When thinking about the term “informal economy”, photos like these often come to mind.
However, what’s often forgotten is that the coming – and current – generation of Africa’s informal economy are millennial digital natives – people who are passionate, hungry for experiences, educated and exposed to global trends. They have online tools and resources at hand that weren’t available to the generations preceding them.
“Informal” doesn’t mean “on the streets” anymore, synonymous with vulnerable and marginalised, but equal opportunities and environments that can give Africans the chance to achieve their ambitions, and social platforms like Mpesa, Facebook and Instagram to make it happen.
- Social Connectivity
- Communication Speeds
- Versatile Working
- Learning Opportunities
Digital platforms are making trading easier by encouraging financial and social inclusion, and leads to domestic growth across the continent. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) introduced in May 2019, was signed by all but three of Africa’s fifty-five nations, and is the largest free trade area in the world since the World Trade Organisation’s establishment in 1995. AfCFTA covers over 1.2 billion people, and over $3 trillion in GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
- Information Storage
- Accurate Duplication
- GPS and MappingTransportation
- Low Cost
World Bank statistics put intra-Africa trade at worth just $170 million in 2015, when the potential stands at trillions. The benefit of our growing population can help facilitate regional trade growth, especially since Africa is set to have the largest global workforce by 2035. Agreements like AfCFTA come at the right time to draw on this potential.