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Sharing Growth through Informal Employment in East and Southern Africa

Understanding why women are involved in small and micro-enterprise (SME) businesses in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda can help governments design policies to support this sector of the economy.

Most of the poor in Africa, especially women, are engaged in the informal economy, mainly through household-based activities. How this kind of informal employment contributes to economic growth is an important research priority for developing countries since little is known about the dynamics, constraints, and potential of informal enterprises and workers.

Research coordinated by the University of Zimbabwe's Department of Sociology will address such questions and develop recommendations on how to support SMEs in these countries. The University of Zimbabwe will partner with three universities in the region on the project.

Expected outcomes from the research include the collection of micro-level data for each country (using comparable methods, if possible), examination on the constraints facing SMEs, development of policy briefs and recommendations, and support to four master's-level students. This support involves training in research methods and exposure to international research through attendance at conferences.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Paul Okwi
Total Funding
CA$ 748,000.00
Employment and Growth
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
Project Leader
Donald Chimanikire
University of Zimbabwe