B.E. Assessment

Cairo Conference Session 2.1: Informal Enterprises - Informal, Unregistered, Untaxed and Critically Important to National Economies, 2005

    The Papers and powerpoint presentations on the right hand side come from Session 2.1 on 30th November 2005 in Cairo, "Informal Enterprises: Informal, Unregistered, Untaxed, and Critically Important to National Economies". This Session considered the link between poor business environments and the informal economy.

    Informality is a symptom of a poor business environment. While previous efforts to develop the informal economy (previously known as the 'informal sector') have focused on helping informal enterprise to do better, there is growing recognition of the importance of improving the business environment to reduce informality. A better business environment makes it easier and more desirable for enterprises to comply with policy, legal and regulatory requirements.

    a) Formalising the Informal Economy: Barriers and Possible Solutions, by Darren Welch
    Darren Welch, Principal Consultant at Bannock Consulting in London, presented a paper that was prepared for USAID and the OECD on how regulatory reform can remove the barriers to formalisation. Darren showed how there is continuum between complete informality and formality, and identified a number of barriers that prevent firms from moving along this continuum. He also identified some of the knowledge gaps in this field of work and provided specific recommendations for donor agencies and development partners.

    b) The Business Environment and the Informal Economy: Creating Conditions for Poverty Reduction, by Martha Chen
    Martha Chen, from WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing) at Harvard University in Boston, presented a paper on the linkages between the informal economy and the business environment. Martha described the characteristics of many businesses that are owned and managed by poor people before identifying the goals of a 'pro-poor business environment'. She completed her presentation with a series of lessons and recommendations for donor agencies.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Synthesis documents
    »Donor Committee Conference: Reforming the Business Environment - from assessing problems to measuring results, Cairo, 29 November to 1 December 2005