Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is facing high rates of urbanization and increasing food insecurity. The informal food economy addresses food insecurity by providing access to affordable food and significant employment opportunities to the urban poor in the SSA. The authors of the latest installment of the Junior Fellows Policy Brief Series state that different policy approaches need to be taken into account to address the diverse needs of the informal food economy, including the needs of “survivalist” traders, larger constrained enterprises and female vendors. They recommend that there should be a targeted social protection scheme for survivalists in the informal economy; informal-sector policies should consider the structural barriers women face in the informal sector; budgets for municipal governments should be increased; and government officials should consider policies to create an enabling environment for informal-sector enterprises facing constraints to growth.

The CIGI Junior Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides masters level students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. Working under the direction of a project leader, each junior fellow conducts research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that met CIGI’s publications standards.