Kantamanto’s back in business. Just two months ago, a field of rubble was all that remained of the large, beloved market that deals primarily in secondhand clothes imported from the U.S., Europe and China. The market, a confusing labyrinth of stalls, had been leveled by fires and government demolition trucks. The air of mourning was palpable; livelihoods had been destroyed overnight and no one could be certain of their futures.

The Kantamanto disaster has caused a firestorm of controversy, especially as more fires in markets in both Accra and Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city, have fueled conspiracy theories. The local government, the Accra Metropolitan Authority, was forced to back down from its proposed takeover of Kantamanto. 

And proposals for an “ultramodern shopping complex” met with approval from some who feel that markets like Kantamanto are unsanitary, disorganized and unappealing, a pimple on Accra’s fresh face. Others championed the traders’ cause. The good news is that public debate seems to be occurring, and that the traders’ voices, though not always dominant, have not been totally drowned out as they’d feared. 

Read more at nextcity.org: Destroyed by Fire, a Market Struggles to Rise from the Ashes.

This photo is part of the Informal City Dialogues, featuring stories and insights from six rapidly urbanizing cities around the world. 

Informal sector markets vendors accra ghana kumasi nextcity informalcity

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