; 1998) has examined the phenomenon in Mexico City; Suharto (2004) studied the phenomenon in Bandung; Mitullah (2003) did a five-city study including Nairobi and Kumasi; and Donovan (2000) studied Bogotá.
Although Yankson (2000) and Perera and Amin (1996) have done some work the problem of accommodating informal enterprises in Accra, their focused mainly on home based and neighborhood-based enterprises as well as those on the fringes of the city. This study therefore adds to this component of the literature of the informal economy in Accrby focusing on the spatial problem relative to street hawking on Accra‟s urban landscape. It therefore complements the work of other scholars studying the phenomenon in developing cities especially in sub-Saha aran Africa and fills the gap left by earlier work done on the City of Accra. It will be particularly relevant to metropolitan and sub-metropolitan assemblies in Accra and to urban development agencies both public and private with their aim to decongest the city by providing alternative areas for street hawking. The findings of this research is to provide the authorities concern with the empirical facts and figures in order to ensure that Accra get its fair share of national cake in the area of the beautification of Accra. Further, it will serve as a useful reference for students of urban planning and international development as well as field practitioners. Also the outcome of this research is to help bring stability and harmony to society, since street hawking is a major eating into the social fabric of society. This study is in line with the vision of making Accra a Millennium city and a gate way to Ghana, with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly This research is also to serve as a guide to future researchers who are interested in any social issue of this nature. The relevance of this research to society is that this study seeks to inform the entire society about.
Delimitation of the study
This research is restricted to only Accra Metropolis and is focused only on street hawkers selling between moving vehicles in traffic and on pavement but not vendors selling in containers, kioks, and stores on the street. In order to interact and get more