According to a study by Mozambique’s National Institute of Statistics completed in 2006, 87% of Mozambique’s working population are employed in the informal sector. This is mainly due to the fact that about 80% of the working population are informally employed in agriculture. The second biggest employment sector is services, which includes tourism. Particularly in the occupations targeted by HITT Mozambique, informal employment is high.
While the advantages of working in the informal economy are often well-publicised – avoiding tax etc – there are also numerous downsides. Informal workers are often subjected to extremely heavy workloads, unsociable hours, ‘attached’ labour, unhealthy conditions, lack of skills and inability to access training, lack of formal written contracts that provide accountability, harassment and discrimination based on gender, age or ethnicity, and fragile job security.
HITT Mozambique is empowering informal workers in the tourism sector to capitalise on the benefits that a growing tourism industry brings by applying skills learnt in vocational training. Such training will allow employed informal workers in seemingly inescapable situations of exploitation, unfair treatment and low pay to find new opportunities with a better employer to become self-employed. For self-employed informal workers, applying skills learned will lead to a higher disposable income, and greater choice as to where to allocate their spending.