Resilience and Productivity: Keys to a Better Future for Urban Informal Sector Workers in Côte d’Ivoire

To alleviate poverty, build resilience and support social cohesion, Côte d’Ivoire’s growing working age population needs more productive employment opportunities. Rapid urbanization coupled with limited options in the formal private sector means that the urban informal sector is critical for livelihoods and jobs, especially for women. This informal sector is diverse and includes businesses with varying levels of productivity and growth potential. Nonetheless, most urban households still depend on unstable and low productivity activities. These households also largely lack access to social protection mechanisms to help them strengthen their resilience and invest in raising the productivity of their economic activities. To foster higher productivity and resilience in the urban informal sector and for households that depend on it, there is a need to develop a coordinated and comprehensive eco-system of support with policy options targeted to different constraints, capabilities, and productivity potential. Interventions may range from economic inclusion programs directed at the most vulnerable households, to policies that address specific growth constraints (such as access to finance, markets, and entrepreneurial skills), and support to fiscal and administrative formalization for those firms ready to formalize. This eco-system should also connect with a significantly expanded social protection system, with both contributory and non-contributory mechanisms to address diverse protection needs and harness different contributory capacities.