Organising on the edge
Caroline Elliot reports on a wave of grass-roots organising in sub-Saharan Africa bringing together workers in the informal economy
Anyone who has travelled in the global South will have experienced streets alive with the hustle and bustle of vendors and market traders, trying to sell you anything from drinks to second-hand clothes, from apples to electronics. Whether in the marketplace or on the streets, these workers form the basis of large and growing informal economies.
In November 2010 a unique gathering of such workers took place in Kitwe, Zambia. This meeting, funded by the Commonwealth Foundation and supported by War on Want, was the world’s first international conference run by street vendors for street vendors, and brought together organisations from Kenya, Malawi and Zambia.
The rise of the informal economy