The Fancy Market Stalls of Development

14 Oct

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Market days in Kpandai District are on a six day rotation.  Each of the six bigger towns in the district has a market day every six days and they are staggered – so on any given day there is always a market day somewhere.

People come from far and wide to buy and sell at the markets.  If you are a farmer, it is a great chance to sell some of your crops.  Others bring in clothes and other consumer goods from Accra and Tamale to sell for a small profit.

I have now been to the Kpandai Town market day several times.  Something that I found curious was that the Kpandai market has rows of well constructed mud/concrete stalls, but not many of the vendors seem to use them, preferring instead to display their wares on the ground under wood and thatched roof structures.

I didn’t pay this much thought until earlier this week when I was at a meeting to review projects that fall under an ongoing poverty reduction program.  Some of the projects were for things like grinding mills to be run by newly formed cooperatives or rainwater storage facilities for areas where water bore-holes could not be drilled, but the majority of the projects on the list were for new market stalls.

Remembering all of the empty stalls in the Kpandai market, after the meeting I asked some people about the empty Kpandai stalls.  They said that most vendors did not want to sacrifice their position in the market just for a slightly nicer stall and that the layout of the constructed stalls was probably not good.  Moreover, they said it was unlikely that the vendors had really wanted the stalls in the first place and that they might have to register their businesses and start paying taxes in order to use the stalls.  Ironically the title of the program that built these stalls had the words ‘Community Initiatives’ in it.  Looks like they forgot to consult the communities on this one.  I even heard that in one community they converted the market stalls into a school!

Note that I am working with EWB’s Ministry of Food & Agrictulture (MoFA) team in Ghana, but that EWB has another team here working on Governance & Rural Infrastructure (G&RI).   The prime focus of this team is to provide the tools and training for Districts to make better decisions regarding resource allocation. 🙂

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One Response to “The Fancy Market Stalls of Development”

  1. Kris and Suzanne October 17, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    We are spending a quiet Saturday night in, and enjoying your recent posts and videos. What a special place to to be celebrating your upcoming birthday! Have you made a connection with a teacher yet? Great music lesson, by the way. Nice to see you dusting off your drumming skills.

    We love you and miss you (Kris just said, “…but in a manly way”).

    Stay safe…that’s an order!

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