Local and informal economy, vital to youth development, is somehow being neglected. The development of capitalism if not accompanied with the empowerment of local and informal economy will make the gap in the social ladder will be more wider. Sometimes local & informal, and medium, small, micro, businesses are being despised. Even worse, the government also tend to not inclusively include them in the economic development of the city.
People’s economic activities make cities thrive. Yet millions of city dwellers are poor and many live in informal housing / areas and find livelihoods in informal economy. Young people are even more likely to do so. Employment opportunities in the city are unequal; young people are many times more likely to be unemployed, underemployed, or working poor – the situation then prevents them from fully participating in all aspects of the city’s development. The session will provide context of urban local and informal economic development, as well as share experiences from entrepreneurs who are promoting youth-inclusive local economic development.
Even as the world is more than 50% urbanized, small and medium sized cities and towns are growing fastest in population. Young urban migrant workers are behind some of the most rapid urbanization trends. There is a need for quality education and decent work in local areas in order to achieve balanced and sustainable development. Informal economy is an integral part of cities, and young women and men in developing country, in particular, depend on it for income and skills. For example, informal non-agricultural employment is estimated to be 68% in India, 60% in Indonesia, 59% in Kyrgyzstan, 73% in Pakistan, and 73% in the Philippines. 80% of youth in Cambodia are assumed to be in informal work. Informal and local economy also offers vital services to the poor in the city. For instance, women and elderly people from informal settlements depend on informal transport. Yet it is a problem that informal, small and micro entrepreneurial activities can be vilified – viewed as “bad guys” by authority or developers, rather than participating in the city’s future.
The second half of the session will be youth focus group discussion, which will focus on analysing key issues and developing policy or entrepreneurial ideas about empowering youth through urban local and informal economy.
Venue: University of 17 Agustus (UNTAG) & ADB Offices
Method: Focus group discussion