Kantamanto Market is a market zone in Accra, Ghana’s commercial capital. Trading activities in Accra’s Kantamanto Market have contributed to and been linked to the city’s economic productivity and vibrancy for more than 30 years. The majority of the market is made up of the Kwahu and Ashanti tribes, as well as other Akan tribes. It is a well-known Accra market where you can find any type of clothing, fabric, footwear, or textile you require.

The market is estimated to have over 30,000 traders selling a variety of wares such as brand new and used clothing, new and used footwear, building materials, fixtures and fittings, electronic gadgets, food items, cosmetics, and so on.

Market fires are caused by a variety of factors, including but not limited to improper electrical fittings, the use of substandard electrical materials, defective generators, power fluctuations caused by frequent power outages, illegal tapping from the national grid, the use of gas and open fires for cooking, and so on.

Fires always cause extensive damage because of the market’s congested nature. With the destruction of goods and structures costing tens of thousands of Ghana Cedis. There are no fire hydrants on the market, making it difficult to replenish fire tenders that run out of water during fires. When there is a fire, there are almost no entry and exit points for fire tenders to move in quickly. This story is similar to that of other markets in the country, such as Kotokoraba, Market Circle, and Kejetia. The most recent fire in the market occurred on Tuesday, November 18, 2020, at Odorna market. A raging fire engulfed several market shops. The fire was believed to have been started by a welder whose welding machine caught fire.

As the market becomes increasingly congested, many traders have expressed concerns ranging from needed expansion to improved fire safety. After clashes with AMA city authorities in June 2016, the Kantamanto Traders Association (KTA) petitioned the Government of Ghana to halt the ejection and expansion work being undertaken by the management of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) until an alternative location to accommodate the over 30,000 traders at the Kantamanto market was found. With no end in sight, we recommend that the following measures be implemented:

Every market should have operational fire hydrants at vantage points. There should be emergency lanes established to allow fire tenders to freely enter and exit market.

Both the Fire Service and the National Disaster Management Organization should launch an intensive educational campaign among traders about fire prevention and safety precautions.

The Ghana Electricity Company should conduct periodic inspections to clamp down on illegal connections and check faulty meters, wiring, plugs, and switches in the various markets.

The Government should consider redeveloping and re-engineering of the country’s formal and informal markets in accordance with safety standards.