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From street vendors to house-help to traders in open-air markets to subsistence farmers and fishermen, personal drivers, roadside barbers, small-scale manufacturers, and more, the informal economy accounts for over 70 per cent of total employment in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the sector is said to comprise ~38 per cent of the region’s GDP, more than double the figure for OECD countries.
Also, according to Deloitte’s 2015 African Powers of Retailing report, approximately 90 per cent of retail transactions in Africa occur through informal channels.
However, across the continent, the needs of participants in the informal sector remain largely under-served.
In this article, Lagos-based Executive Editor of Afridigest Emeka Ajene explores why the informal economy – coupled with the continent’s digital revolution – presents fertile ground for entrepreneurs and investors to create and capture value for and from this sizeable market segment with unique needs.