28.06.2017

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A report by FAO addresses informal trade in sub-Saharan Africa and provides a broad overview as well as policy recommendations. Informal trade is very common in sub-Saharan Africa, but differs from region to region.

Africa's vast but informal cross-border trade can contribute to improving livelihoods and increasing regional integration across the continent, according the report Formalization of informal trade in Africa published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in May 2017.
 
Informal cross-border trading, in which transactions are not compliant with local tax and other rules, accounts for a large share - between 20 and 70 per cent - of employment in sub-Saharan Africa, and putting it on a regular footing can lift sustainable prosperity and markedly improve prospects for women, says the report.
 
Around half of all intra-African cross-border trade is classified as informal, indicating its large if officially invisible role. Proactive policies that recognise such activity, tapping its potential with the aim of steering it towards proper regulatory status, are to be preferred over heavy-handed approaches to eradicate or seek rents from entrepreneurs, according to FAO.

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