International Development Planning Review

Continuity and adaptability of home-based enterprises: A longitudinal study from Accra, Ghana

International Development Planning Review (2010), 32, (1), 45–70.

Abstract

It has long been recognised that many low-income households in cities in the global South use their home not only as a means of shelter but also as a source of income. There is a tendency, however, to consider home-based enterprises as providing insignificant and temporary forms of work. Evidence collected over a period of 10 years from home-based enterprise operators in Accra shows that, although the fortunes of the enterprises vary, the majority display a remarkable ability to survive. The operators demonstrate a high degree of flexibility in adapting to changing demand and opportunities, and a few manage to consolidate and expand their businesses. In the current economic climate, in which young people especially are having difficulty finding gainful employment, some young people are taking over home-based enterprises from their ageing parents. There is clear evidence that home-based enterprises make an important contribution to urban livelihoods and should be supported, not hindered, by urban planners.

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Author details

Gough, Katherine