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Theme: Informal Economy
South África Industrious migrants are an opportunity for South Africa Weekend Argus . (10 January 2016)

Mean Streets book coverMean Streets: Migration, Xenophobia and Informality in South Africa, edited by Jonathan Crush, Abel Chikanda and Caroline Skinner, power¬fully demonstrates that some of the most resourceful entrepreneurs in the South African informal economy are migrants and refugees. Yet far from being lauded, they take their life into their hands when they trade on South Africa’s “mean streets”. This book draws attention to what they bring to their adopted country through research into previously unexamined areas of migrant entrepreneurship. Ranging from studies of how migrants have created agglomeration economies in Jeppe and Ivory Park in Johannesburg, to guanxi networks of Chinese entrepreneurs, to competition and cooperation among Somali shop owners, to cross-border informal traders, to the informal transport operators between South Africa and Zimbabwe, the chapters in this book reveal the positive economic contributions of migrants. These include generating employment, paying rents, providing cheaper goods to poor consumers, and supporting formal sector wholesalers and retailers. As well, Mean Streets highlights the xenophobic responses to migrant and refugee entrepreneurs and the challenges they face in running a successful business on the streets.  For further details see African Books Collective.

Cape Town South África City's informal sector vital to reducing poverty Weekend Argus . (10 January 2016)
By Morris, Michael.

The scale of  Cape Town’s informal economy – and its impact on poverty reduction – is significant. The city’s latest Economic Performance Indicators for Cape Town report showed that between April and June last year, 161,000 individuals (11.3 percent of  the total workforce) were employed in the informal sector.

World Migration Report 2015 International Organization for Migration . (1 January 2015)

Abstract: The World Migration Report 2015: Migrants and Cities, New Partnerships to Manage Mobility ─ the eighth report in IOM’s World Migration Report (WMR) series ─ focuses on how migration and migrants are shaping cities and how the life of migrants is shaped by cities, their people, organizations and rules. Over 54 per cent of people across the globe were living in urban areas in 2014. The number of people living in cities will almost double to some 6.4 billion by 2050, turning much of the world into a global city. Human mobility and migration play an important part in this but are largely missing from the global debate on urbanization. Many city and local governments also still do not include migration or migrants in their urban development planning and implementation. The report aims to address this gap by considering migration as a defining factor alongside climate change, population growth, demographic change and economic crisis in shaping sustainable cities of the future.

Want Economic Growth? Lessen Inequality Inter Press Service . (12 December 2014)
By McKenzie, A.D..

For years, many policy makers, including economists, have clung to the belief that if states do nothing to boost income equality, market forces will cause wealth to trickle down to the poorest citizens and contribute to overall growth.

 A new World Bank report, Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, found that most young people in Africa will seek work in the informal economy.

“While the formal sector—with its larger firms and structured wage jobs—will eventually become Africa’s biggest employer, the majority of people in African countries—nearly 80 percent—work in the informal sector…, often for very low earnings. This sector will continue to employ the majority of young people.

“The informal sector has been historically neglected,” said Louise Fox, co-author of the report, former World Bank Lead Economist and currently Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “Young people, including in rural and semi-urban areas, tend to seize opportunities when they can.  The report argues that scaling up support to access those opportunities is essential.”

United States The Underground Recovery The New Yorker . (29 April 2013)
By Surowiecki, James.

"Measuring an unreported economy is obviously tricky. But look closely and you can see the traces of a booming informal economy everywhere."