Akwasi Owusu Sarpong

Working Title: "Migration for livelihood and its food (in)security outcomes in Accra, Ghana: A Case study of the Informal Electronic (e) -Waste Recycling at Agbogbloshie"

Research Countries: Ghana

Research Themes: migration, food, pollution


Akwasi Owusu Sarpong is a junior Researcher at the Center for Development Research, Bonn University, pursuing a PhD programme in ‘One Health and Urban Transformation’. His current research project is on “Migration for Livelihood and its Food insecurity Outcomes in Accra, a case study of the informal e-waste recycling at Agbogbloshie”. He holds M.Phil. in Geography from University of Ghana and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree in Geography from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Ghana.

Mr. Sarpong is also a Researcher at the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), a Universal Access and Service Fund mandated to promote access and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in unserved and underserved rural communities in Ghana.  At GIFEC, he has championed a number of research activities including conducting surveys on ICT use among Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (MSMEs), and the Digital Divide in Ghana resulting in global recognition by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

He has published a number of noteworthy works including ‘Fire Risk Vulnerability in Informal Settlements: the case of Ashaiman’ and ‘Fire Risk Reduction through a Community-Based Risk Assessment: Reflections from Makola Market, Accra, Ghana’.


Cities are the epicentres of innovative solutions to ensure that migrants can maximize their contributions to the economic and social fabric of communities. However, most policy-makers fail to collaborate effectively to realize the potentials of migrants and address their risks.

Such tendencies compel migrants to indulge in survivalists’ jobs, a situation illustrated in Agbogbloshie, one of the world’s notorious e-waste processing sites and a food market, where tons of e-waste is processed under risky conditions by poor and marginalized migrants from northern Ghana (Amankwaa et al. 2016; Oteng-Ababio 2019).

The Agbogbloshie case resonates the challenges African policy makers face with respect to e-waste and its impacts on health, food security, and the environment (Grant and Oteng-Ababio 2020). The policy challenge is: can ways be found to reconcile the need to access livelihoods (e-waste processing) and the right to healthy working conditions, a clean environment, and safe food?

The proposed methodology is informed by three key questions:

1. Given the known health impacts on e-waste workers at the Agbogbloshie site, what situationally appropriate measures to mitigate negative impacts on workers’ health can be developed through a participatory research process?

2. To what extent is e-waste processing at the Agbogbloshie site a matter of concern for the safety of food produced at the site and food sold at the adjacent market?

3. If negative impacts on food safety are linked to e-waste processing at the Agbogbloshie site, what innovative and practical solutions can be devised to mitigate them?


Dr. Kees van der Geest (UNU-EHS)

Prof. Jakob Rhyner (Uni Bonn)


Phone: +49 228 /73 - 6759

Email: aosarpong(at)gmail.com

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