South Africa's Informal Sector in the Time of COVID-19

In the months to come, further data will emerge on the economic impacts of Covid-19. It is crucial that we gain as clear as possible a picture of how the informal sector has been affected by the pandemic. Policy responses will be required that start to give informal businesses the best possible opportunities to grow and become part of a more inclusive economic system. At the same time, however, we must be aware that, in the long term, access to formal employment may be the best way to improve the livelihoods of very many informal firm owners and employees, while any attempt to help small businesses will fail unless the economy as a whole gets onto a stronger footing and starts growing at an acceptable pace.