The EU funded, Research, Network and Support Facility (RNSF), has recently ended. It has left an impressive body of research on the informal economy that should provide essential insights and policy considerations on this complex development issue for long to come.
The informal economy can be broadly defined as comprising all workers – both wage earners and self-employed – who lack formal contracts, do not have social protection and do not pay work-related taxes. In countries where formal jobs are scarce, women, migrants and other vulnerable groups of workers who are excluded from other opportunities have little choice but to take informal low-quality jobs.
They are therefore exposed to a range of risks and loss of income (illnesses, work-related accidents, maternity, etc.), increasing their vulnerability.
The informal economy comprises half to three-quarters of all non-agricultural employment in developing countries. Therefore, having these workers excluded from social protection systems increases their individual vulnerability, but also undermines the economy as a whole
Developing solutions for this vulnerable group of workers
RNSF throughout its four years of activity, produced research on how to create an improved enabling environment for informal workers and increase decent work and business growth in the informal sector.
RNSF also created and nurtured an active network and produced a range of research on how to create an improved enabling environment for informal workers and increase decent work and business growth in the informal sector. A group was created on Capacity4Dev both as a knowledge-sharing platform and as a Community of Practice, which connected 191 members, collected a total of 505 resources and hosted over 310 discussions, serving as a valuable resource for those working on the informal economy.
An E-learning course was produced to provide EU staff with essential knowledge on how to tackle the informal economy. The course can be found here on DEVCO Academy (a DEVCO Academy sign in is required).
Overall the facility produced an impressive and comprehensive range of learning and knowledge products, that include:
- A Reference Guide to the Outputs of a Research on the Informal Economy, which can be found here.
- Defining the Informal Economy, provides an overview of definitions, context and statistical figures for more than 90 countries, find it here.
- Policies on the Informal Economy: A Global Review, is an analysis of the main policies and approaches adopted to tackle the informal economy, find it here.
- Learning from Experience, analyses good Practices and lessons learnt from a range interventions, which can be found here.
- Extending coverage: Social protection and the informal economy. Experiences and ideas from researchers and practitioners, presents the results of a regional workshop held in Kenya, presenting recommendations, innovative ideas and approaches on social protection and the informal economy, find it here.
- #InformalTalks, is a series of webinars on the informal economy, you can find the five webinars on topics such as organising informal workers, social protection and good practices, find them here.
- A series of thematic briefs, were produced on topics ranging from micro-finance and credit, youth, entrepreneurship, gender, migration and advocacy, you can find the briefs here.