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The Neo-colonial and Imperial Roots of Ghana’s Road Transport Misery

Much has been written about the crashes, congestion and pollution on Ghana’s roads. Road injury is among the top 10 causes of deaths in the country. One report suggests that about $230 million is spent annually on emergency and trauma care associated with motor accidents alone. The heavy traffic jams don’t just undermine productivity, they also contribute to respiratory diseases and environmental damage. Structural adjustment also contributed to the heavy importation of old used cars in Ghana. Research shows that prior to the IMF and World Bank measures, car importation volumes were modest. The liberalisation of the economy reversed the trend and opened the floodgate for heavy importation of cars. But only a few of imported cars in Ghana are brand new. The majority are often second-, third-, fourth-, and even fifth-hand cars. Research has shown that ageing vehicles are not just highly polluting, they are also highly prone to malfunctioning and, therefore, crashes.