The Informal Sector

All about the Informal Sector in Namibia, Wages and the Informal Sector, How the Informal Sector works and more on

What is the Informal Sector?

The informal sector refers to a category of people or a sector who are not officially employed and are not taxed. 

Is the informal Sector important?

While some people choose to be in the informal sector, many fall in the category because of unemployment. The informal sector plays a very important role in every country, as it gives opportunities to people who are not employed to earn money through their various skills and businesses.

What is the situation in Namibia?

According to Namibia’s country report, the majority of Namibian people operate in the informal sector; many are migrants from the rural areas. The report says that close to 70 percent of the population is in the informal sector.

Common examples of the Informal Sector in Namibia:

With the country depending more on agriculture, most of the people in the informal sector are in farming, growing different crops. Others are also in crafts which includes woodwork, pottery, weaving, sewing and furniture making.

Here is the full list of the common jobs in the informal sector:

  • Subsistence farming
  • Crafts (includin: woodwork, pottery, handicraft, basketry, jewellry-making, leatherworking, weaving, sewing and furniture-making)
  • Small scale manufacturing (including bread-making, tailoring, food catering, candle-making and confectionery)
  • Small-scale mining 
  • Small- scale construction (including building, brickmaking, plumbing, welding, carpentry and electricity)
  • Informal services (including transport, repairs of cars, shoes, electric household appliances, gardening, domestic work, and shoe polishing)
  • Informal trade (including are rural informal markets – “Cuca shops” - and urban informal markets)
  • Informal cross-border trade 

Gender in informal sector

According to Namibia’s country report, a survey conducted shows that the informal sector has more men than women. The age bracket in the informal sector is between 15 – 40 years.


The informal sector is big in Namibia and has assisted the government in bridging the gap in terms of unemployment. According to Namibia’s Country report, the majority of the informal sector is in trade, taking over 50 percent, followed by manufacturing at 26 percent and 13 percent in repair services.