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A Typical Day At A Ghanaian Marketplace

Ghana, located in west Africa, has over the last two decades seen a substantial improvement in its local economy. This economic boost has expanded the middle-income sectors from what it was twenty years ago. Ghana is blooming into one of the most attractive African countries for foreign investments. However, infrastructure development specifically, in its supermarkets is yet to spill over into the traditional marketplace.

The typical marketplace in Ghana is structured either as a modern-day supermarket or the traditional open-place market center. The traditional market structure is sub-divided based on produce types. We have the tomato market traders in one location, onion traders in another location, and so forth. The local market Traders and Buyers are predominantly women.

These market centers are led by Market Queens, who are nominated by the local associations. The hierarchy is structured as such: the National Market Queen, the Regional Market Queen, and the Local Market Queen. The Queens oversee the unions bulk purchase of produce from within and outside of Ghana to prevent overflooding of produce in the market space and so exercising some control on pricing. Queens also settle disputes among Traders.

Produce sold at the main supermarket outlets is usually weighed and tagged with prices whereas the traditional markets operate on a system of lively price negotiations. The majority of Ghanaians, however, prefer shopping at the traditional marketplaces for two reasons; the possibility of good, bargained prices and the lure of extra produce as gifts when prices are mutually agreed upon!

One exciting characteristic of the local marketplace is its competitive yet friendly way in which the traders’ approach, attract, and engage shoppers to their stand. Sweet talk and gestures will easily draw shoppers to making their way over to the stands.

The transportation network to and from these traditional market centers is mainly by local mini vans, “trotro” as these are fondly labelled; and they deftly move buyers and their purchased goods around, at negotiable prices.

One common sight in all the market centers are potters, also known as ‘kayaye’, literally translated as potter ladies. These ladies, for a negotiated fee carry goods on their heads, balancing to perfection, as they stride alongside the paying buyer to and from their cars.

The Ghanaian experience at the marketplace is a whirlwind of hectic, brisk activity, full of life and bustling. It is a great way to experience the heart of Ghanaian culture and save some dollars at the same time!

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