Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the function of the informal economy in Kenya and the shifting government responses to it through a review of key policies and documents from 1971 to 2017. As in many African states, the Kenyan informal economy is a critical source of employment and economic activity, providing 80 percent of new jobs in an average year. The key finding of this chapter is that the Kenyan government has undertaken a number of initiatives to support the informal sector but the impact of these initiatives remains controversial; some have been actively resisted by informal workers and businesses that believe their impact would be damaging. Thus, although a policy and institutional framework has been put in place with the official aim of encouraging the growth of the informal economy, tensions with the government remain, and there is a pressing need for the full implementation of a number of measures, most notably licensing.
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