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Inclusive cities for the urban working poor – lessons from Africa


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Marty Chen

Harvard Kennedy School

Co-Founder and International Co-ordinator, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Inclusive cities for the urban working poor – lessons from Africa

  2. 2. REMARKS  Informal Economy in Africa  recent statistics  comparative perspective  WIEGO Network  overview  presence in Africa  Urban Informal Workers in Africa  Informal Economy Monitoring Study (2012)  other key WIEGO findings  Inclusive Cities for the Urban Working Poor  key demands  enabling conditions  promising examples: Accra and Durban
  3. 3. INFORMAL ECONOMY: TWO OFFICIAL DEFINITIONS  Informal Sector = unincorporated enterprises that may also be unregistered and/or small (1993 ICLS)  Informal Employment = jobs or work without employment-based social protection in informal enterprises, formal firms and/or households (2003 ICLS) - including:  self-employed: employers + own account workers + contributing family workers  wage workers: employees + casual day laborers  contracted & sub-contracted workers: including those who work from their own homes (called homeworkers) ICLS = International Conference of Labour Statisticians convened by the International Labour Organization
  4. 4. INFORMAL EMPLOYMENT AS % OF NON-AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYMENT 2004-2010 Average & Range by Regions South Asia: 82% 62% in Sri Lanka to 84% in India Sub-Saharan Africa: 66%* 33% in South Africa to 82% in Mali* East and Southeast Asia: 65% 42% in Thailand to 73% in Indonesia Latin America: 51% 40% in Uruguay to 75% in Bolivia Middle East and North Africa: 45% 31% in Turkey to 57% in West Bank & Gaza Source: Vanek et al. 2014 WIEGO Working Paper No. 2. *More recent data: 89% in Madagascar, 94% in Uganda (see ILOSTATS)
  5. 5. INFORMAL ECONOMY IN AFRICA: A COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE Comparted to other developing regions,  Africa is the region…  where the informal economy was “discovered” - Keith Hart in Ghana and ILO Mission to Kenya in early 1970s  with the highest rates of informality - along with South Asia  with impressive on-going research and debates on the informal economy  Africa is also known for…  very different rates of informality across the region - highest in West Africa, lowest in South Africa, and quite low in North Africa  relatively high concentration of informal employment in trade, commodity production, and mining - less so in manufacturing  relative high levels of female informal employment overall and, especially, in trade and commodity production  relatively high levels of informal institutions: trade networks, mutual aid societies, savings-and-loan groups  segmentation of informal economy and informal networks along ethnic lines (not just race, gender and religion)  low economic growth and Structural Adjustment Programs- have contributed to high informality
  6. 6.  Informality & Poverty  Most informal workers are poor; most working poor are informally employed  Earnings are low and costs-plus-risks are high, on average, in the informal economy  Informal Economy & Cities  Informal economy = broad base of urban workforce, enterprises and output  Informal workers & their livelihoods are directly impacted by city policies, plans and practices  Cites, as they modernize, are becoming increasingly hostile to the informal economy: penalizing or criminalizing informal workers + undermining or destroying their livelihood activities Inclusive Cities, that support the working poor, are key pathway to reducing urban poverty and inequality. INFORMALITY & CITIES: WIEGO POINT OF DEPARTURE
  7. 7. WIEGO IN BRIEF WIEGO is a global action-research-policy network  goal & objectives: to improve status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy through systemic change by increasing their Voice + Visibility + Validity  3 constituencies: organizations of informal workers + researchers/statisticians + development professionals ► each constituency elects representatives to the WIEGO Board of Directors  defining feature: bridging ground reality of the working poor & mainstream disciplines and discourses  6 core programs: organizing/representation + statistics + global trade + social protection + urban policies + law  4 core functions: networking/capacity building of organizations of informal workers) + research/statistics + good practice documentation + policy analysis and dialogues  scope: 147 members (42 countries) + 44 team members (14 countries) + 10 board members (7 countries) + activities in circa 50 countries  scale: from Focal Cities (Accra, Bangkok, Delhi, Lima) to Global Forums (this year, Habitat III and International Labour Conference General Discussion on Global Value Chains)  will turn 20 in 2017!
  9. 9. WIEGO “3 V” THEORY OF CHANGE: VOICE + VISIBILITY►VALIDITY►POWER Increased Organization & Representation ▼ Increased Voice Improved Statistics, Research & Policy Analysis ▼ Increased Visibility Increased Validity or Legitimacy ▼ Ability to Influence Wider Environment
  11. 11. WIEGO IN AFRICA NETWORKS StreetNet Intl. (2000) Africa Domestic Workers Network (2013) Waste Picker Alliance Home-Based Workers Conference PROJECTS Inclusive Cities Universal Health, OHS, Child Care Fair Trade Law & Informality Collective Bargaining/Platforms FOCAL CITIES Accra Durban* RESEARCH Street Trade Regional Review Informal Economy Budget Analysis Health & OHS Informal Economy Monitoring Study Technology STATISTICS Statistical Briefs: Ghana Kenya South Africa ILO-WIEGO Data Base: 11 countries (See ILOSTAT) LOSTA
  12. 12. INFORMAL ECONOMY MONITORING STUDY: RESEARCH DESIGN  Conceptual Framework  Key Drivers of Change  macroeconomic trends  city government policies and practices  value chain dynamics  Responses by Informal Workers  Mediating Institutions & Production Linkages  Methods: combination of qualitative & quantitative  Qualitative: Set of Focus Group Tools (developed with Caroline Moser)  15 FGs (5 workers each) per sector/city  Quantitative: Survey Questionnaire  150 workers per sector/city
  13. 13. INFORMAL ECONOMY MONITORING STUDY: CITIES & SECTORS City Sector Latin America Belo Horizonte, Brazil Waste pickers Bogotá, Colombia Waste pickers Lima, Peru Street vendors Africa Accra, Ghana Street vendors Durban, South Africa Street vendors, waste pickers Nakuru, Kenya Street vendors, waste pickers Asia Ahmedabad, India Street vendors, home-based workers Bangkok, Thailand Home-based workers Lahore, Pakistan Home-based workers Pune, India Waste pickers
  14. 14. CITIES & STREET VENDORS Insecure work space + harassment by local authorities, including fines/bribes and confiscation of stock + evictions/relocations ► loss of working hours + need to borrow to replenish working capital ► increased interest payments and reduced earnings  Insecure workspace, abuse of authority, and evictions/relocations accounted for 44% of all Focus Group mentions of the city as a driver of change; abuse of authority by police and local officials was the only driver to be ranked in top three in every city  Fruit and vegetable vendors twice as likely as other vendors to experience insecurity, harassment, confiscations, and evictions – and women are more like than men to sell fruit and vegetables “[The] municipality is locking the street traders if they do not have a permit. Should they come to your table or stall while you are away at the toilet, they will ask for permit; if others report that you are on your way back, they will simply confiscate your stock.” (Fruit vendor, Durban)
  15. 15. CITIES & WASTE PICKERS Legal/regulatory/policy environment determines access to waste + state resources - the policy environment varied across the study cities  Belo Horizonte: municipality has formal partnership with MBOs and supports waste pickers with access to waste, infrastructure, subsidies and worker education  Bogota, Durban and Nakuru: two thirds of the waste pickers reported lack of access to waste and lack of work space as significant problems; half also faced harassment  Nakuru: worst situation for waste pickers as local authorities do not recognize waste pickers or engage with them  Access to waste is a major problem: 15% (BH) vs. 73% (Nakuru)  Harassment is a problem: 27% (BH) vs. 50% (Nakuru)  Regulations are a problem: 22% (BH) vs. 46% (Nakuru) “The municipality harasses us because we don not have permits to go inside (the dump). They do not want us to get in. They also chase away the cars that are helping us (by bringing us their recyclables).” (Waste picker, Durban)
  16. 16. CITIES & HOME-BASED WORKERS Lack of /high cost of basic infrastructure services ► decreased production OR increased expenditure on basic infrastructure services ► low earnings  Survey Respondents: one-third reported lack of basic infrastructure services as a problem (more so in Ahmedabad and Lahore than in Bangkok)  Focus Groups: all 15 in Lahore and 6 (out of 15) in Ahmedabad ranked irregular electricity supply and/or high price of electricity as major negative drivers High cost of transport► high business costs ► low earnings or operating at a loss  Survey Respondents:  transport costs comprised 30% of business costs  25% of those who spent on transport operated at a loss “Because there is no public transport, we have to walk to the contractor’s place. While coming back, we have to carry the raw materials. During the monsoon season, we face a lot of problems.” (Homeworker, Ahmedabad )
  17. 17. KEY FINDINGS FROM OTHER WIEGO RESEARCH IN AFRICA  Occupational Health & Safety, Accra & Durban  risks: high for informal workers, but under-researched  regulations: designed for formal workers/workplaces, not informal workers/workplaces  Informal Economy Budget Analysis, Accra  revenue: significant amount of internally generated revenue from informal economy, mainly market traders but also street vendors  expenditure: trader-related expenditures =11.6 per cent of total expenditures in 2013 but only 8.1 per cent in 2014  Technology & Future of Informal Work, Durban  improved tools & equipment: major deterrent to investment is threat of confiscation by local authorities & lack of secure storage near workplace  city-level technological systems: city-level choices – technology, design and privatization - re energy supply, transport services and solid waste management have major impacts on informal workers  Law & Informality, Accra & Cape Town  reach of the state: most urban policies, regulations and bye-laws regulations impact the urban informal workforce; many informal self-employed are registered with local authorities and pay taxes, fees or bribes to local authorities  inappropriate vs. appropriate regulations: in the absence of appropriate regulations, informal workers are often criminalized; they want legal recognition and protection Street Vendor Slogan in Accra: “Regulate Us, Don’t Criminalize Us”
  18. 18. INCLUSIVE CITIES FOR THE URBAN WORKING POOR: KEY DEMANDS  Protection  home-based workers: housing rights as their home=workplace + mixed use zoning regulations that allow commercial activities in residential areas  street vendors: legal right to vend + secure vending site in good location  waste pickers: legal right to access waste + to bid for solid waste management contracts  all: legal identity as legitimate workers/economic agents + social protection  Promotion  home-based workers: basic infrastructure services to improve home=workplace  street vendors: basic infrastructure services at vending sites  waste pickers: equipment & infrastructure services, such as sorting-storage sheds & compacting machines  all: financial & business development services + affordable public transport  Participation  all: organization + representation in policy-making & rule-setting institutions
  19. 19. INCLUSIVE CITIES FOR THE URBAN WORKING POOR: KEY ENABLING CONDITIONS  Guiding Principle: elected city officials and local administrators need to engage positively with informal workers to explore mutual solutions.  Platforms: several types of platforms can serve as a mechanism for ensuring productive engagements between cities and urban informal workers.  Information Sharing Platforms - space for sharing information and discussing common interests on a regular basis between urban informal workers, government authorities, and NGOs, researchers, and academics.  Dialogue Platforms – facilitated dialogues between workers and government officials for building awareness/understanding  Negotiating Platforms - space for negotiation between urban informal workers and government authorities on specific issues with authority to make agreements  Necessary Inputs:  capacity-building activities to help strengthen the advocacy capacity of membership- based organizations (MBOs) of urban informal workers = Voice  research, statistics and documentation to provide the information necessary to support informed decision-making at the city level = Visibility Note: these platforms, and the inputs into them, are the core methods of the WIEGO Focal City approach: successfully developed and tested in Lima, Peru and Accra, Ghana and now being expanded to Bangkok, Thailand and Delhi, India.
  20. 20. POLICY VICTORIES FOR STREET VENDORS, MARKET TRADERS & MARKET PORTERS: ACCRA, GHANA  WIEGO research ► advocacy with/for organizations of informal workers:  occupational, health and safety  law and informality  Informal Economy Monitoring Study  Informal Economy Budget Analysis  2000+ head porters (Kayayei) registered at a subsidized rate in the Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme  Dialogue Platform established for informal worker leaders/organizations to engage with city authorities on an on-going basis►1000+ street vendors/market traders engaged with city authorities on key policy issues  Accra Metropolitan’s expenditures relating to street vendors/market traders rose from 0.9 per cent in 2012 to 4.3 per cent in 2014.
  21. 21. LEGAL VICTORIES FOR STREET VENDORS: DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA  City informal economy policy and programme in inner Durban/eThekwini (1999-2007) – provided dedicated space, infrastructure (shelter, walkways), technical support to street vendors and other informal workers  Asiye eTafuleni (AeT) founded by two ex-city employees to provide design, legal and other support to 6-7,000 street vendors in Warwick Junction (2008)  Legal Resources Center, at request of AeT and with support from WIEGO among others, filed 2 successful cases against city plans to build a mall in the middle of Warwick Junction (2009)  Legal Resources Center, again at request of AeT and with support from WIEGO, filed successful case to challenge power of municipality to confiscate and impound street vendor goods (2014-2015)
  22. 22. CLOSING REFLECTIONS  WIEGO is an action-research-policy network – our research team are all involved in coordinating programme activities – so we learn, as a network, through both action and research  WIEGO’s approach to knowledge generation  Inductive – building conceptual frameworks from ground realities  Descriptive – focusing on ground-level patterns and dynamics  Policy-Oriented – for use by organizations of informal workers in their on-going advocacy with dominant stakeholders  Capacity-Building Oriented – involving organizations of informal workers in research design and analysis
  23. 23. Thank You! Eager to Hear Your Questions & Comments!