100% Initiative

Some context ….

The informal sector has long been ignored for its perceived lack of growth potential and assumed survivalist nature is generally not viewed as a key contributor to the economy, but we believe that it is a key component to alleviating poverty.

According to the International Labor Organization’s 2018 report  ‘Women and men in the informal economy: A statistical picture’, 60% of the global working population is employed in the informal sector. Africa has the largest share, accounting for 85.5%, mainly due to the lack of opportunities in the formal sector and low education levels. 

It is widely acknowledged that the formal sector cannot offer employment to a rapidly growing working population, which is expected to hit 730.4 million by 2050. The reality, however, is that the informal sector is the backbone of many African economies, responsible for more than 81% of jobs. This sector is extremely diverse — from street vendors providing food, workers keeping the cities moving and clean to micro-enterprises offering employment. The informal sector plays as significant a role as the formal sector in African economies.

It is often assumed that all workers in the informal sector are uneducated. The truth is that although the majority have lower levels of education, there is a large proportion of graduates who are unable to secure employment in the formal sector due to slow economic growth and development. This new shift of graduates moving into the informal sector to create their own micro-enterprises is an interesting development in the evolution of this industry.

We believe the artisans in the informal sector in Africa have the potential of becoming a significant supplier to the global market for good quality handcrafted products that can compete with countries known for quality artisan products e.g.,  Thailand and Vietnam.

The key qualities needed to succeed in the informal sector are an entrepreneurial spirit, access to cheap raw materials, good work ethic and low labour costs. It is therefore possible to harness these talents by providing training in the art of producing products at low cost, maintaining high quality and timely deliveries, all essential to successfully trade with larger export markets. 



Our role…

We created the 100% initiative to support artisans operating in the informal sector in Africa, where incomes are irregular and working conditions are poor. The initiative is focused on developing a product-to-market ecosystem with the aim of providing the artisans and their local community with regular and stable incomes.

We have experience in this sector as we have worked with artisans and small co-operatives in Thailand and Vietnam. We know that channeling their skills into sustainable enterprises creates an economic domino effect within communities. We  also know how difficult this is to achieve, but our main purpose is to contribute to the evolution of the informal sector in Africa into a viable source for artisan-made product….sold globally.