Uniting the Global Informal Economy: Reflections from David Venter, President of the Informal Economy Development Forum

As we stand on the cusp of two monumental events—the South African International Trade Exhibition (SAITEX) and the Inaugural Informal Economy Global Summit 2024—it is a moment of profound significance for the informal economy worldwide. As President of the Informal Economy Development Forum, I am honored to share my reflections on these pivotal gatherings and the transformative potential they hold.

SAITEX has long been heralded as a beacon of opportunity for informal businesses, offering a gateway to global markets and partnerships. This year, as informal entrepreneurs prepare to showcase their talents and offerings on the international stage, the excitement is palpable. SAITEX represents more than just a trade exhibition; it embodies the aspirations and resilience of millions of informal workers striving for economic empowerment and recognition.

Amidst the buzz of SAITEX preparations, another milestone looms large: the Inaugural Informal Economy Global Summit 2024. This historic event signifies a turning point in our collective efforts to address the challenges and opportunities facing the informal economy. With Recommendation 204 as our guiding light, we have a framework for action—a blueprint for building a more inclusive and sustainable future for informal workers everywhere.

At the heart of both SAITEX and the Global Summit lies a shared commitment to empowerment, inclusion, and social justice. Whether we are forging partnerships with global buyers and investors at SAITEX or advocating for social protection and rights at the Summit, our goal remains the same: to amplify the voices and aspirations of informal workers and entrepreneurs on the world stage.

As we embark on this journey, let us remember the faces behind the statistics—the street vendors, artisans, and small-scale producers who form the backbone of the informal economy. Their ingenuity, resourcefulness, and resilience are the driving forces behind our collective efforts. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that they are not only seen and heard but also supported and empowered to thrive.

As President of the Informal Economy Development Forum, I am committed to championing the cause of informal workers and entrepreneurs around the globe. Together with our partners and stakeholders, we will work tirelessly to harness the momentum generated by SAITEX and the Global Summit to drive tangible change and create a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

In closing, let us seize this moment as an opportunity to unite, collaborate, and advocate for the rights and dignity of informal workers worldwide. Together, we can build a world where the informal economy is not only recognized but also celebrated as a vital engine of economic growth and social progress. The journey ahead may be challenging, but with determination, solidarity, and a shared vision, we can pave the way for a brighter tomorrow