On Thursday, 4th of October, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in partnership with the Platform for Vendors in Uganda (PLAVU) discussed the role of street vending on Uganda’s economy at Imperial Royal Hotel, Kampala. At the event, street vendors’ representatives, city officials, policy makers, formal traders and many more entered into a dialogue on how to create safe, healthy, decent working conditions for street vendors while acknowledging needs and interests of all urban stakeholders.
To get a clear understanding of these aspects, Ramathan Ggoobi (economist, Makerere University Business School) discussed the role of the informal economy, especially street vending in Uganda’s economic development, followed bya presentation by Phiona Muhwezi Mpanga (lecturer of law, Makerere University) who introduced the legal framework governing street vending to the audience. Finally, Ms. Harriet Mudondo (Director of Gender, Labour and Community Services at Kampala City Council Authority) presented the role of KCCA in planning and managing street vending.
The presenters identified various challenges and opportunities of street vending, like the informal nature of street trade, limited urban space which in turn limits the creation of additional workspaces and gazzettable areas for street vending and the difficulty to transition to the formal sector which keeps vendors in vicious cycle of poverty. Nevertheless, street vending is vital as it is a main source of income for many households and offers affordable goods in quantities suitable for low income earners.
The dialogue continued with a panel discussion by representatives from KCCA (Micheal Mukwana), KACITA (Everisto Kayondo), Flavia Amoding (PLAVU), SIHANET (Martha Tuhakirwa) and the Mayor of Kampala Central Division (Charles Sserunjoji) that generated many comments as well as questions from the audience. Hereby, representatives of street vendors underlined the limited space in available markets, the need for broader consultation from and involvement of street vendors as well as the insufficient training by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives due to lack of places.
Following aspects became clear:
In line with that, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde concluded: “Street vending is neither a curse nor a blessing but the inherent entrepreneurial qualities exhibited by the vendor, should be nurtured to enable transformation towards formality.”