Street Traders and the Emerging Spaces for Urban Voice and Citizenship in African Cities

Alison Brown, Michal Lyons, Ibrahima Dankoco
  • Article Title: Street Traders and the Emerging Spaces for Urban Voice and Citizenship in African Cities
  • Title of Journal: Urban Studies
  • Vol #: 47
  • Issue #: 3

This article explores characteristics and influence of traders‟ associations in four case study countries: Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania and Lesotho. In Senegal, associations have mainly been linked to Muslim brotherhoods. Two larger independent associations are mentioned, UNACOIS (Union Nationale des Commerçants et Industriels du Sénégal) has 100,000 members and runs a co-operative, workshops and educational programmes, also providing micro-insurance, credit and savings fund for traders. La Chambre du Commerce de Dakar mainly represents powerful wholesalers and carries out negotiations with the municipality on behalf of its members. Both of the groups can be seen as representing larger business interests, leaving the poorer fractions of traders to smaller, less influential organisations. In Ghana, the study brings up market associations – formed by the retailers of specific products – that provide welfare or loans and deal with the practical aspects of market management, sometimes also functioning as co-operatives. Market committees bring together the leaders of different market associations in solving disputes and negotiating with the municipality. In Tanzania, two umbrella organisations of traders associations, VIBINDO (Association of Small Businesses) and KIWAKU (an association of clothes sellers) have aimed to defend traders from evictions with little success. In Lesotho, some small-scale associations have aimed to defend traders against government hostility towards street trade. However, they have remained largely ineffective.

Informal Economy Topic
Occupational group
Publication Type