Sharing Growth through Informal Employment in East and Southern Africa

Understanding why women are involved in small and micro-enterprise (SME) businesses in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda can help governments design policies to support this sector of the economy.

Most of the poor in Africa, especially women, are engaged in the informal economy, mainly through household-based activities. How this kind of informal employment contributes to economic growth is an important research priority for developing countries since little is known about the dynamics, constraints, and potential of informal enterprises and workers.

Research coordinated by the University of Zimbabwe's Department of Sociology will address such questions and develop recommendations on how to support SMEs in these countries. The University of Zimbabwe will partner with three universities in the region on the project.

Expected outcomes from the research include the collection of micro-level data for each country (using comparable methods, if possible), examination on the constraints facing SMEs, development of policy briefs and recommendations, and support to four master's-level students. This support involves training in research methods and exposure to international research through attendance at conferences.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


24 months

IDRC Officer

Paul Okwi

Total funding

CA$ 748,000


Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Donald Chimanikire


University of Zimbabwe

Institution Country


Institution Website