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Question of the Week 4

How can we ensure that informal female traders in African countries do not lose out in formalisation processes (including labour market formalisation, trade formalisation, regional integration processes)?

Reactions (6)

Christopher Changwe Nshimbi (PhD) - University of Pretoria, South Africa
2016-07-25 14:23

Leave no trader behind: Ensuring that female informal cross-border traders do not lose out in formalisation processes

The violent protests by informal cross-border traders (ICBTs) at the Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe in early July 2016 came as no surprise to many who are familiar with the informal economy and its operations in Africa. Informal trade provides employment and generates revenues that contribute to the livelihoods and welfare of the traders, to local economies and, now, the Zimbabwean government wants... read more »

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Paul Lange - Africa Studies Centre (ASC)
2016-07-25 14:28

Informal cross-border trade is flourishing throughout the African continent. It is increasingly recognized as a major force in regional trade and integration, and for its potential for inclusive and sustainable development, not least because of the predominant ro... read more »

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Zjos Vlaminck - African Studies Centre, Leiden
2016-07-26 16:18

The phrasing of the question assumes that female traders are more likely to lose out in formalisation processes than their male counterparts. If we take the case of Ghanaian market traders, however, our research findings indicate that vulnerabilities to formalisation processes do not primarily run along gender lines. Ghanaian markets are organised through commodity-based market queen associations  which are overseen by a general market association run by the Queen Mom (ahemafo) and a group of between five to seven leaders, who are also p... read more »

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Karim Karaki - ECDPM
2016-07-28 11:36

A bottom up approach to trade formalisation policies - ‘Nothing for us without us’

Bringing informal activities and trade into the formally recorded economy is both a priority and a challenge for a number of governments, policy-makers and donors, especially in the broader context of regional integration and cross-border trade. Tackling such issues is motivated by a number of potential benefits such as: providing better and more sustainable jobs; broadening the tax base (domestic resource mobilisation); improving access to b... read more »

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Kassim Assouma - African Studies Centre
2016-07-28 15:06

** This reaction is written in French. Please scroll down for the English translation.
 La formulation de la question suppose que les commerçantes informelles des marchés sont plus susceptibles de perdre dans les processus de formalisation que leurs homologues masculins. Or, si nous prenons le cas des commerçants ghanéens et béninois, les résultats de nos recherches indiquent que les vulnérabilités dans le processus de formalisation ne fonctionnent pas suivant le genre. Il est évident que le commerce sur les places de marchés publics e... read more »

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Nancy Benjamin - World Bank
2016-08-1 14:37

A good answer to this question would examine everything relevant to formalization processes and how women fare in these elements.  Without taking on all of these elements, a couple of points of particular interest to women can be highlighted.  

First we can consider the record on formalization itself.
Evidence from OHADA member countries shows, in an experimental program, that the firms most likely to formalize are those that are already closest to formal firms in their operations and scale of business.  However,  what we know from recent ... read more »

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