SOCIEUX+ in Cameroon: Workshop on formalization of informal sector workers and social security for migrants

The informal sector accounts for a significant part of Cameroon’s economy; according to the National Employment Institute it generates 50% of the country’s GDP and employs 90.5% of its labor force. Thus, when Cameroon first requested assistance from SOCIEUX+, their main objective was to “improve the planning of programs that aim at bettering informal workers’ protection, work and living conditions.” This objective is consistent with the country’s commitment to strengthening the technical skills of its public servants in the informal employment sector, as quantitative and qualitative data on the sector are often unavailable or inadequately utilized, except for high-level policymaking.

In response to this request, an original workshop was conducted in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), SOCIEUX+, and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement IRD/DIAL. Thanks to the support of IOM, the workshop was able to be held in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon. IRD/DIAL contributed significantly to the workshop through the mobilization of two high-level experts, and reiterated their commitment to technical experts and political leaders working together. The workshop team was composed of different speakers, which included two facilitators from IRD/DIAL, a Cameroonian statistician from the National Employment Institute who specializes in the informal sector, and an expert from SOCIEUX+.

The workshop, held on 6-7 February, 2018, was structured around three main themes:

  • The informal economy: data on employment, and the domestic informal sector;
  • The formalization of the informal sector in the framework of a global approach (ILO Convention 204);
  • Developing a social dialogue on informal workers.

Through several presentations, the workshop was an opportunity for experts to share their respective knowledge about the informal sector. It also served to showcase official statistical surveys, with the aim of fueling both social and political dialogue. The workshop consisted of alternating sessions of thematic presentations, open discussions, and small working groups supplied in real time with statistical data on the informal sector.