I have travelled to many parts of the world where I’ve seen different faces of informality. Whether they are street vendors, small shop owners or other informal sector workers, one of the things that they have in common is that they work long hours to make ends meet. They sometimes work under harsh conditions with limited social protection, competing for the same clients. Yet at the same time they contribute a vast amount to the economies of their home countries, especially in the developing world.
How can young people be involved in creating a future of work that is decent, equitable and bright? This November I was fortunate enough to take part in an event with this mandate at its heart.
You take your life in your hands when you cross the Makona River. Winding through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the river is deep, wide and long. I’ve made it across, in the dugout canoes that ferry passengers back and forth over the borders and it’s scary. Up to ten people squeezed in, alongside sacks of flour, rice, palm oil, handicrafts and other goods. No life jackets.