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Statistical Snapshot Street vendors are a large and very visible workforce in cities, yet it is difficult to accurately estimate their numbers.
Official statistics are available for some countries, though they may underestimate the population engaged in street vending see Challenges of Gathering Statistics on Street Vendors.
Street trade accounts for a significant proportion of informal non-agricultural employment in Africa. In some Asian and Latin American cities, street vendors form a large portion of the urban workforce: Informal Sector and Informal Employment: Overview of Data for 11 Cities in 10 Developing Countries.
Street Vending and Gender In many countries, especially in Africa, the majority of street vendors are women: Other research has shown that women street vendors typically earn less than men—and in many countries, less than half as much as men Chen and Snodgrass Many people enter street vending because they cannot find a job in the formal economy.
But surviving as a street vendor requires a certain amount of skill. Competition among vendors for space in the streets and access to customers is strong in many cities.
And vendors must be able to negotiate effectively with wholesalers and customers. Street trade can offer a viable livelihood, but earnings are low and risks are high for many vendors, especially those who sell fresh fruits and vegetables Roever Having an insecure place of work is a significant problem for those who work in the streets.
Lack of storage, theft or damage to stock are common issues. By-laws governing street trade can be confusing and licenses hard to get, leaving many street vendors vulnerable to harassment, confiscations and evictions.
The IEMS research found that even vendors with a license had trouble finding a secure vending location, and those following the regulations sometimes had their goods confiscated.
Learn more about Street Vendors and The Law. Occupational Health and Safety Working outside, street vendors and their goods are exposed to strong sun, heavy rains and extreme heat or cold. Inadequate access to clean water is a major concern of prepared food vendors.
Street vendors face other routine occupational hazards. Many lift and haul heavy loads of goods to and from their point of sale. Market vendors are exposed to physical risk due to a lack of proper fire safety equipment, and street vendors are exposed to injury from the improper regulation of traffic in commercial areas.
Read about a project to address occupational health and safety issues in Warwick Junction, South Africa here. Meet an indigenous caterer in a market in Accra, Ghana. Inan Inclusive Cities research project found many street vendors reported a drop in consumer demand and an increase in competition as the newly unemployed turned to vending for income.
A second round of research, done infound demand had not recovered for most vendors, and many had to raise prices due to the higher cost of goods. Competition had increased further as large retailers aggressively tried to attract customers.
The Informal Economy Monitoring Study confirmed that rising prices and increased competition were still affecting street vendors in several cities. Vendors said their stock was more expensive, but they had difficulty passing on rising costs to consumers, who expect to negotiate low prices on the streets.
More competition means vendors take home lower earnings. Debates involve registration and taxation, individual vs. Urban policies and local economic development strategies rarely prioritize livelihood security for informal workers.
Urban renewal projects, infrastructure upgrades and mega events routinely displace street vendors from natural markets, leaving the most vulnerable without a workplace.
Good practice documentation shows vendors can help with urban management challenges like crime and cleaning. Also, basic infrastructure — shelters, toilets, electricity and water — can both improve vendor work environments and make public space safer, more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Vending in Public Space: Several have developed innovative ways to work with cities to keep the streets clean and safe while gaining a secure livelihood for vendors. This national law recognizes, regulates and protects the livelihoods of street vendors.Vital Contributors to Urban Economies.
Street vendors are an integral part of urban economies around the world, offering easy access to a wide range of goods and services in public spaces.
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