The Popular Niche Economy of a Ghanaian Bus Station: Departure from Informality

Michael Stasik


This article combines the concept of a “popular economy” with that of a “niche economy” to analyse the workings of a central bus station in Accra, Ghana, and, by extension, of Ghana’s public transport sector at large. In doing so it departs from generic models of the “informal sector” commonly used for describing road and roadside entrepreneurship in African contexts. At the same time, it challenges prevalent views of popular economies bent on emphasising mechanisms of reciprocity and solidarity over opportunity and profiteering. The focus on the station, it suggests, provides for a detailed reflection on the dialectics of collaboration and competition characteristic of Ghana’s local transport economics, and it offers significant continuities with practices, places, and politics of economic “informality” in Africa.

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