Poverty Reduction & Informal Economy

A3-52098: Poverty Reduction Strategies and the Informal Economy Inter-Regional Workshop for Trade Unions from Asia and Africa

The Workshop A3-52098 on “Poverty Reduction Strategies and the Informal Economy” will seek to: a) Strengthen unions’ capacities for promoting a Decent Work development paradigm that reduces poverty and deals with the informal economy; b) Evaluate PRSs and formulate trade union policies to reduce poverty; c) Promote understanding of ILO’s International Labour Standards, the Global Jobs Pact, and policies for promoting Decent Work; d) Develop trade union policies and strategies for organizing unorganised workers; e) Provide the opportunity for trade unionists from Asia and from Africa to share experiences and strategies on how they are dealing with poverty reduction and informalisation in their respective regions


This workshop will address two interrelated themes namely, poverty reduction strategies and trade union strategies regarding the informal economy.

The first part of the workshop will deal with Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRSs). In the autumn of 1999, the Bretton Woods institutions undertook a policy shift and initiated the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) process. With the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations in 2000, poverty reduction became the main international development goal. Both the World Bank and the IMF made the adoption of PRSs a condition for concessional aid to the world’s poorest countries. Similarly, bilateral donors, made poverty reduction a key instrument of their donor aid. Several governments, including those who were not engaging in the PRS process, implemented policies addressed at reducing extreme poverty, social exclusion and informalisation.

Since 1999, a total of 67 African, Asian, Eastern European and Latin American countries have engaged in different phases of the World Bank and IMF’s PRSs. After ten years of these poverty reduction strategies, it is time to take stock of the policies that have been implemented, what has been achieved and what the future challenges are. This analysis will be made in the light of the current global economic and social crisis.

The second part of the workshop will deal with one of the consequences of impoverishment, namely, the informal economy. Based on an analysis of the state and causes of informalisation in Asian and in Africa, as well as the ILO’s international labour standards, the workshop will devote itself to reflecting on trade union strategies on informalisation. Particular attention will be paid to the situation of unprotected and unorganised workers operating in conditions of informalisation. The challenge of organising unprotected workers will be the main object of attention. This part of the workshop will draw from concrete examples of organising strategies employed by trade unions in Asia and in Africa.

Based on the ILO’s Decent work agenda, the Global Jobs Pact as well as ILO International Labour Standards, deliberations during the workshop will then conclude on the policy and organising framework needed to ensure an inclusive and poverty reducing development model that create more and better formal economy jobs.


Mr Arun Kumar, Senior Programme Officer/Activities Manager-Asia Pacific Workers Education Programme, ACTRAV-Turin

Tel: +39 11 693 6111

Ms Christine Nathan, Senior Specialist in Workers’ Education, ILO-Bangkok

Tel: +66 2 288 1764