From the desk of the Chairman of the Informal Economy Development Forum (IEDF), David Venter, on the launch of the Informal Economy Build Back Better (IEBBB) Campaign.

“South Africa remains a dual economy with one of the highest, persistent inequality rates in the world. High inequality is perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion and the nature of economic growth which is not pro-poor and does not generate sufficient jobs.” – World Bank April 14, 2022

We, South Africa, are facing our highest unemployment rate to date, with unemployment amongst youth, ages 15 – 24, forecasted to reach a shocking 68% by 2023. We can no longer sit idly by demanding Government to resolve this looming catastrophe alone.

To change the above narrative, we must seek collaboration and work together in a synergised approach, with one ultimate objective, job creation.

In 2015, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which South Africa is a member to, formulated and released Recommendation 204 which is aimed at the Formalisation of the informal economy.  It reads:

“Members should ensure that an integrated policy framework to facilitate the transition to the formal economy is included in National development strategies or plans as well as in poverty reduction strategies and budgets, taking into account, where appropriate, the role of different levels of government”.

As the IEDF, we agree with the recommendation, however, the involvement of Corporate SA as a key strategic partner to the formalisation process of the informal economy, has been omitted.

It is the responsibility of the local government to ensure a conducive and stable trading environment is created. It is not their responsibility to ensure the business is profitable.

Profit is the only key to achieving sustainable compliance in small and micro enterprises. This is where Corporate SA, through the provision of their products, services and Enterprise Development support programs to the informal sector, play a vital role in assisting informal businesses reaching profitability.

The collective economic development strategy between the Informal Economy, Government and Corporate SA, will create more profitable formal businesses rising out of the informal economy, and create greater opportunities for formal employment.  Together, this approach will render positive employment results never seen before.

The launch of the Informal Economy Build Back Better campaign (IEBBB) is the coming together of Informal economy leaders from South Africa’s largest sector specific informal sector member-based organisations. This symbolises an historic moment in time, where the sleeping giant, termed the Informal Economy, has arisen, and will lead this integrated approach together with Government and Corporate SA, towards wealth creation for all its stakeholders, resulting in new jobs.