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The evolution of indigenous contractors in Ghana

By Samuel Amartei Laryea


This paper provides some preliminary insights into the emergence and development of indigenous general contractors in Ghana. General contracting is the means by which an individual or organisation takes responsibility for supplying all of the materials, labour, equipment and services necessary for the construction of a project. Whereas the development of general contracting in places like the UK is well documented, the evolution of contractors in Ghana is not clearly articulated in the literature. Therefore, the main question in this paper is: How did indigenous contractors evolve in Ghana? To examine and analyze the research question, a literature review on similar developments elsewhere was first carried out. This was followed by discussions and unstructured interviews with experienced construction practitioners in Ghana most of whom were Quantity Surveyors. Most interviewees narrated their knowledge of contractor development in Ghana dating back to around 1945. From the explanations given, it was possible to develop a general understanding of the research question and to make a qualitative interpretation of the respondents’ comments and to draw some conclusions. General contractors emerged rapidly in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) shortly after World War II. Most were Italian master craftsmen in Ghana who were capitalized by the British colonial government to develop infrastructure in the Gold Coast following devastating effects of the war. Some of the indigenous people learned from the Italians and also established construction firms. Thus, general contracting in Ghana has a relatively short history in comparison to countries like Britain where the profession developed rapidly in the early part of the 19th century in response to the industrial revolution. Although they may possess sufficient technical expertise, many indigenous contractors in Ghana today lack the capacity to carry out major projects because of low capitalization and poor organisational structures. The current construction market in Ghana is dominated by foreign contractors. To become major players in the market, indigenous Ghanaian contractors should build strong organisational structures and pursue mergers and joint venturing to boost their financial, technical and managerial capacity

Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:16288

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