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Ghana wants hawkers off the streets

Street peddlers clog traffic, but they are earning a living.


There aren’t statistics on how many vehicle accidents have been caused by hawkers, he said, adding that “once in a while” a hawker is killed or seriously hurt.

Taxi driver Kofi Asirifi supports the government’s plan. Motorists are at a disadvantage to crowds of pedestrians when there’s an accident, he said.

“If you hurt somebody, you’re in trouble,” said Asirifi, leaning on his yellow and white Kia 4-door taxi outside an office building in downtown Accra. “They should get out of the street. A car is a machine — anything can happen.”

Ghana isn’t alone dealing with the issue of hawkers, who peddle their wares on city streets all over the world.

A ban on street hawkers in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, sparked two days of riots 18 months ago, ending in a compromise.

A World Bank report in 2005 said many laws against street vending stem from colonial rule, which favored the European-style formal sector. It said South Africa has taken a different approach by embracing the vendors. The city of Durban created a “Department of Informal Trade.”

The “informal sector” is a force in developing states, comprising between 25 percent and 40 percent of annual economic production in Africa and Asia, according to the World Bank.

Musah says he won’t protest in the streets but wants the government to reconsider.

“It’s difficult because there are no jobs,” he said. “We pray God, say make it no happen.”

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