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May 7th, 2020

Africa’s urban informal food sector in comparative perspective

Published by Urban Forum,

This special issue of the Urban Forum brings together collection of case studies from seven countries across the Global South—China, Jamaica, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda—to explore the dynamics of Africa’s urban informal food sector in comparative international context. The complex dynamics of the informal food sector in urban Africa are poorly understood. Urban informal food systems are beginning to receive attention from scholars and policymakers, but the notable absence of detailed empirical information and necessary theoretical engagement with their emergence, structure, and operation has thus far limited efforts to understand the central role that they play in urban development processes. The first article examines the enabling environment for informal food traders in Nigeria’s secondary cities. The second article stresses the importance of understanding informality through a historically rooted political economy approach, analyzes the modern history of informal vending in Kampala, Uganda, and identifies six ways in which the state has fundamentally shaped informal economic activity in the city. The third article studies the informal food sector and cohabitation with supermarktes in Namibia and shows that the informal food sector is vibrant and growing. The fourth article  assesses the nature, operations, strategies and challenges of the informal food vendors in Cape Town and reveals that they have become an integral and indispensable component of the city’s food system.  The fifth article assesses the demographic and entrepreneurial characteristics  of young entrepreneurs in the food retail sector in Maputo and highlights the aspirations and the economic challenges in their business success. The sixth article examines the pathology of the urban food system as it relates to the characterisation, challenges and experiences of small-scale food retailers. The seventh article evaluates how the reforms of the regulations to formalize street food vending with a permit system affected vendor-chengguan (city management officers) relations and vendors’ livelihoods in Nanjing

Curated from link.springer.com