A consortium of Informal Economy associations is calling upon local authorities to adopt inclusive strategies in inclusive city planning and designing.
The call comes amid complaints raised by informal traders concerning random positioning of market spaces, shortages of storage space and lack of other supporting facilities such as ablutions. Some of the spaces reportedly do not have disability friendly facilities.
The absence of consultative mechanisms have impacted negatively on the relationship between informal traders and local authorities. The resultant relationship has been that of conflict between the local authorities’ law enforcement agents and informal traders as some traders do their trade in undesignated areas.
Inclusive planning will be effective in curbing illicit trade on pavements and at the same time minimise the harassment of informal traders.
The consortium of associations which include Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET), Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ), Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA), Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA), proposed an approach that would bring the local authority, traders and retailers together to come up with issues that simultaneously address issues of market access and infrastructure development.
The infrastructure can be tailor-made and serve as a cost-effective method of advertising.
The consortium also drew up an agenda for the informal economy under the title The Informal Economy Matters. This agenda included a Declaration on recognition of Respect for and Participation of the informal economy together with seven thematic areas in which policy should be developed to improve the informal economy in the country.