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Informal Economy, Growth and Equity

Title of the Session

Informal Economy, Growth and Equity

Time and Venue

16 June 2015, Marriott Hotel Zamalek – 9:00 am-10:30 am


In developing countries, the informal economy plays a crucial role in providing diverse job opportunities that are more accessible to the labor market. On the one hand, the informal economy is an important survival strategy for the poor, while on the other hand, it is often regarded as troublesome as informal businesses evade taxes and operate outside of state control, which can also offer room for illegal activities. Research suggests that the informal economy in Egypt constitutes up to 40% of the economy and it was able to offer jobs opportunities during the economic slowdown that occurred after the Egyptian revolution. This session explores the current state of the informal economy in Egypt, including its advantages and disadvantages and discusses how the state handles the informal economy and questions the need for legalizing and integrating the informal economy into the formal one. The session further taps into the geographical and sectoral inequities in Egypt and draws on local and international experiences to address these issues.

The aim of the Panel is to discuss:

  • Who is in the informal economy and why is it growing?
  • How can local food production contribute to food security in the urban context?
  • What is the government policy towards informal street vendors?
  • How is informal recycling economy integrating into the formal one?
  • Equity: What are the needed reforms to address geographical and sectoral inequities in Egypt? What are the best practices – local and international?


Omar Nagati, Architect & Urban Planner, Co-Principle, CLUSTER

Dr. Sherif Algohary, Manager, Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Unit, Ministry of Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements

Mrs. Hala Barakat, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

Mr. Ezzat Naeem, Managing Director, Spirit of Youth

ReemHalim,Senior Economist, TADAMUN/ Takween


Ms. Safa Ashoub, Institutionalisation Advisor, Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas (PDP), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH