WIEGO suggests alternative to eviction of street hawkers

A cross-section of the participants at the seminar

Sally Roever, International Coordinator of Women in Informal Employment; Globalising and Organisation (WIEGO), has argued that evicting street hawkers and traders from public spaces is not the only solution to creating a clean city.

Citing unrest, cost to the assemblies, and increase in unemployment as some of the obvious consequences of evicting street traders and hawkers, Sally Roever and WIEGO suggested a couple of alternatives to the practice, which she described as unpleasant.

“Investing in understanding street vending; investing in regular and social dialogue structures, and investing in appropriate timelines and proper resourcing of projects are what some other countries adopted to manage the use of public spaces by the informal traders whose only security is what they earn from their daily sales,” she said.

Mrs. Roever gave the alternatives to evictions for clean cities and more jobs at a one-day seminar in Accra on ‘Public dialogue on the use of public spaces’.

She said all cities faced similar challenges of congestion, but examples she gave from Peru and India where the informal traders, with the authorities, regularly meet to dialogue to fashion out a common bylaw to manage the public spaces to keep the former in business, has improved the economic situation of the people.

“Informal traders are often subjected to degrading treatment. We must not forget that all of us cannot go to malls or plushy shops to buy simple goods that are more affordable with the informal traders. We want the assemblies and authorities to copy what other cities have been able to do to keep informal traders in the public spaces and are still keeping the cities clean for public health.”

Sally Roever and WIEGO maintained that evictions were ineffective policy solutions to challenges of congestion, public health, and clean cities.

The seminar was heavily attended by people in academia, representatives from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and Korle Klotey Municipal Assembly, and traders and hawkers.

Kweku Kyere, Project Officer for WIEGO, Accra, opened the programme with a brief report and some sorrowful pictures and videos of how some task forces from the assemblies destroyed the savings of some street hawkers and traders in Accra.

Dorcas Ansah, WIEGO’s Accra Focal Cities Coordinator, facilitated the seminar.


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