Informal workers make up half the workforce of developing cities

Monday, June 4, 2018

By Eillie Anzilotti

In Kampala and other Ugandan cities, around 86% of the urban workforce is informally employed–that is, employed without legal and social protection either independently or by small, unregistered local enterprises. They might work as street vendors, waste pickers, construction workers, or artisans.

While they receive little or no recognition from local government or law enforcement (and what little they do receive is often negative), these informal workers make up the fastest-growing sector of Uganda’s economy. Currently, they account for 70% of the labor force, and produce 43% of the country’s gross domestic product. In other parts of the developing world, you see versions of these numbers: Around 80% of India’s urban workforce are informally employed.

These findings come from a new report from the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities that attempts to quantify the global informal economy and its impact on cities in the developing world. The study is part of a larger effort on the part of the nonprofit to investigate how cities in the developing world can grow responsibly–both ethically and environmentally–in the 21st century.

Photo courtesy of Leander Wattig.

Source: Fast Company (link opens in a new window)

global development, urban development