How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Affect Informal Workers. Insights From Kenya

Vendors in a market. Billy Miaron/Shutterstock

COVID-19 is going to have a devastating impact on economies. Africa has a particular vulnerability because so many people work in the informal sector. In an interview with Moina Spooner from The Conversation Africa, Njeri Kinyanjui explains how this could unfold for Kenya’s informal labourers and whether there’s anything that can be done to support them.

How many people in Kenya’s work force are informal workers and what type of work do they do?

The informal sector thrives in Kenyan rural and urban centres. According to 2015 estimates there were 11.8 million people employed in the informal economy, against 2.4 million working in the formal sector. By 2018 the informal sector accounted for 83.6% of total employment.

But we can’t be sure of these numbers. There are no accurate statistics on how many people work in the informal economy. The figures are estimates which governments and international development organisations reach by excluding workers employed in the modern formal sector and those in small-scale farming. The methodology is in line with what multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund recommend. Read more…

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