DW AngolaInformal Economy

Informal Economy

The breadth of Angola’s “informal sector”—and its role in the lives of most Angolans— cannot be overstated. Throughout the vast urban musseques of peri-urban Luanda in which approximately 1 in 3 Angolans currently reside, essential services — such as water, food, fuel and transport — are provided largely through private initiative in the informal sector. Moreover, Developmet Workshop research has shown, for most Angolans land has been obtained through informal mechanisms. Notably this is not only the case in rural communities where customary legal practices prevail, but is also the case for the overwhelming majority of Angola’s rapidly growing urban population.

The informal sector grew during the conflict years and in the capital city of Luanda alone was estimated to employ 37% of the entire country’s labour force in 1998, justifying the assessment at the end of the war, in a 2002 UNDP report that “Luanda has become the largest laboratory for survival strategies in the world.” In Luanda strategically-sited urban marketplaces are linked to dozens of smaller satellite markets and eventually street sellers—and dominate the wholesale and retail trade, serving as both a distribution outlet for rural produce and the major source of imported and national products for urban consumers and rural traders alike.

Government policies have often excluded the poor by legislating against the informal sector. Colonial era city bye-laws have been resurrected to prohibit street trading and close down the large informal urban markets. Such policies run counter to the aims of the Government’s own Poverty Reduction Strategies. Policies have been enacted based on prejudice, no contextual investigation and little debate.

DW's research has provided basic baseline information about the informal market’s structural profile, as well as in-depth knowledge about the dynamics of informal peri-urban markets. DW aims to provide a comprehensive documentation and analysis of the Angolan informal economy and advocate for how it can be transformed in light of the new challenges and opportunities, potentially affecting the livelihoods of the millions of Angolans whose livelihoods depend upon it.


Roque Santeiro Informal Market - Informal Market World Atlas 2015

Wednesday, 1 July, 2015
The market of Roque Santeiro emerged as an important centre of the informal economy in Luanda in the 1980s as the government encouraged people who had begun to sell on street corners to move to what was, before 1985, a piece of waste ground and informal rubbish tip. Even then, though the government was not in favour of the growth of the informal economy it was unable to prevent it and felt that...

Carlos Kandov e Niza Roças - Associação dos Vendedores Ambulantes de Angola

Friday, 16 May, 2014
Na sexta feira do dia 16 de Maio de 2014 foi realizado nas Instalações do Escritório sede da Development Workshop, mais um espaço do Debate a sexta feira com o tema: Apresentação da Associação dos Vendedores Ambulantes de Angola (AJAVA), teve como apresentador o presidente da Associação o Senhor Carlos Kandov e a confudadora da associação a Senhora Niza Roças. Os espaço comessou com momentos de...

Mercados Informais de Terra Urbana e Microfinanças para Habitação em Angola

Monday, 13 May, 2013
NOVAFRICA, juntamente com o Centro de Pesquisa Econômica e Social da Faculdade de Economia da Universidade Agostinho Neto, realizou um workshop sobre mercados de habitação e urbanização na África sub-saariana. Aconteceu no dia 13 de Maio, na Aula Magna da Faculdade de Economia, que a Universidade Agostinho Neto em Luanda. Development Workshop diretor Allan Cain fez uma apresentação sobre "Mercado...

Luanda’s Post-War Land Markets: Reducing Poverty by Promoting Inclusion

Friday, 1 February, 2013
Author: Allan Cain. Published in Urban Forum (2013) 24:11–31. This paper presents the results of work on property markets in Luanda that permit a better understanding of the nature and economic value of land and identify the problems and potentials the market has to offer. The paper argues for a major reform in public land policy, recognising the legitimacy of common...

Angolan Informal Peri-Urban Water Sector Report

Wednesday, 3 June, 2009
This report is of a study of the informal water sector in Luanda in the post-war context. The research was an applied research project with a view to advocacy for improved Government water policy and practice so as to bring it more into line with the needs of poor consumers who fall outside the formal distribution network. The results of the research will inform programme planning and impact...

Post-Conflict Transformation in Angola’s Informal Economy Final Report

Tuesday, 2 June, 2009
This report is a description of the research carried out by Development Workshop, funded by IDRC, between September 2007 and June 2009. The report accompanies the reports of the three components of the research. Originally the programme was approved to start in September 2007 to March 2009, but Development Workshop Angola was granted a three-month no-cost extension to the research project, so...

Post-Conflict Transformation in Angola's Informal Economy 2007 - 2009

Monday, 1 June, 2009
From September 2007 to June 2009 Development Workshop has carried out its proposal to expand and build upon its experience of both sector-specific and broad baseline research to develop a comprehensive and cross-sector integrated study of the Angolan informal economy. More specifically this research programme has aimed to: significantly increase quantitative and qualitative understandings of...

Informal Trading in Luanda's Markets, Streets and at Home Report

Monday, 4 May, 2009
The informal trading economy began to develop in Luanda in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The second wave of returnees from the Congo/Zaire in the early 1980s appears to have played an important role in developing informal economic activities, along with former soldiers of the MPLA who had been based in countries to the north before 1975. The breakdown of the colonial economy and the failure...

Angolan Informal Rental Housing Market Report

Saturday, 2 May, 2009
p>To date, there has been no research done on rental housing in Angola and as this report will show, there is no government policy concerning rental housing, nor any legal framework. This report therefore provides a first effort to get an understanding of the magnitude and characteristics of rental housing in Luanda. Being a scoping study, this report will open as many questions as it will...

Angola's Post Conflict Informal Urban Economy - Narrative

Sunday, 30 September, 2007
Between 2007 and 2009 DW carried out a research program expanding and building upon its strong record of both sector-specific and broad baseline research to begin to develop a comprehensive and cross-sector integrated study of the Angolan informal economy. Knowledge about the Angolan informal economy remains fragmented and partial at best. While recent studies conducted (or collaborated in) by DW...

Studies on Scavenging in the Informal Rubbish Recycling Markets - 1997 & 2005

Wednesday, 31 August, 2005
In 1997, Development Workshop conducted a study on scavenging, a form of recycling waste. This study illustrated that scavenging was a strong income-generating activity for many of Luanda’s residents. In a follow-up to the 1997 research, DW’s 2005 Scavenger Study found that this informal economy remains active in post-war Luanda. While scavenging for food is still done in Luanda’s urban center,...

Scavenging Review in Luanda 2005 Final Report

Friday, 5 August, 2005
The 2005 DW Scavenger Study was conducted in August of 2005 and set out to examine whether scavenging still occurs in urban Luanda and on its periphery. While illustrating that scavenging activities have shifted to the periphery of the city, this report will also analyze the positions of ELISAL, urban waste management, VIDRUL, as well as multinational and domestic beverage manufacturers in terms...

Luanda Peri-Urban Gender & Household Profile Final Report

Monday, 1 July, 2002
This study presents quantitative and qualitative findings gathered in the peri-urban areas of Luanda from December 2001 to January 2002 by Development Workshop.  The study aimed to trace the profile of households encountered in the area with a particular attention to female-headed households.  The attention given to gender is due to the few existing studies in this area and the...

Scavenging Study in Luanda 1997 Final Report

Tuesday, 1 July, 1997
In July 1997 Development Workshop carried out a study on scavenging activities in the city of Luanda. The study was performed to gather concrete and accurate information on scavenging activities and to dispel misconceptions. No previous studies of this nature are known. The objective of the study was to identify which items are being scavenged, who is scavenging and under what circumstances,...

Women's Enterprise Development Programme Evaluation Report

Tuesday, 1 April, 1997
The present progect report is situated within the context of DW's Luanda Women's Enterprise Development Programme which is a micro-enterprise pilot programme using a participatory subsector approach within the informal sector of the Luanda. The programme focuses on peri-urban communities where the majority of the internally displaced live. The sub-sector focus was selected in hope that the two...

Economic Reintegration: Women Focused Family Survival Strategies Proposal

Wednesday, 1 January, 1997
The present progect proposal is situated within the context of DW's Luanda Women's Enterprise Development Programme which is a micro-enterprise pilot programme using a participatory subsector approach within the informal sector of the Luanda. The programme focuses on peri-urban communities where the majority of the internally displaced live. The sub-sector focus was selected in hope that the two...

Women's Peri-Urban Enterprise Development Project Fish Market Sub-Sector Study

Monday, 1 April, 1996
This report is the first component of the Women's Enterprise Development Project and uses a participatory sub-sector approach. The purpose of the research component is to determine interventions that will benefit women in the informal sector and to contribute to the information base on the informal sector. This study is a Participatory Sub-sector Analysis of the commercialization of fish...

Scoping Study: target group assessment for Women's Enterprise Development

Wednesday, 1 September, 1993
The target group analysis for the present project focuses on a group of thirty women entrepreneurs from the informal sector working and living in the district of N'Gola Kiluange, which is an urban musseque community in Sambizanga Municipality, located at 8km from the centre of Luanda. Before independence the area was zoned as an industrial district with a low density population. Today the...

Ngola Kiluanje: Report on Micro-Enterprise 1992

Tuesday, 1 September, 1992
Ngola Kiluanje, one of the administrative areas in the municipality of Sambizanga, is 8 km from the centre of Luanda on the main road north of the city. Before independence the area was primarily an industrial zone with a low density population. One long-time resident says that between 1972-73 there were small cultivated fields located in the area now known as Ngola Kiluanje. After the war...

Angola Country Gender Analysis 1991

Tuesday, 1 October, 1991
Contrary to the situation in other SADCC countries, there exist virtually no reports or documentation about gender aspects and their relations to the developments taking place in Angola. Rural women have a double workload with most agricultural and virtually all domestic tasks. This heavy workload plus poor maternal health have consequences for child nutritional status. New technologies which...