Collective self-help, financial inclusion and the commons: searching for solutions to Accra’s housing crisis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Accra is experiencing a housing crisis caused by the failure of both the state and the market to provide affordable shelter for the city’s low-income population. The launch of a new National Housing Policy in 2015 indicated a growing interest on the part of policymakers to support an alternative approach to low-income housing pioneered by civil society that is based on the principles of collective self-help and financial inclusion. This article conceptualizes this approach as an attempt to incorporate previously excluded surplus populations into the circuits of capital by extending finance to low-income city dwellers. However, this approach diverges from more conventional market-based approaches by promoting collective forms of organization, tenure and resource management—or “commons.” To scale this approach up beyond isolated pilot projects and ensure that it is genuinely affordable to the poorest groups, it is argued that collective self-help must be accompanied by subsidies from the state.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Early online date26 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Related information