Informal Food Markets in Africa’s Cities
- Urbanization is moving fastest in Africa south of the Sahara, with major implications for food security and other governance challenges.
- Large urban poor populations rely heavily on the informal economy for accessible, affordable food. Most eggs, meat, fish, and milk sold to the urban poor are from informal markets.
Food security policies in urban Africa face institutional,
administrative, and political challenges:
- Lack of local mandate for food security under decentralization policies.
- Lack of cross-sectoral, cross-ministerial policy integration.
- Political contest over cities that occasionally leads to violence.
- Government interventions have focused on control, regulation, and often violent eradication of the urban informal food economy.
Policy and Research Needs
- What tools can institutionalize regular engagement between local governments and informal workers?
- How can the informal economy be actively incorporated into discussions of urban food security?
- How can vertical and horizontal cooperation across sectors and ministries be promoted to improve governance of the informal sector?
- What approaches, such as training informal sector workers, can improve food safety and support the benefits provided by the sector?