Zimbabwe’s Informal Sector Unites Ahead of Presidential Elections

July 15, 2018

Despite accounting for 94% of Zimbabwe’s workforce and ranking as the 2nd largest informal sector in the world, members of the informal economy in Zimbabwe remain poorly represented in the country’s political system. Ahead of the much-anticipated presidential election on July 30, 2018, the Center for Private International Enterprise (CIPE) partnered with the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) to organize town hall meetings with informal workers and major political parties across the country. These meetings have enabled informal sector workers to share concerns and pushed political candidates take their needs into consideration.

Of the four major parties, a CIPE representative remarked that “none…appear to have any clear policy or idea with what to do with the informal economy.” At the town halls, workers expressed frustration with outdated laws being used to criminalize informal sector workers and subjugate them to harassment from local authorities. Now that all town halls have concluded, CIPE and ZCIEA plan to use the recommendations made in the meetings to draft an agenda on the informal economy for the new government. With upcoming elections marking the first since the resignation of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, event organizers are optimistic: “It is a result of that democratic space that we’ve managed to do the town hall meetings, that we’ve managed to bring all these different political candidates and also tell them our demands.” Click here to read more about how the informal sector intends to engage in Zimbabwe’s politics.