Is better to be a kayayei than to be unemployed: reflecting on the role of head portering in ghana’s informal economy
- 734 Downloads
The implementation of neoliberal economic reforms with its resultant effects on rural agricultural economies has facilitated the migration of young girls from northern to southern Ghana to seek for alternative livelihoods in the urban informal economy as head porters (Kayayei). Using semi-structured questionnaires and interviews with 45 Kayayei in Makola and Agbogbloshie Markets, Accra, this study examines how migration as a livelihood strategy contributes to an improvement in the living conditions of young girls and their families. The paper also looks more closely into the pathways through which the livelihoods of these young female migrants may contribute to local economic development. The study highlights that Kayayei contribute to local economic development through market exchange and revenue generation, also there is significant perceived positive impact of head portering on standard of living of these young girls through improved access to income, health care and asset accumulation while their families benefit from remittances. The study concludes by advocating for the need to provide access to credit and skills training in enhancing the livelihood of Kayayei.
KeywordsMigration Livelihoods Remittances Head porters (Kayayei) Standard of living Ghana
We wish to acknowledge the President of Kayayei Youth Association (KYA) in Accra who provided diverse assistant during data collection process by helping in recruiting the study participants. We are grateful to the migrant female head porters (Kayayei) who served as study participants. We gratefully acknowledge Professor Alison Brown, Cardiff University, United Kingdom for her insightful comments. We also want to thank the peer reviewers for their constructive feedback.
- Ackah, C., Adjasi, C., Turkson, F., & Acquah, A. (2014). Education, skill, and earnings: Further evidence from Ghana. WIDER Working Paper, No. 2014/073. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from http://www.wider.unu.edu/publications/working-papers/2014/en_GB/wp2014-073/.
- Adaawen, S. A., & Owusu, B. (2013). North–South migration and remittances in Ghana. African Review of Economics and Finance, 5(1), 29–45.Google Scholar
- Adimabuno, A. M. (2010). Marketing and market queens: A case of tomato farmers in the upper east region of Ghana. A PhD Thesis Submitted to the University of Bonn, Germany.Google Scholar
- Adom, K., & Williams, C. C. (2014). Evaluating the explanations for the informal economy in third world cities: Some evidence from Koforidua in the eastern region of Ghana. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 10(2), 427–445.Google Scholar
- Agyei, J., & Ofosu-Mensah, A. E. (2009). Historical overview of internal migration in Ghana. In J. K. Anarfi & S. O. Kwankye (Eds.), Independent migration of children in Ghana (pp. 9–44). Legon, Ghana: Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Anarfi, J., K., & Kwankye, S. (2005). The costs and benefits of children’s independent migration from northern to southern Ghana. Paper presented at the International Conference on Childhoods: Children and Youth in Emerging and Transforming Societies. Oslo, Norway.Google Scholar
- Arhin, A. A. (2013). Promising Start, but bleak future? Progress of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Schemes towards Universal Health Coverage. Developing Country Studies, 3(13), 151–159.Google Scholar
- Awuse, N., & Tandoh-Offin, P. (2014). Empirical analysis of internal migration influence on development in Ghana from 1990 to 2012. Journal of Social Science Studies, 1(2). doi: 10.5296/jsss.v1i2.5098.
- Baah, O. (2007). Ghana: Northern, upper east and west are the suppliers of street kids in Kumasi. Public Agenda. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from http://allafrica.com/stories/200705211552.html.
- Baah-Ennumh, T. Y., Amponsah, O., & Adoma, M. O. (2012). The living conditions of female head porters in the Kumasi metropolis, Ghana. Journal of Social & Development Sciences, 3(7), 229–244.Google Scholar
- Bank of Ghana (BOG). (2014). Daily interbank forex bureau rates. Retrieved August 18, 2014, www.bog.gov.gh/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=89.
- Bowles, L. R. (2011). Widening the lens: Embodiments of gender, work and migration with market women in Ghana. A PhD Thesis submitted to the Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.Google Scholar
- Britwum, A. O. (2013). Market queens and the blame game in Ghanaian tomato marketing. In C. Scherrer & D. Saha (Eds.), The food crisis. Implications for Labour. München, Mering: Rainer Hampp Verlag.Google Scholar
- Brown, A., & Lyons, M. (2010). Seen but not heard: Urban voice and citizenship for street traders. In L. Idla (Ed.), Africa’s informal workers: Collective agency, alliances and trans-national organizing in urban Africa (pp. 33–45). London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
- Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Chambers, R., & Conway, G. (1992). Sustainable rural livelihoods: practical concepts for the 21st century. IDS Discussion Paper, 296. Brighton: Insititute for Development Studies.Google Scholar
- Chattopadhyay, O. (2005). Safety and health of urban informal sector workers. Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 30(2), 46–47.Google Scholar
- Codjoe, S. N. A., Owusu, G., & Burkett, V. (2014). Perception, experience, and indigenous knowledge of climate change and variability: The case of Accra, a sub-Saharan African city. Regional Environmental Change, 14(1), 369–383.Google Scholar
- De Haan, H. (2008). Migration and development: A theoretical perspective. International Migration Institute, University of Oxford Working papers 9.Google Scholar
- Dustmann, C., & Mestres, J. (2010). Savings, asset holdings, and temporary migration. CREAM Discussion Paper 05/10, London: Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, University College, London.Google Scholar
- Elgin, C., & Oyvat, C. (2013). Lurking in the cities: Urbanization and the informal economy. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 27(36–47). doi: 10.1016/j.strueco.2013.06.003.
- Ellis, F. (2000). Rural livelihoods and diversity in developing countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Fisher, M., & Weber, B. A. (2004). Does economic vulnerability depend on the place of residence? Asset poverty across metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. The Review of Regional Studies, 34(2), 137–155.Google Scholar
- Ghana Districts. (2006). Accra metropolitan assembly. Retrieved June 24, 2014, www.ghanadistricts.com/districts/?r=1&_=3&sa=3004.
- Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). (2013). 2010 Housing and population census. National analytical report. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
- Heintz, J., & Pickbourn, L. (2012). The determinants of selection into non-agricultural self-employment in Ghana. Margin: The Journal of Applied Economic Research, 6(2), 181–209.Google Scholar
- Housing the Masses. (2010). People’s dialogue on human settlements: Final report on community-led enumeration of Old Fadama community, Accra-Ghana. Unpublished Report, Accra, Ghana.Google Scholar
- Huang, J., Nkrumah, P. N., Anim, D. O., & Mensah, E. (2014). E-waste disposal effects on the aquatic environment: Accra, Ghana. In: Whitacre, D. M. (Ed.). Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology, (Vol. 229, pp. 19–34). Springer International Publishing, Switzerland. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-03777-6_2.
- International Labour Organisation (ILO). (2005). A global alliance against forced labour: Global report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work 2005. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
- Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Turner, L. A. (2007). Toward a definition of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), 112–133.Google Scholar
- Kanton, I. O., Abdul-Rahim, L., Songsore, J., Farouk, R. B., & Mulenga, M. (2010). Urban water and sanitation in Ghana: How local action is making a difference (pp. 1–36). International Institute for Environment and Development. Human Settlements Working Paper Series, Water and Sanitation—25.Google Scholar
- King, R. (2006). Fulcrum of the urban economy: Governance and street livelihoods in Kumasi, Ghana. In A. Brown (Ed.), Contested space: Street trading, public space and livelihoods in developing cities. Rugby: ITDG Publishing.Google Scholar
- King, R. S., & Amponsah, O. (2012). The role of city authorities in contributing to the development of urban slums in Ghana. In E. Badu, R. Dinye, O. Ahadzie, D. Owusu-Manu (Eds), Proceedings 1st ICIDA, March 22–24, 2012, Kumasi, Ghana.Google Scholar
- KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) and IIRR (International Institute of Rural Reconstruction). (2008). Trading up: Building cooperation between farmers and traders in Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: KIT and IIRR.Google Scholar
- Kwankye, S. O., Anarfi, J. K., Tagoe, C. A., & Castaldo, A. (2009). Coping strategies of independent child migrants from northern Ghana to southern cities. Migration DRC Working Paper T-23. University of Sussex, Brighton: Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty.Google Scholar
- Lyon, F. (2007). Institutional perspectives on understanding street retailer behavior and networks: Cases from Ghana. In J. C. Cross & A. Morales (Eds.), Street entrepreneurs: People, place and politics in local and global perspective. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Lyons, M., & Snoxell, S. (2005). Sustainable urban livelihoods and marketplace social capital: Crisis and strategy in petty trade. Urban Studies, 42(8), 1301–1320.Google Scholar
- Maxwell, D., Levin, C., Armar-Klemesu, M., Ruel, M., Morris, S., & Ahiadeke, C. (2000). Urban livelihoods and food and nutrition security in Greater Accra, Ghana. Report 112. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Monney, I., Buamah, R., Odai, S. N., Awuah, E., & Nyenje, P. M. (2013). Evaluating access to potable water and basic sanitation in Ghana’s largest urban slum community: Old Fadama, Accra. Journal of Environment and Earth Science, 3(11), 72–79.Google Scholar
- O’ Connell Davidson, J., & Farrow, C. (2007). Child migration and the construction of vulnerability. Sweden: Save the Children.Google Scholar
- Opare, J. (2003). Kayayei: The women head porters of southern Ghana. Journal of social development in Africa, 18(2), 33–48.Google Scholar
- Osei-Boateng, C., & Ampratwum, E. (2011). The informal sector in Ghana. Accra: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Retrieved April 14, 2014, from www.fesghana.org/uploads/pdf/fes_informalsector_2011_final.pdf.
- Paller, J. W. (2012). Political accountability in Ghanaian slums: Evidence from the grassroots. Ghana Centre for Democratic Development Briefing Paper, 11(1), 1–8.Google Scholar
- People’s Dialogue and Ghana Federation of Urban Poor (PDGFUP). (2011). Addressing the Kayayoo situation in Ghana an enumeration report. Retrieved June 15, 2014, www.pdfghana.org.
- Pescina, J. U. C. (2013). The economic case of Accra, Ghana: Advanced issues in development planning. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from http://mci.ei.columbia.edu/files/2013/The-Economic-Base-of-Accra-Ghana.
- Porter, G., Hampshire, K., Dunn, C., Hall, R., Levesley, M., Burton, K., & Panther, J. (2013). Health impacts of pedestrian head-loading: A review of the evidence with particular reference to women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Social Science and Medicine, 88(90–97). doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.04.010.
- Sabates-Wheeler, R., Sabates, R., & Castaldo, A. (2007). Tackling poverty-migration linkages: Evidence from Ghana and Egypt. Social Indicators Research, 87(2), 208–307.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, T. A., & Wolff, E. N. (Eds.), (2001). Assets for the poor: The benefits of spreading asset ownership. Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- Shepherd, A., Jebuni, C., Al-Hassan, R., McKay, A., Poulton, C., Whitehead, A., & Kydd, J. (2005). Economic growth in Northern Ghana, Revised Report for DFID Ghana. Prepared by Overseas Development Institute and Centre for Policy Analysis, London/Accra. Retrieved July 13, 2014, from www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/3530.pdf.
- Stasik, M., & Thiel, A. (2014). Market men and station women: Changing significations of gendered space in Accra, Ghana. DFG Priority Programme 1448—Working Paper, No. 5. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from www.uni-leipzig.de/~cas/publications/publicationlist/detail/?tx_news_pi1[news]=39&cHash=0de2408999913485301b4780d6480b04.
- Tobbin, P., & Kuwornu, J. K. (2011). Adoption of mobile money transfer technology: Structural equation modeling approach. European Journal of Business and Management, 3(7), 59–77.Google Scholar
- UNDESA. (2013). International migration factsheets. New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.Google Scholar
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2009). Human development report 2009: Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development. New York: UNDP. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from www.hdr.undp.org.
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). (2011). Ghana housing profile. Nairobi, Kenya: UN-HABITAT.Google Scholar
- Whitehead, A., & Hashim, I. (2005). Children and migration. Background paper for DFID migration team. Retrieved May 12, 2014, from www.childtrafficking.com/Docs/dfid_05_child_mig_bac_0408.pdf.
- Winkles, A. (2004). Migratory livelihoods in Vietnam: Vulnerability and the role of migrant networks. A Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
- World Bank. (2011). Migration and remittances fact book 2011. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
- Wouterse, F. (2010). Internal migration and rural service provision in Northern Ghana. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from www.ifpri.cgiar.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp00952.pdf.
- Wrigley-Asante, C. (2014). Accra turns lives around: Female migrant traders and their empowerment experiences in Accra, Ghana. GÉNEROS-Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies, 3(2), 341–367.Google Scholar
- Yeboah, M. A. (2008). Gender and livelihoods: Mapping the economic strategies of porters in Accra, Ghana. PhD Dissertation submitted to West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA.Google Scholar
- Yeboah, M. A., & Appiah-Yeboah, K. (2009). An examination of the cultural and socio-economic profiles of porters in Accra, Ghana. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 18(1), 1–21.Google Scholar
- Yeboah, T., Owusu, L., Arhin, A., & Kumi, E. (2014). Fighting poverty from the street: Perspectives of some female informal sector workers on gendered poverty and livelihood portfolios in Southern Ghana. Journal of Economic and Social Studies, 5(1). doi: 10.14706/JECOSS11511. ISSN 1986-8502.
- Ziblim, S. D. (2013a). Travelling without goodbye: Coping strategies nexus of female independent migrants in Ghana. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 3(5), 170–178.Google Scholar
- Ziblim, S. D. (2013b). Migrattion and health nexus: A case of female porters (Kayayei) in Accra, Ghana. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 3(3), 103–109.Google Scholar