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The South African Informal Sector: Creating Jobs, Reducing Poverty

Frederick Fourie, editor
The South African Informal Sector: Creating Jobs, Reducing Poverty
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2534-3
2018/490 pages
Distributed for HSRC Press
"This volume embodies analytical excellence. I look forward to its impact on policymaking in South Africa and the world."—Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University


The outcome of a four-year research project, this collaborative work draws on both quantitative and qualitative evidence to demonstrate the contributions of South Africa's informal sector.

The informal sector provides a livelihood for some 2.5 million South Africans—one in every six South Africans who work. Informal enterprises with employees provide about 850,000 paid jobs, almost twice the direct employment in the mining sector. And these numbers continue to grow, despite obstacles and constraints.

It is clear, argue the authors, that there is a need for well-designed policies to support the sector, rather than suppress it—with recognizing it as an integral part of the economy a crucial first step.


Frederick Fourie is research fellow in the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of the Free State.


  • Foreword—Ravi Kanbur.
  • Analyzing the Informal Sector in South Africa—F. Fourie.
  • The South African Informal Sector in International Comparative Perspective—M. Chen.
  • The Informal Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa—K. Grabrucker et al.
  • The Size and Structure of the South African Informal Sector 2008–2014: A Labour-Force Analysis—M. Rogan and C. Skinner.
  • Informal-Sector Employment: An Enterprise Analysis Using the SESE Survey—F. Fourie.
  • Entry into and Exit from Informal Enterprise Ownership—N. Lloyd and M. Leibbrandt.
  • Job-Seeker Entry into the Two-Tiered Informal Sector—N. Makaluza and R. Burger.
  • The Informal Sector, Economic Growth, and the Business Cycle: Integrating the Sector into Macroeconomic Analysis—P. Burger and F. Fourie.
  • Informal-Sector Employment and Poverty Reduction—P. Cichello and M. Rogan.
  • Informal Micro Enterprises in a Township Context: A Spatial Analysis—A. Charman and L. Petersen.
  • Prospects for Stimulating Township Economies: A Case Study of Enterprises in Two Midrand Townships—E. Rakabe.
  • Limiting Opportunities in the Informal Sector: The Impact of the Structure of the Economy—K. Philip.
  • Informal-Sector Employment in the Rural Non-Farm Economy—D. Neves and A. du Toit.
  • Employment in Informal-Sector Agriculture—B. Cousins.
  • Evolving Policy Paradigms—F. Fourie.
  • Policy and Legislation: Repression, Omission, and Ambiguity—C. Skinner.
  • Enabling the Forgotten Sector—F. Fourie.
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