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Abstract

This study examines border market and its health implications for Seme border residents. The development of border markets, and their transformation is traceable to the influx of migrants and huge cross-border activities. The border markets have become sanctuaries for miscreants, criminal elements, and human traffickers. Studies have focused attention on the criminality and boundary dispute at the border without giving much research attention to the border markets, traders, effect of infiltration of fake drugs and its health implications. The socio-ecological theory was adopted as the theoretical orientation. The methodology involve the use of primary data which include: participant observation, in-depth interview (10) and Focus Group Discussion (5). Analysis of collected data was done through content analysis with the aid of NVIVO Software. The border market in Seme is largely due to the porosity of the border which encourages influx of goods through both legal and illegal routes, health consequences of which include, high rate of morbidity due to fake drugs, increase insecurity, loss of traditional norms and values, high crime rate, and lack of social infrastructure. These deserve urgent government policy attention to eradicate these societal menaces.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

Artisans form a large percentage of the workforce in the informal sector of Nigeria’s economy and the importance of their activities to the growth of the economy cannot be overemphasized. This research investigates the business networking among Auto-artisans in Ibadan, Nigeria. It specifically examines the formation of Mechanic Villages in Ibadan, the structure of the selected Mechanic Villages, and the context of business networking among Auto-artisans in those selected mechanic villages. It reveals that Auto-artisan villages are integral to economic sustenance, environmental pollution reduction and social networking in Ibadan. Auto-artisans adopt Associational networking to enhance economic problems solution. However, inadequate knowledge of advanced automobile technology, non-availability of modern equipment and spare parts are their major challenges to the artisans. Political instability, epileptic electricity supply, non-availability of water and congestion in mechanic villages also deter activities in Mechanic villages. The study uncovers the interplay of the artisans and partisan politicians; Politicians need the auto-mobile informal sector for elections while auto-mobile artisans need the politicians for suitable policies to ensure the sustenance of mechanic village location. The business networking, along with internal hierarchical organization and urbanization are the major factors embedded in survival of artisans as well as mechanic villages in Ibadan.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

Coconut oil production is a major industry in the Nigerian informal sector. Coconut oil production is a profitable venture and a major employer of informal labour. Badagry is a major coconut oil-producing community in Nigeria, and its produce are sold both locally and internationally. The study, therefore, examined the production process, marketing networks and challenges of the coconut industry in Badagry, Nigeria. Data were collected through observation, 8 key informant interviews and 37 in-depth interviews. The production of coconut oil goes through three different stages including materials preparation, milk extraction and oil extraction. Despite its vibrancy, the industry is still limited by manual production and simple machinery. The marketing networks of coconut oil production are largely based on the family system and traders’ association. The traders have attempted to modernise sales through product labelling and packaging, and social media adverts. The major challenges of the industry include raw material shortages, poor capital, poor machinery and work-induced health challenges. The producers cope through mutual and associational dependence, and they also augment raw materials by importing coconut from Ghana, Togo and other countries along the West African coast.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

The informal economy has consistently been celebrated for its contributions to global employment and development. However, its workers are faced with decent work problems which tend to get worse in times of adversity due to their insufficient buffers against personal and global shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic. While empirical knowledge could be helpful in understanding and addressing decent work challenges among informal workers amidst the pandemic, empirical research in this area is limited. Hence, we empirically assessed informal workers’ decent work experience during the Covid-19 pandemic by integrating differing theoretical perspectives, and using two focus group discussions involving twenty (20) Ghanaian informal workers. The results show that informal workers’ perception of decent work is driven by adequate income and survival; fulfilling and meaningful work; autonomy and control; social recognition and mobility; and health, safety and wellbeing. It further reveals that the pandemic has depleted the features of work that are most valuable to informal workers, leading to low decent work experience. These findings therefore call for the enrichment of informal work with key instrumental (economic) and intrinsic (psycho-social) attributes to improve informal workers’ decent work experience. Consequently, this research advances the limited informal decent work scholarship generally and specifically amidst a global pandemic, and further fills empirical voids on informal decent work in Ghana.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

Tricycle transportation business popularly known in Nigeria as Keke Marwa was a male-dominated sector. Although tagged a tough business terrain, women have embraced the wheels of the tricycle as a means of livelihood. Emergence of female riders is steadily changing with increased participation by women in the sector. Using an exploratory cross-sectional research design and deploying the qualitative method of data collection, the study investigated the movement of women into the transportation system inspite of the brawns and physical power of men in the informal employment system. Employing the purposive and the snowball sampling methods, data were obtained through In-Depth Interviews (IDI) from 16 female Keke Riders and 2 male park managers in Ibadan North Local Government. Data obtained were content analyzed. Study found that female Keke Marwa riders have defied the odds in the patriarchal male-ordered transportation, increase participation in the masculine space, sector of the economy to beat rising poverty and unemployment in Nigeria, and thus take on the breadwinner role in their households. The perception of the female Keke Marwa operators has been nothing but encouraging as they attract stares and comments from the public who are excited by the courage to challenge the status quo.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

The informal sector accounts for a large share of employment in Togo. However, very little is known about its main determinants in the country. This study aims at filling this gap. The main objective of the study is to analyse the determinants of informal employment in Togo. Specifically, the study seeks to answer two questions: Firstly, does education enable one to escape informal employment in Togo? Secondly, are women more likely to participate in informal employment than men? To achieve these objectives, a logit model is used, given the dichotomous nature of the dependent variable. This study used data from the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) project implemented in Togo in 2015 by the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP). Using a logit model, the main results showed that primary education level increases the odds of being employed in the informal sector, while secondary and university levels reduce the odds of being employed in the informal sector. The effect of university education is larger than that of secondary education. Women are more likely to work in the informal sector than men. The same is true for rural residents. Based on these results, policy recommendations are proposed.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

The pervasiveness of information and communication technologies has led to the emergence of a new system of informal employment known as the digital gig economy. Paucity of literature on the low- and medium-income nations has led to a number of research efforts. Nevertheless, the heterogeneity of experiences, practices and labour processes within gig economies all over the world calls for more specific studies. The present study, focusing on Nigeria, investigated current state of the country’s gig economy and the experiences of digital gig workers, also known as digital freelancers. To achieve the objective of the study, sixteen gig workers were selected through the snow-ball technique. In-depth interview was carried out. Thematic analysis, word cloud visualisation and sentiment analysis of transcribed responses were done. The study, among others, shows that gig economy is emerging in Nigeria, it is beneficial yet very challenging. Policy recommendations for sustaining and improving the economy were suggested. These include among others, a call on Nigerian government, law enforcement agencies and adults in Nigeria to become open to and understudy the global revolution of the present information age so as to encourage positive exploitation of the Internet medium while at the same time curtailing its detrimental use.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

The growing number of graduates in Nigeria has exacerbated the mismatch between the supply of qualified individuals and the availability of white-collar jobs. Through empirical data gathered from selected states in Southwestern Nigeria, this chapter investigates three main areas: the types of informal sector work engaged in by graduates in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, and Osun states; the factors that push and pull graduates towards informal sector involvement in these states; and the real trajectories, ramifications, experiences, and outcomes for graduates in the informal sector. The findings of this study show that graduate artisans in the selected states are majorly engaged in tailoring/fashion design, photography, hairdressing, catering/confectionery, and painting. The push factors for graduates engaging in informal sector businesses were the desire for independence, the sole source of survival, and the inability to secure formal employment. The major factors that pulled graduates into artisanal occupations were the desire to build a business enterprise, create wealth, change social status, exhibit innovation, and develop talents. The study also found high satisfaction levels among graduates in the informal sector.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

Economic barriers remain the main challenge facing households regarding healthcare access in Burkina Faso. Universal health coverage is yet to be extended to the majority of the population, especially the most vulnerable. Furthermore, access to community-based health insurance has been so far impeded by the financial challenges facing households to contribute. Yet, public health policy performances depend on the quantity and quality of health information. In case of epidemic outbreak, apart from mass testing, the standard sources of health information for decision-making are based on populations’ demand for healthcare services. This paper analyses the state of the economic determinants of this demand. The results of these analyses provide the basis for the evaluation of the impact of the economic situation of households on the government of Burkina Faso’s response to the COVID-19. The data used for the analysis come from two main sources. Firstly, a systematic documentary review of macro macroeconomic policy and social security regimes in the country has been conducted. Secondly, a survey of the economic living conditions of 503 households in Ouagadougou is conducted. The analysis uses a conceptual lens drawn from classical sociological analysis of public problems, which provided the framework for the qualitative analysis. The paper argued that the dependence of public policy process on information constituted some constraints for government effective response to the pandemic to the extent that the macroeconomic context and the households’ economic circumstances stand as barriers to households’ access to health services - through which further information on the population could have been gained, in the absence of mass systematic testing. The results show that households have been resilient to the chock caused by the pandemic. From 2014 health policy measures started to reverse the trend in government’s interventions in healthcare access that mitigated the negative impacts of several decades of privatization of healthcare services. Recent policy measures facilitated healthcare access for children aged less than five years and pregnant women, thus reducing households’ health expenditures. Furthermore, the households in the informal sector suffered less from the restrictions due to the covid-19, as they benefited from the increase in domestic demand for goods and services in some of the branches of the economy.

In: The African Informal Economy

Abstract

Access to credit has remained a major challenge in most developing countries and most especially the informal sector which has been described as very risky and ‘unbankable’ by modern financial institutions. However, the informal traditional economic system has remained resilient despite the scarcity of credit from formal financial institutions and has had to depend on the informal financial providers like the indigenous usury lenders known in Yoruba society as Olowo Ele. This study focused on the relations between contemporary usurers and their trader-clients, who exchange goods and services within the traditional African marketplace. The study was conducted in urban Ibadan while the interviewees were known usury lenders and traders within three prominent markets within urban Ibadan. Using in-depth interview and sampling techniques, 10 usury lenders and 30 trader-lendees were selected. Data were collected using a specifically designed interview guide and responses were codified using content and interpretative analysis techniques. The study discovered that the social relations between the lenders and their clients are premised on the interpretative understanding that the lender is providing financial assistance, known as aanu to their clients- the traders. The traders have also come to accept this interpretation as right despite the supposed high and exploitative cost of the loans. This interpretation can be rationalized based on availability and accessibility with the moral obligation to repay the loan as and when due. Repayment builds confidence and the possibility of future transactions.

In: The African Informal Economy