Over the last decade AFI has evolved into the preferred peer learning platform for financial sector policymakers and regulators in developing and emerging economies. AFI’s hallmark is based on the member-based organization model, delivery of practical policy implementation solutions and setting global discourse on financial inclusion challenges. Member-driven practical policy implementation solutions are developed via Working Groups established by AFI which develop policy lessons to facilitate financial inclusion policy reforms and to build a repository of knowledge in financial inclusion policy practices from the network. These Working Groups policy lessons are instrumental in highlighting best practices and have been the initial key step for AFI in providing network-wide guidance on addressing financial inclusion challenges. Currently AFI is undertaking the development of a Guideline Note on “Bringing the Informal Sector Onboard: Challenges, Opportunities and Policy Solutions” and requires the services of a consultant to take this project forward.
The informal sector or economy is the part of any economy that is neither taxed nor monitored by any form of government. Although the informal sector makes up a significant portion of the economies in developing countries, it is sometimes stigmatized as troublesome and unmanageable. However, the informal sector provides critical economic opportunities for the poor and has been expanding rapidly since the 1960s.
Integrating the informal economy into the formal sector is an important policy challenge and has a direct bearing on the initiatives to promote financial inclusion, inclusive growth and poverty reduction especially in poor and emerging economies.
Evidence has shown that financial inclusion requires significant collaboration between all ecosystem actors. The burden of driving financial inclusion cannot be borne solely either by the formal or the informal sector, due to their respective weaknesses and blind spots. However, through collaboration, these weaknesses and blind spots can be mitigated.
By joining forces, actors within the two ecosystems have been able to reach more customers and provide better products and services to them. Various Government departments, through an appropriate mix of policy interventions, have embarked on a journey to formalize or harness the power of the informal economy.
Once harnessed into the formal financial system the resources of the informal sector should impact positively on overall liquidity in the economy.
The objective of this consultancy assignment is to support the “Onboarding the Informal Sector” sub-group and AFI Management Unit in drafting the final version of the Guideline Note as well as creating a Toolkit.
- The objective of the Guideline Note is to develop an appropriate and effective policy solutions for guidance to AFI Members working to onboard or formalise the informal sector.
- A current concept has been developed and endeavours to define the Informal Sector as well as describe its characteristics and causes. Next the benefits from formalizing the Informal Sector are discussed together the challenges in achieving the formalization goal. General approaches to facilitate the onboarding of both MSMEs and private individuals are explored and leading to a brief overview of country experiences in Gambia, Nepal and the Philippines. Finally, practical recommendations proposed which encourage the formalization of the informal sector.
- The objective of the Toolkit is to provide AFI Members with practical direction or steps on formulating and implementing policies which encourage the formalization of the informal sector in an organized and efficient way.
Scope of Work:
- Review draft of the existing Concept Note (20 pages, draft based primarily on desk research)
- Streamline existing Guideline Note draft by devising an improved structure, emphasizing the most important issues related to the Informal Sector (and how to formalize this sector) and downsizing areas of less importance.
- Develop framework for case studies which need to contain at minimum the following elements:
- The Characteristics of the informal economy in a specific country ;
- Approaches followed to transition informal to formal economy in Country. This includes obtaining information related to the following:
- Formalization of Informal workers (legalization, legal recognition and protection as workers (for own account and self-employed) ; simplified registration procedures and simple administration ; progressive taxation system, protection from harassment, access to resources and facilities, workers’ rights…) / Other non-legal/regulatory approaches that were applied and worked.
- Formalization of Informal Economic Units (appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks including enforceable contracts, land-use and property-use rights, occupational health and safety regulation) ; simplified registration and progressive taxation system / Other non-legal/regulatory approaches that were applied and worked.
- Develop questionnaire to inform the case studies
- Conduct interviews with selected AFI Members of the following countries: Mozambique, Angola, Fiji, Solomon Island, Zimbabwe, Samoa, Sudan, El Salvador, Vanuatu, Tunisia, Mauritania, Nepal, Philippines, Zambia, Mozambique, Malaysia, Kenya
- Produce final Guideline Note.
- Produce Toolkit/ practical guide to the design and implementation of evidence- based onboarding of the informal sector interventions for regulators.
- Produce a blog on the Guideline Note and Toolkit
Deliverable and Timeline:
- This work would need to be undertaken during May - July 2020. The total working days to complete all deliverables is envisaged not to exceed 25 days.
The contract will be with either an individual consultant or consulting firm with specific names of the team member(s) that would be working on the assignment.
The consultant undertaking this assignment should have the following qualifications at minimum
- Advanced degree in a field related to Law, Economics, Public Policy, International Development or another related discipline;
- Knowledge and documented experience related to the informal sector/economy and experience in survey development and drafting of policy recommendations;
- Fluency in English (oral and writing) is compulsory. Working knowledge of French and/or Spanish is desired;
- Writing experience. Please submit related working papers or research with links to the “informal economy/sector” topic.