Policy Brief: Working with informality to make informality work for Africa
African cities are expected to continue growing rapidly with much of this growth taking place in the informal sector. To date, policy dialogues have mostly framed the informal sector in terms of disorder and illegality. As a result, informality has been ignored, marginalised and even demonised, despite the fact that at least 66% of non-agricultural employment in sub-Saharan Africa is in the informal sector, making up about 50% of many countries’ GDP.
The idea of what an African city is, and how the informal sector fits into that picture, needs to change. Reforming the formal sector’s exclusionary and rigid regulations to enable hybrid solutions that use both sectors’ strengths will be key to achieving inclusive and sustainable long-term urban development.
Decisions taken now regarding Africa’s urban transition will affect the continent’s future. The informal sector’s resourcefulness must be used if the continent is to move towards a more prosperous, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable urban society.
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