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Digital transition in marketplaces in Ghanaian cities: Insight from Accra and Kumasi markets

March 25, 2022 @ 10:10 am - 10:40 am

By Lewis Abedi Asante (Kumasi Technical University) |

Thousands of informal traders and shoppers converge, on daily basis, in densely-packed marketplaces in African cities to transact business. In these marketplaces, the traditional means of payment is cash. Several trader associations are formed among the different commodity groupings in the marketplaces to control trading space, promote trader welfare and settle trader disputes. This presentation explores the changes that have occurred in marketplaces in Ghanaian cities since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on case studies of urban marketplaces in Accra and Kumasi, we observed the adoption of digital technologies by traders to protect themselves against the COVID-19 disease. While cash remains the major form of payment, mobile money is growing as an alternative form of payment among traders. Rather than the traditional in-person meetings, some trader associations have resorted to using the Whatsapp platform to record voice message and share information among members. The study reflects on the prospects and implications of altered routines in the marketplace facilitated through digital technologies. Although digital penetration is still quite low in African cities, our examples of vernacular use demonstrate the prospect of digital transformation. Those new forms of technologically mediated exchange and communication promise equal access, but it also may deepen already existing biases.


March 25, 2022
10:10 am - 10:40 am
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Arbeitskreis Geographische Stadtforschung im Entwicklungskontext
Transient Spaces and Societies