Where to Start on the Informal Sector in Kenya
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Perhaps it's appropriate that the country to which the term 'informal sector' was first applied, just over 20 years ago, should be the one with some of the richest current sources on the Jua Kali, as the informal sector is now called in Kenya. Some sense of the scale of what has been written on Jua Kali in these last two decades can be gathered from the volume by Kenya Rural Enterprise Programme (K-REP), 1993, Jua Kali Literature: an annotated bibliography. This contains no less than 504 summaries, and some 689 titles that related to small scale and micro-enterprise in Kenya. The bibliography is very valuably broken down into sections, such as 'Education, training and entrepreneurship (81 entries) or 'Gender issues' (34 items), or 'roles and characteristics' (105). The bibliography can be acquired from K-REP, P.O. Box 39312, Nairobi, and costs Ksh 500 and US$10, (pp352). Apart from this essential reference point, there will be a book emerging in 1994 which is the outcome of a major meeting arranged between IDS Nairobi and the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen. The conference for which the papers were written was termedNetworks of Enterprises, but the conference drew together from Kenya and surrounding countries a rich range of recent writing on the Jua Kali. In particular in Kenya, the volume will be valuable in containing much of the very contemporary work by Kenyan scholars (many of them women) who are now working on aspects of small and micro-enterprise. The principal authors are Dr. Dorothy McCormick (IDS) and Dr. Poul Ove Pedersen (CDR). For a donor (whether bilateral or NGO) wondering about supporting a Jua Kali project in Kenya, and wondering what is already being supported there is an invaluable resource in another K-REP product: Inventory of projects and programmes for small and Jua Kali development in Kenya. (June 1993). This also breaks down the material by some of the same categories used in the Bibliography, and hence it is possible to consult some 30 projects that are related to 'Education, training and entrepreneurship', and no less than 70 projects on 'Credit and finance'. Altogether there are 132 projects or programmes identified and summarised. The volume is available, presumably, by writing to K-REP at the address given above. It looks as if there may shortly be several full length studies on the informal sector in Kenya. Dorothy McCormick's work on garment-making with its very welcome emphasis on women in the informal sector may be available in book form. Similarly, work by Kinuthia Macharia on ethnic dimensions of the sector could also appear in book form. Finally, Kenneth King has been working on revisiting his original African Artisan, (1977) and has been writing a new volume entitled, Jua Kali Kenya: the African Artisan revisited. This should be finished in early 1994.