Five facts about informal economy in Africa
Nearly eight out of ten employed persons in Sub-Saharan Africa were in vulnerable forms of employment. Accordingly, the vulnerable employment rate was estimated at 76.6 per cent in 2014.
- Second, according to the most recent estimates, non-agricultural employment in the informal economy represents 66 per cent of total employment in sub-Saharan Africa and 52 per cent in North Africa. Nearly eight out of ten employed persons in Sub-Saharan Africa were in vulnerable forms of employment. Accordingly, the vulnerable employment rate – the share of own-account workers and unpaid family workers in total employment – was estimated at 76.6 per cent in 2014, significantly higher than the global average of 45.3 per cent.
- Third, in most countries for which data disaggregated by sex are available, the share of women in informal employment in non-agricultural activities outnumbers that of men. In sub-Saharan Africa, 74 per cent of women’s employment (non-agricultural) is informal, in contrast with 61 per cent for men. Female vulnerable employment (typically unpaid family work) was also considerably higher than the rate for males, at 84.3 per cent compared with 70.1 per cent for males in 2014 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Fourth, informal employment is the standard condition among most youth in Sub-Saharan Africa where at least eight in ten young workers in all eight school-to work transition survey (SWTS) countries fall into the category of informal employment. The feminization of poverty, combined with discrimination by gender, age, ethnicity or disability, also means that the most vulnerable and marginalized groups tend to end up in the informal economy and this is especially the case for women and young people, who have no other choice than the informal economy for their survival and livelihood.
- Fifth, self-employment constitutes a greater share of informal employment (non-agriculture) than wage employment. It accounts for as much as 53 per cent of non-agricultural employment in sub-Saharan Africa and 31 per cent in North Africa.