The Koforidua Beads and Craft Market
Koforidua is the capital of the Eastern Region of Ghana and is located approximately 80 km from the capital and main commercial center, Accra.
Koforidua has a weekly beads and crafts market which is organized every Thursday at the Gallaway neighbourhood next to the Koforidua Jubilee Park. The Koforidua Beads and Crafts Market is organized by the New Jauben Municipal Assembly, beads producers and vendors. The market space and structures were provided and constructed since 2012 by the New Juaben Municipal Assembly and is also managed by same. The market it is claimed to have been in existence for over 200 years, organized in available open spaces and in different locations. The last location of the beads market was Jackson Park where it started as a weekly event until it was recited to its present location.
The market space is filled with sheds and a few shops. Shop owners in the market are involved in daily marketing of their wares. Wares in the market comprise inputs, semi-finished and finished products.
Activities in this market begins from the very early hours of the morning where various categories of wares including glasses, broken louvre blades, bottles, metal bars, cotton threads and finished beads are brought from various destinations. Products made from beads and other jewelry made from brass, copper, fabrics and in some cases combined with beads are traded in this market.
Beads and beads products vendors in this market include small scale local producers, large scale commercial producers and retailers.
Other materials and products including rocks, wood, leather and cowry bags, brass products and artifacts, wood carvings, etc., which players in the industry have and derive value from for various reasons are also collected and sold in the Koforidua Beads and Crafts Market.
Alhaji Zakari Gariba
A famous beads collector and vendor, Alhaji Zakari Gariba in the Koforidua beads market who deals mainly in “antique beads” claimed that, the beads market in Koforidua has been in existence for over 200 years. He also said the Koforidua beads market widely known and receives patronage from all the continents of the world. Alhaji Gariba said he inherited his business from his father beginning 1975 in Koforidua.
Alhaji Gariba is mainly involved in the collection and sale of antique beads across Africa with intense activities in the West African sub-region. He sells beads to clients across the world from the Koforidua beads market.
The Koforidua Beads and Crafts Market is patronized by a wide range of people from across the world. It is frequented by beads collectors and traders, beads products manufacturers, tourist and researchers. There are some West African beads collectors and merchants from Nigeria and La Cote d’Ivoire who have presence in the market and also connect with other markets around the sub-region. Particularly in summer and during specially organized events on Ghanaian culture, tourist visit the market for acquaintance and purchases.
Vendors in the beads industry operate their businesses at various levels and may be categorized into small, medium and large scale players. A very large proportion of players in the industry work full time in the production, collection, export, import and sale of beads. All categories of producers and collectors turn to receive various orders to produce and supply beads and beads products to specific markets in-and-outside Ghana while others only sell in local markets.
For a majority of the beads vendors we encountered, their involvement in production, collection and sale of beads is full time, whiles a small proportion engage in additional activities.
Ibrahim Gariba (Vendor)
Ibrahim Gariba who is in his early 40s, is one of the bead vendors who has a shop in the New Juaben Beads Market. Ibrahim claims he started his beads business in Koforidua beginning 1992 after he learned the trade from his father. Ibrahim collects beads mainly from Ghana and Nigeria, and occasionally from other countries in Africa. He stores his collections in a warehouse constructed in his house in Koforidua. He markets his beads mainly in Ghana at locations including the New Juaben Beads Market, the Accra Arts Center, Embassies of France, Japan, USA and Canada in Accra.
Ibrahim claims his collections include antique and modern beads which he sells to a wide range of people. Tourist, artist, traditional leaders and people who engage in beads as business. He said at the request of clients he often put in orders for beads to be produced locally or from outside Ghana.
Ibrahim is engaged full time in the beads business and likes to spend most of his time meeting people to discuss promotion of beads.