Technical Webinar: Key issues on the transition from informality to formality in forced displacement contexts

Globally, 6 out of 10 workers and 8 out of 10 economic units are considered informal. The informal economy is where most jobs have been created in recent years, but it is also where the greatest decent work deficits and problems with regard to workers’ rights are found. Fundamental rights at work are as relevant in the informal as they are in the formal economy.

People who face direct or indirect discrimination and do not enjoy equality of opportunity and treatment – whether in terms of access to education and training, to resources or to formal jobs – often end up in the informal economy. They include women, workers with disabilities, ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees. Job opportunities in the formal economy are limited, particularly in developing and emerging countries, and therefore many people revert to the informality to make a living, either as wage workers or as independent workers with or without employees. Yet the informal economy is largely outside the scope of current laws and regulations.

With respect to contexts of forced displacement, informality aggravates the existing challenges and the numbers of forcibly displaced people to access employment in the formal economy remains limited. Moreover, the explicit and implicit exclusion of forcibly displaced people from labour and social security law or specific regulations in particular occupational groups increase the formal barriers to facilitate fair working conditions for both dependent and independent workers.

The webinar will start with a presentation of approaches for assessing the nature and extent of informality of jobs and enterprises and how policy interventions can be designed. This will be followed by examples of the challenges of informality in forced displacement contexts from Kenya and Uganda. Their presentations will be followed by a question and answer session.


9:00-9:20 Introduction
  • Nicholas Grisewood, Global Programme Manager, ILO PROSPECTS – Improving Prospects for Host Communities and Forcibly Displaced Persons (Moderator)
  • Florence Bonnet, Labour Market and Informal Economy Specialist, ILO Inclusive Labour Markets, Labour Relations and Working Conditions (INWORK) Branch
  • Judith van Doorn, Enterprise Formalization Specialist, ILO Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Unit
  • Kareem Bayo, Technical Officer on Enterprise Formalization and Transition to Formality of Forcibly Displaced People, ILO Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Unit
9:20-9:50 Presentations
  • Caroline Njuki, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO PROSPECTS Kenya
  • Pius Ewaton, Chairman, Turkana County Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kenya
  • Stephen Opio, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO PROSPECTS Uganda
  • Nyaruiru Ndungi, Norwegian Refugee Council in Kenya
9:50-10:30 Interactive session and Q&A

Date and time

Date: Thursday, 5 November 2020
Time: 9 am – 10.30 am (CET)
Language: English

Where: Zoom:

Organizer: Co-organized by the SME/INWORK units and PROSPECTS programme.