A World Bank chief economist’s take on informality and employment in Africa

Informal vendors sell fruits at periphery of Kaneshie Market, Accra, Ghana.

“Most Africans, the ones in rural areas as well as people in the urban areas, are in the informal sector. And there is a reason for that: they cannot afford to be unemployed. Most of the unemployed in Africa are people with secondary school degrees, who have finished secondary school or even university. They are the ones who can actually afford to sit around and wait for jobs because their families can support them.”

Shantanayan Devarajan, Chief Economist for the World Bank’s Africa division, speaks to Think Africa Press and refers to the level of informality in African countries. He also adds his take to areas of growth for the continent, including investing in agriculture and more rigorous statistics (data) to monitor development. He also attempts to defend the role of the Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the role of structural adjustment programs and the continent’s economic growth.


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