Martin Magidi and Innocent T. Mahiya co-authored this paper on the role of the informal sector in skills acquisition and development in Zimbabwe for Development Southern Africa.
Training and skills acquisition have received widespread approval as one of the most important steps towards achieving human, organisational and national development. They are largely regarded as tools to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment. In Zimbabwe, the post-independence government has been heavily investing in formal training: primary, secondary and tertiary education. However, despite the critical role that formal training plays, we discovered that the informal economy is also playing an equally important part in providing skills especially to the disadvantaged groups of society. We use data collected from Norton and Harare to demonstrate the importance of informal sector training in building skills. We also identify lack of recognition as one of the challenges that informal training programmes encounter. We conclude by arguing for the introduction of skills assessment and standardisation initiatives to improve the quality of the skills and products generated from the sector to boost its recognition and competitiveness.