ESEPARC and UNDP host seminar on the impact of COVID-19 on the informal sector
On Thursday, 27 August 2020, ESEPARC and UNDP hosted a seminar to discuss the impact COVID-19 on the informal sector and how best to coordinate support for the sector. The discussions were led by various stakeholders in the informal sector including the Coalition of Informal Economy Associations of Swaziland (CIEAS), Sive Lesinebunye Women in Cross Boarder Association, Swazi Commercial Amadoda, Small Enterprise Development Company (SEDCO), Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Trade (MSME Unit), amongst others. The event was live-streamed on ESEPARC’s Twitter and Facebook pages enabling a greater part of the Eswatini population to be part of the seminar from the comfort of their homes or work stations.
The dialogue began with a brief presentation by Mr. Mcebo Zikalala from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development (MEPD) titled ‘The Informal Sector, what it is and why does It matter?’ Mr. Zikalala defined the informal sector as “economic activity that results in income generation that is not taxed or monitored by the government”, and noted that the informal sector is very broad. He went on to discuss why the informal sector matters and pointed out that “the informal sector sustains numerous livelihoods, it is a huge base for employment worldwide and is able to provide more than 1.8 billion jobs (OECD), and a huge contributor to Eswatini’s economy.”
The informal sector as cited by Mr. Zikalala has always been the buffer for the economy during a crisis, able to temporally absorb those who have been left unemployed in the formal sector. Due to COVID-19, this has not been the case because the informal sector too has suffered the most adverse impacts of COVID-19. For more information, tune in to the seminar.
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