Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tanzania depends on informal economy

Some sensible talk from East Africa. A columnist in The Citizen, a paper from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, notes how much the country depends on machingas--the local patois for informal traders and street hawkers.
Money Quote: It’s an undisputed fact that both Machingas and peasant farmers play a considerable role within the economy, from the personal and household to the national and international levels. Whatever is said to the contrary by detractors and others with vested interests of one kind or another, Machinga activity brings sustenance to untold millions of otherwise ‘jobless’ youths and their dependents countrywide. They form an important component of the informal economy, accounting for around a third of the greater Economy – whose total real GDP is $22bn, and employs 22 per cent of the workforce. In the event, it’s most distressing to see municipal ‘law enforcement officers’ harassing petty traders and destroying or carting away their merchandise to ‘destinations unknown, fate indeterminable!’

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