Time for a New Deal: Social Dialogue and the Informal Economy in Zambia

War on Want
  • Place of Publication: London
  • Publisher: War on Want

This article examines how informal economy organizations in Zambia have managed to engage in social dialogue with local and central government. The three organizations studied are the Cross Border Trader Association (CBTA), the Lusaka Informal Traders’ Association (LITA) and the Zambia National Marketeers’ Association (ZANAMA). The paper also introduces the Tripartiate Labour Council, where the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) represents workers. However, representation of informal workers has been rather weak, facilitated by Alliance for Zambia Informal Economy Associations, an affiliate of the ZCTU.
The CBTA has about 35 000 members in the Lusaka region. It has been welcome by the local authorities, as it helps in managing informal trading in the city. It has also been lobbying to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, and claims to have a good ‘partnership’ with the ministry. LITA, an organization that represents street traders in Lusaka, has had less positive experiences of negotiating with the government. The government does not allow street trading in the city and is therefore unwilling to negotiate with LITA. However, the organization has had some success in negotiating for rights to trade from specific kiosks. ZANAMA organizes market traders across Zambia. It has been negotiating market stall levies and organizing non-compliance campaigns amongst the traders. The initial approach was rather confrontational, but since the organization has earned respect from the government, it has been able to focus more energy on negotiations.

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