chapter  11
17 Pages

Street trading in Africa: Demographic trends, planning and trader organisation


Street trading is a core component of the informal economy across the African continent. This chapter critically analyses what is known about this phenomenon. First urbanisation, migration and economic development trends are reviewed and the available data on street traders reflected. The evidence suggests that there has been a surge in the numbers of street traders, partly caused by structural adjustment processes and this is and will continue to be exacerbated by the 2008/2009 global financial crisis. Section 2 critically analyses trends in policy, planning and governance. Research on the issue suggests that state responses to street trading form a continuum from violent sustained evictions to an inclusive approach, but that an inclusive approach is rare. What is clear from this, is that the processes of incorporation or exclusion of street traders is part of everyday political struggle. The ways in which street traders are organised, articulate their concerns and wield power, is therefore critical. Section 3 thus focuses on trends in street traders’ organisations. Although there are promising examples of street trader organisation, existing evidence suggests that many traders are not part of organisations. The conclusion makes the case for including street traders into urban planning.