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Unlocking potential : tackling economic, institutional and social constraints of informal entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa : main findings and policy conclusions


  • Grimm, Michael
  • Hoeven, Rolph van der
  • Lay, Jann


In the past two decades, research on the informal sector has emphasized the heterogeneity of this part of the economy, example in terms of entry costs, firm size, and access to credit, forward- and backward linkages as well as human and physical capital endowments. Yet, not much research has investigated the causes of this heterogeneity and the implied inefficiencies. This is true in particular for Sub-Saharan Africa, where informality dominates urban labor markets. Understanding these causes and the implied inefficiencies is however necessary to design policy interventions that are able to remove the most binding constraints for informal entrepreneurs. This note summarizes the main findings and policy conclusions from a research project that analyzes the quantitative importance of various constraints to informal enterprises in West Africa and Madagascar.

Suggested Citation

  • Grimm, Michael & Hoeven, Rolph van der & Lay, Jann, 2011. "Unlocking potential : tackling economic, institutional and social constraints of informal entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa : main findings and policy conclusions," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 77925, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:77925

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    Cited by:

    1. Floridi, A. & Wagner, N. & Cameron, J., 2016. "A study of Egyptian and Palestine trans-formal firms – A neglected category operating in the borderland between formality and informality," ISS Working Papers - General Series 619, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    2. Olabimtan Adebowale and David Lawson, 2018. "Does access to formal finance matter for stimulating entrepreneurship in developing countries? Evidence from non-farm entrepreneurial activities in Nigeria," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 262018, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    3. Fox, Louise & Sohnesen , Thomas Pave, 2012. "Household enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa : why they matter for growth, jobs, and livelihoods," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6184, The World Bank.


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