Photo: Amaury Laporte / Rachid H

Transforming livelihoods in the informal sector

Inception workshop to set out the research agenda and the modalities of the project going forward

The purpose of the workshop is to set out the research agenda and the modalities of the project going forward. The motivation of the project is the stylized fact that the size of the informal sector has not decreased and may even have increased in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with reasonably strong growth.

With ‘premature de-industrialization’ and the growth of the informal service sector, it seems likely that the trajectory towards informalization may be intensified in the future. So several research questions emerge from this phenomenon of pervasive informality in the low-income (and low-middle-income) countries.

Why do we see different patterns of informality across the developing world? What are the possibilities for sustainable livelihoods for self-employed households that form the bulk of informality? What are the gender implications of such pervasive informality? What do we know about the policy interventions that can contribute to livelihood enhancement for informal workers and households? How does informality interact with urbanization, and how does the rapid and unplanned growth of cities in Africa and South Asia deepen processes of informality? These are some of the indicative research questions, and there may be more questions that arise from the discussion in the workshop.