Safa Ashoub, Institutionalisation Advisor, from Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas moderates the Informal “Economy, Growth and Equity” session in the first Egypt Urban Forum.
In developing countries the informal economy plays a crucial role in providing diverse job opportunities that are more accessible to the labor market. On the one hand, the informal economy is an important survival strategy for the poor, while on the other hand, it is often regarded as troublesome as informal businesses evade taxes and operate outside of state control, which can also offer illegal activities.
The first part of the session covered the patterns of the street vendors in downtown and different informal areas. It was highlighted that the importance of the government role in developing and putting those markets into structure in order to reach a mechanism that all parties agrees on; merchants, people living in the area, and the government.
The second part covered the significant connection between the countryside and the urban regions and how both affects each other in a direct way starting from planting the seeds until the fruits and vegetables reach the people living in the urban regions. Also, the session covered the small and medium recycling business in Manshiet Nasser and the challenge this industry is facing regarding resources, better places to work and legalizing their work as well, and they raised the flag for the government in order to try and reach a solution for it as well.
The session ended with an open discussion between the panelists and the attendees which shed light on the importance of the topics discussed and how it affects different parties on different levels, and the proposed solutions proposed to solve these issues.