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Press Statement on The Informal Economy Matters

PRESS STATEMENT ON INFORMAL ECONOMY MATTERS – 28 JUNE 2019

The following associations, representing workers in the informal economy throughout Zimbabwe, have formed an alliance under the theme “The Informal Economy Matters”.

  • Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA)
  • Bulawayo Vendors’ and Traders’ Associations (BVTA)
  • Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ)
  • Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders’ Association (ZCBTA)

The objective of the alliance is to obtain recognition of and respect for the informal economy as a key component of Zimbabwe’s national economy and to promote the rights of workers in the informal economy.

In pursuing this objective the alliance has prepared a Declaration on Recognition of, Respect for and Participation of the Informal Economy . The Declaration calls for: 

  • A complete halt to the harassment and criminalisation of informal economy workers such as vendors and traders, and particularly to the  destruction of their livelihoods.
  • Partnership with local authorities for the provision of appropriate facilities and trading areas for vendors and traders, that give them access to their customers and markets.
  • Inclusion of representatives of the informal economy in all policy making bodies where policies affecting informal economy are  made.
  • Development by Government of a national strategy on the informal economy that recognizes its economic and social importance to the nation.

In pursuit of this agenda the alliance will be organising stakeholder dialogue forums with invited stakeholders over the next six months, covering seven key themes:

i.   Respect for and Recognition of the Informal Economy.

ii.  Development of Linkages between the Informal Economy and Formal Business

iii. Market Access and Infrastructure

iv.  Formalisation

v. Financial Inclusion

vi. Social Protection

vii. Devolution

The objective of these forums will be, through dialogue and mutual understanding among key stakeholders, to develop an overall and comprehensive national policy framework on the informal economy for submission to the Government.

The alliance is also working with the International Labour Organisation on formalisation and decent work, including issues of harassment in the workplace. The President of ZCIEA, Ms Lorraine Sibanda (Ndlovu), who is also the President of Streetnet International, addressed the Plenary of the 108th Session of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva on the 14th of June 2019 where she reiterated that the informal economy must be respected in the work it does in strengthening national economies. She also emphasized that the problem of violence and harassment in the workplace has a particular application to informal economy workers, whose workplace is frequently the street or an open market. 

StreetNet International represents over half a million street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers organised in 52 affiliate organisations in 48 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe.

The Convention concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work was adopted at this Session by 439 votes to 7. The Zimbabwean Government delegation voted in support of the Convention, which clearly states that it applies to both the informal and formal economies.

The Informal Economy has two major statements to make:

“The Informal Economy must be at the table, not on the table”

“Nothing for us without us”

 

 

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