Monday, January 18, 2021

In Pictures: Behind the hawker hustle

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It’s thought that more than half of Africa’s GDP comes from the informal sector which accounts for around 80% of the labour force, many of them small traders. So should governments regulate traders? These vendors tell the BBC about their lives:

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Sandra Birabwa, 24, says people call her “Sandra Leggings” because of the time she spends criss-crossing the streets of Kampala, Uganda, selling clothing. She says she would like to set up her own shop, “but right now the rent is too high.” According to her, it is also very hard to get the licensing to work in the formal sector.

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But in many African countries there are growing calls for the informal sector to be regulated and taxed. Street vendors often find themselves clashing with the authorities, seeking to clear them off the streets, or with shop owners who feel the hawkers undercut their businesses.

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Cameroonian Peter Nkemashi dreamt of becoming a magistrate but his father couldn’t send him to school. He now has a kiosk in the capital, Yaounde. “I don’t really envy very rich people. I have enough for me and my family. That’s what I call a good life,” he told BBC Africa.

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Twenty-six-year-old Beauty Nyandoro who sells vegetables, wild fruits and mobile top-up cards in Harare, Zimbabwe. “Competition is tough because I sell close to a supermarket. I earn about $100 (£77) a month and I use that to support a family of three.”

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