What's new

  1. Growth, economic structure and informality

    18 June 2022

    This paper explores the relationship between economic growth and informality and highlights the role of GDP growth and its composition in the level and evolution of informality, using country data from 1991 to 2019.

  2. Employment and labour market policies: Can they profit from new technologies?

    09 May 2022

    Accelerating digitalization and technological change are having a big impact on informal employment and public and private employment services. In this podcast, ILO Employment Policy Department experts Vicky Leung, Technical and Programme Officer in the Transition to Formality Unit and, Michael Mwasikakata, Head of the Labour Market Services for Transitions Unit explain how.

  3. E-formalization: The Colombian experience

    30 March 2022

    Background paper for the Global Employment Policy Review (GEPR), Second edition (forthcoming).


  1. The impact of COVID-19 on the informal economy

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Informal economy

The informal economy comprises more than half of the global labour force and more than 90% of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) worldwide. Informality is an important characteristic of labour markets in the world with millions of economic units operating and hundreds of millions of workers pursuing their livelihoods in conditions of informality.

The expression “informal economy” encompasses a huge diversity of situations and phenomena. Indeed, the informal economy manifests itself in a variety of forms across and within economies. Formalization process and measures aiming to facilitate transitions to formality need to be tailored to specific circumstances that different countries and categories of economic units or workers face.

The 2002 ILC Resolution and Conclusions on Decent Work and Informal Economy was a milestone in the ILO’s integrated approach to informality. Recommendation concerning the transition from the informal to the formal economy (R204) adopted by the International Labour Conference in June 2015, constitutes a historic landmark for the world of work as it is the first international standard focusing exclusively on the informal economy in its entirety.

DEVINVEST, in collaboration with the ILO Regional Offices and other technical units, is promoting integrated policy framework that facilitates the transitions from the informal to the formal economy through providing technical assistance to the ILO tripartite constituents on the development of such integrated policy framework based on social dialogue, policy oriented research and capacity building activities on the issue of facilitating transition to formality.


  1. © ILO / M. Crozet


    Global and Regional Knowledge Sharing Forums on Transition to Formal Economy

  1. Capacity building

    Learning series on the transition to formal economy

    • Course on measuring and monitoring informality (2016)
    • Course on designing an integrated policy framework for the transition to formal economy (20 - 24 June 2016)

  2. Capacity building

    Academy on transition to formal economy: Third edition