This case describes activities that take place at Makola market, a vast unregulated commercial enterprise in the city of Accra, capital of Ghana. The market spreads without specific boundaries and commercial activities take place without any regulation or control. As a result of the lack of control, many problems emerge that affect not only the direct customers of the market, but also their suppliers and citizens who patronize restaurants or other businesses that get their supplies from Makola market.
Below are some pictures of the Makola market:

MAKOLA MARKET Discussion Questions:

1. Why do you think the market place has been left unregulated?
One primary reason that the market has been left unregulated is cost. To provide inspectors who would assess product quality would cost a great deal, and the government of Ghana does not have the money needed to create this many inspectors. The case mentions 50,000 people involved in the market; to provide inspectors, each of whom would be responsible for inspecting 500 businesses, means a need for 100 inspectors. This would be costly and difficult to structure.

Another problem would be the structure issue identified above. Should an inspector be responsible only for inspecting one type of business, or related businesses (E.G., fruits, vegetables, other food products as one type of business)? Or should an inspector be responsible for inspecting all businesses in a given location? Would it be possible for vendors to “slip away” from one location and move to a different one, in order to avoid inspection? That seems highly likely.

It may be necessary to organize the market in stages rather than all at once. Specific groups of vendors might agree to self-organization and self-regulation. Food vendors especially might agree to form a consortium that attempts to improve food storage practices and better access to products. Maybe the vendors could band together to pay for a refrigerated truck that could go out to critical locations and pick up farmers’ produce. A truck might be better able to navigate the poor road conditions, and a refrigerated truck would prevent food spoilage.

A key challenge here is figuring out how to begin to regulate such a vast, unregulated commercial enterprise. Makola market is a teeming, bustling enterprise, not unlike a school of fish. There are many vendors, many customers, many suppliers, etc. How do you “get a handle on” this organism? What should be the first step, or division, or priority? The federal or local government in Accra may have avoided regulation simply because figuring out how or what to regulate is perceived as too complex.

2. What needs to improve in the Makola market?

Several things need to improve:

First, a specific boundary for the market should be created. Creating a specific boundary would mean that fencing might be utilized and there would be some protection from theft by trying to keep thieves out of the market. Protection for the market (see below) would be easier to provide if there was a specific limit on locations of vendors.

Second, a key concern should be preventing food poisoning by trying to get control over food sales and fruit and vegetable sales. It would be ideal if the government could build a warehouse that had refrigeration available for the vendors to use for storage of food items, and could also provide protection from theft and from pests and vermin such as rats and mice. This would mean that all food vendors would probably want to be located near the warehouse, and that might not be possible, if current practice is that food vendors are located randomly throughout the market.

Third, a licensing system for the businesses would provide revenue that could be used to provide such things as the warehouse mentioned above, and installation of lighting in the marketplace. Even a token licensing fee would provide funding that could be used to improve the infrastructure of the market. Licensing businesses would make them “legitimate” and would also provide a specific location and contact person for each vendor. This would make it easier to communicate with vendors to share or solicit information.

At left:
vegetable sales
in the market.

3. Who can implement change the in the market place? Based on what power or authority?

The government of Ghana can regulate the market place. Most of the suggestions made above are based on the assumption that the federal or local government can impose these constraints. But because there is no internal regulatory or organizational structure for the market, Makola market vendors will be difficult to locate and to communicate with.

Makola market vendors could also change their practices, if they agree to work together. Creating a structure for licensing, for inspection, for communication could benefit vendors and customers. Perhaps an advisory board could be formed that would provide information for both vendors and the public.

4. How will a positive change in the Makola market affect what goes on in Accra? What potential impact would this positive change have on governmental operations in Accra?

If there were more regulation of the market, customers could be more confident that the products that they buy would not hurt them. Vendors could charge more for their products because they could guarantee that their products had been inspected for quality. If there were an organizational structure created, vendors could receive training in food product safety, food storage, food preparation, etc. This training would ensure that restaurants in Accra would be much less likely to use tainted products in their food preparation.

There would be fewer unplanned absences for governmental employees because the likelihood of food poisoning would be reduced.
Creating a licensing process could have the effect of weeding out vendors that are selling poor-quality goods. But this assumes that the market can have actual boundaries, some physical limit that can be used to keep “others” out. That may be difficult to do. Being able to “certify” vendors would make Makola market more attractive as a tourist destination, selling products that are less likely to be dangerous in any way.

But a licensing and physical boundaries process would make it harder for new vendors to enter the market. This would have a negative impact on personal income for the people who want to enter the market. There will need to be a process that monitors the trade-off between benefits of regulation and undesirable impacts of limiting possible vendor entry into the market.

Last Updated on February 10, 2019 by EssayPro