Ms. Barrins said that although the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on different sectors and groups, the informal sector has been disproportionately affected. This is against the background of the high level of importance of the informal sector to the economy.
It is estimated that globally, the informal sector employs 61% of the working-age population (2 billion workers). Iternational Labor Organisation (ILO) estimates that in Sub-Saharan Africa, the informal sector accounts for 86% of men and 92% of women in employment. In Botswana, the informal sector employs as many as 191,000 people. However, most of these workers are not covered by social protection, hence their increased level of vulnerability during shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UNDP Resident Representative added that, “As UNDP, we are happy and proud to have rendered support during the critical time to analyse the impact of the pandemic as part of developing the Plan.” She said that the analyses showed that the initial government Covid -19 relief plan was geared towards wage subsidies and financial relief benefitting formal businesses. It became clear that the informal sector had become the ‘missing middle’ both in terms of policy making and the economic response.