The informal economy plays a critical role in the lives of millions of individuals in both urban and rural settings across the globe. It provides livelihoods, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Initially regarded as a passing phenomenon, the informal economy has established itself as a significant contributor to the national economy.Broadly defined, the term informal economy refers to all economic activities by workers and economic units that are not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements and social protection. However, despite its importance, the informal economy sits uncomfortably within national policy in Zambia, and it has historically been excluded from social security coverage. Nearly all informal wage earners are excluded from the two largest social security schemes, National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Workers Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB). This raises troubling questions regarding the informal economy and social protection coverage in Zambia.Hence, the problem investigated was twofold: establish the nature and functionality of existing support organisations in the informal economy, with special reference to market traders' associations, and analyse market traders perspectives regarding the current social protection mechanisms to the informal economy with a view of proposing innovative social security policy intervention models that would be appropriate to the needs and circumstances of informal workers/market traders. The study sought to establish a baseline of existing informal economy support institutions and informal economy associations and examine the current social protection mechanisms to the informal economy with a view to proposing effective social security policy interventions that would sustain the informal economy workers.
The Document on the findings of the Baseline Study can be accessed here