Old Fadama: Resources For Nuanced Analysis

In Accra, following the devastating effects of June 3 floods, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly embarked on a demolition exercise in the Old Fadama area. The local authorities rode on the waves of fear, trauma and anger to place the blame for the floods squarely on the shoulders of residents of Old Fadama. And in addition, other people who wanted to ‘forget’ their own roles in indiscriminate dumping of refuse, irresponsibility and incompetence in carrying out design and construction, lack of proper urban planning eagerly joined the Demolish-Old-Fadama train without a thought for the implications of the demolition.
Whether or not the city authorities demolish the settlement of Old Fadama, there must be an appropriate plan – because several of the various urban crises situations around the world today are a direct result of improper planning and implementation. The stories of Agbogbloshie and Old Fadama are not simply black or white, and it is in understanding the nuances that any lasting, sustainable and sensible solution can be found.

E-waste recyclers hastily packing during demolition
E-waste recyclers hastily packing their materials during the demolition exercise. (Photo Credit: Fotombo)


Old Fadama, one of the largest informal settlements in Ghana is located on roughly 31 hectares of flood-prone land near the Korle Lagoon and Odaw River. A significant portion of the land was “reclaimed” from the lagoon by the inhabitants using waste materials such as sawdust, hence the flood-prone characteristic. The earliest recorded settlers, new migrants to Accra, moved there in 1981. In 1990 a significant number of traders were moved to the area by city authorities after the Non-Aligned Movement conference. In1994, people fleeing the Konkomba-Nanumba war were given land in the area to settle on. More recently, “new residents have primarily been economic migrants coming from various parts of the country in search of better employment” (Farouk & Owusu, 2012)


For a nuanced analysis, the following sources are valuable:

1.The Bridge to Sodom and Gomorrah 

2. Qampnet

3. Yepoka Yeebo on Agbogbloshie

4. Agbogbloshie Shadow Economy 

5. Facing Old Fadama

6. Sweeping Away Agbogbloshie. Again.

7. The relocation and reinvention of Old Fadama

8. A personal experience of the “amazing other side of Agbogbloshie” 


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