UNDP rehabilitates informal markets

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THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Harare City Council, the government and civil society organisations is rehabilitating informal markets in Harare’s suburbs to benefit 20 000 traders.
This comes as council recently destroyed illegal vending structures in Mbare, Highfield and Glen View among other suburbs, which were used by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed residents, with rights groups describing the demolitions as unlawful.

UNDP Zimbabwe resident representative Georges van Montfort said the coronavirus (Covid-19)-induced lockdown, coupled with the destruction of informal markets, had affected many residents in urban areas whose survive on the informal trade.

“As part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government of Zimbabwe implemented measures such as restricted movements, lockdowns and closure of public markets in the informal sector. These restrictions have affected a large segment of the urban population who rely on the sector for a living.
“This project seeks to meet the immediate and long-term needs of about 20 000 people in Glen View and Budiriro through protecting livelihoods, hygiene promotion and building resilience to future shocks.
“Work has already begun on rehabilitating two informal markets in Harare’s Glen View and Budiriro high density suburbs, including the installation of foot-operated hand-washing facilities to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission,” Montfort said.

Montfort added that with the continued spread of the coronavirus, the need to modernise and improve sanitation in informal markets has become more urgent.

“For a country already suffering from economic deterioration owing to, among other things, hyperinflation and food insecurity at the back of successive droughts, the Covid-19 crisis could not have come at a worse time for Zimbabwe.
“Urban communities already faced with poor sanitation, lack of adequate public infrastructure and unemployment have continued to deteriorate during the pandemic. Many public spaces in urban communities do not have adequate and safe sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of disease, hence the need to rehabilitate them,” he said.
According to the International Monetary Fund Zimbabwe’s informal sector, which manifests in the form of flea markets, social markets, home industries and guarded car parks, accounts for at least 60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

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