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ZCIEA was disheartened by the death of MDC T President Morgan Richard Tsvangirai on the 14th of February 2018. We feel his death was a bit untimely given the struggle he has led Zimbabwe through. However, above all God knows more than we do.

We share our deepest condolences to the Tsvangirai family, MDC T family, the Trade Unions family, the Nation at large and the entire International Community who feel the pain as we do. We pray for God’s comfort that can quench the pain in moments like this. Surely his legacy will live on under the spirit of Ubuntu.
Hamba khahle Leader
Hamba khahle Comrade
Hamba khahle Son of the Soil

May his Soul Rest in Peace

On behalf of the entire ZCIEA Family

Wisborn Malaya
ZCIEA Secretary General
16 February 2018



Informal economy in Zimbabwe evolved and has been in existance since the colonisation period. This economy was small and not recognised as a performing sector that contributes to the national GDP. It continued to grow as the unemployed mostly youths and women had to find means of surviving and alleviating poverty. At attainment of independence in 1980 the Informal Economy accounted for less than 10% of the labour force. It immensely grew from the period when the Government adopted and implemented the neo-liberal economic system of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) from 1991. In more than two decades that followed, the rate of expansion of the informal economy has continued grow to reach 94.5% in 2014 as indicated in the Labour Force Survey of 2014. This has been exacerbated by the effects of the countries’ economic down turn that resulted from:
• Company closures and massive retrenchments that occurred without considering cushioning the retrenches nor rehabilitating them for future and alternative production and employment.
• Lack of stable and sustainable investment in the productive sectors.
• Absence of sustainable employment creation to absorb the retrenches as well as annual school and colleges graduands.
• Lack of development of key production sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and financial.
• Influx of imported finished goods.
• Lack of recognition of informal economy, its contribution to the national GDP and a conducive business operation environment.
• Non-payment of wages and salaries for those still in formal employment.
• The economic development policies and programmes have maintained a bias in favour of the formal economy which has been shrinking.
All the affected workers had very limited options for employment opportunities thus had to settle for informal activities that were and are still not recognised or regulated. Some settled for employment in home industries while others who possessed skills struggled to start own small businesses. This means that the majority of people are locked in the informal economy where activities have remained of survival nature. This is evidenced by the World Bank report of 1995 that revealed the number of house-holds in poverty to have increased from 40.4% in 1990/91 to 63.3% in 1995/96. The same World Bank report prescribes that “unless the economic programme is seen to generate benefits for everybody in Zimbabwe, it might not be possible to follow through with maintaining the momentum of many of recent changes. This will require more effectively dealing with poverty and the social dimensions of adjustment.”

Zimbabwe has a dual and enclave economic structure which is characterised by the existence of a shrunken formal economy that accounts for about 4.5% of the total labour force (2014 Labour Force Survey) while the informal economy accounts for the majority of the labour force (94.5%). This economy has remained dual in the sense that both formal and informal economy are coexisting although economic performance recognition is only given to the formal economy. It is also enclave because a large segment of the labour force is engaged in low productivity activities which imply that effective demand is low and there is limited expansion of the market and sustainable growth of the economy. This deficiency renders the formal economy to rely on external market and demand which reinforces (Labour Force and Child Labour Survey 2014) dependency. It is also evident that informal economy jobs are low income jobs without prescribed wages. The conditions of work are very poor with long and unregulated long working hours, unsafe working environment and underemployment.
Structure of the economy of Zimbabwe by 2011

Source: LEDRIZ 2011
Contributions of the Informal Economy to the National Economic Development
The informal economy contribution to national development is quite significant ranging to 19.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Poverty Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey of 2011/12). Its contribution to national treasury is through payment of presumptive tax; value added tax; customs duties; excise duty and municipal tariffs.
The informal economy contributes to backward and forward linkages as it buys from and supply to the formal economy businesses such as the Glen View Home Industry which is popular for furniture manufacturing and supply to established retail outlets. On the other hand they buy the raw material from the timber and cloths retailers or factories.
The facts given above prove beyond reasonable doubt that the informal economy is now the biggest economy and has the largest employment employing more than 5.3 million of the total labour force of 7.1 million (LFCLS, 2014). As dual economy exists, the informal economy presently provides the livelihood to vast Zimbabweans but there are decent work deficits.
Challenges in the Informal Economy
The informal economy is faced by a multitude of challenges with major one being lack of recognition and support towards viable transformation of the informal economy to formal economy.
The informal economy is faced by a multitude of challenges with major one being lack of recognition and support towards viable transformation of the informal economy to formal economy. This has caused the challenges of:
 Absence of a clear definition of ‘Informal Economy’: There is no clear definition of Informal Economy developed for Zimbabwe except the ILO definition which has not been domesticated. The Government uses the term “Small and Medium Scale Enterprises” which is not inclusive of some tiny informal economy activities such as street trading.
 Low income. The majority of workers employed in the informal economy earn less than Food Poverty Line (FPL) of 2014 (Labour Force Survey 2014)
 Lack of access to credit: Informal economy workers cannot borrow huge sums of money from banks due to lack of collateral and high interest rates.
 Legal: National Laws and Local Authorities by-laws do not cater for the current needs of the informal economy. Most legislations and policies do not promote the informal economy but are biased towards supporting formal economy.
 Inadequate and unsuitable infrastructure: There is failure to provide basic public utilities required by the informal economy such as water and sanitation, working space, electricity, customer accessible market places, facilities for workers with children.
 Unfavourable macroeconomic environment: High cost of doing business that affects viability and productivity of informal economy enterprises which include local authorities’ tariffs, high interest rates charged by financial institutions, transport costs, corruption, high taxation, and inhibitive procedures to obtain licences and absence of policies and mechanisms to support the informal economy.
 Business Concentration Bias: The Government has continued encouraging business development in big cities through economic development concentration than smaller towns and growth points. A case in point is the famously known Gokwe Centre in Gokwe Rural District in the late 1980s to early 1990s when a business centre through concentration and support of agriculture in cotton was developed and employment opportunities were opened.
 Economic bias: The Government has not adapted and embraced the availing opportunities from the informal economy to grow the economy. The Government experiences cash shortage and moan for liquidity sustainability. For example, the state suppresses the informal money changers who deal with huge sums of local and foreign currency that could be taped through legalising these activities into small “bureau de change”.
 Decent work deficits: The informal economy is characterised by decent work deficits that include: poor quality, unremunerated, unrecognised, unregulated and unproductive jobs, that are characterised by absence of respect of workers’ rights, social protection provisions, representation and weak voice among vulnerable groups such as women and young workers. This environment has resulted in existance of the following insecurities:
o Labour market insecurity
o Employment insecurity
o Job insecurity
o Work insecurity
o Skills reproduction insecurity
o Income insecurity and
o Representation insecurity

 Harassment and Criminalisation. There is high prevalence of harassment of informal economy workers by law enforcement agents and municipalities which take various forms.
 Political Dynamics. Political parties are taking advantage of the informal economy as they compete to influence this economy but without much support of its development.
 Public perception towards informal economy: Due to lack of recognition, most members of the public perceive informal economy as a nuisance. Some established businesses perceive it as distractor of lucrative enterprising.
 The Government has mixed reactions between the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives attempts to promote the sector while the Ministries of Local Government and Home Affairs restrict the operations of the sector through harassment, confiscation of goods and arrests.
 Lack of Government Support: The Ministry of Finance mentions the “New Economic Order” in his 2018 national but how does this new order include the informal economy and what clear programmes and budgetary allocation are there targeting development of this massive economy?
 Lack of protection from neo-liberal economic policies and marginalisation. The neo-liberal global policies prioritise exclusive control of the means of production by Multinational Corporations and big businesses disregarding the social development of the people. The trend is that Governments are expected to attract Foreign Direct Investments instead of supporting transformation of informal economy to become formal business ventures. Ref: East Asian countries
 Corruption: This is now a grown syndrome in the ailing economy of Zimbabwe. The informal economy is perceived to be a hub of criminals who operate unscrupulous businesses (without business ethics and standards). “No recognition – no order”
 Exclusion: Informal economy is excluded from all socio-economic developmental policies and programmes. The sector has remained marginalised and unrecognised for development yet it is “THE” economy.
 Vulnerability: Women and young workers are mostly vulnerable to serious decent work deficits in the informal economy as employment opportunities continue depleting.

Zimbabwe is not facing a unique situation but a global challenge of informalisation which needs specific actions that require collective efforts.

INFORMAL WORKERS’ RIGHTS Socio-economic Rights:.
Access to the nine Socio-economic Rights by Informal Economy Workers

FORMALISATION Transforming the informal Economy to Formal Economy
Implementation of the International Labour Organisation Recommendation 204 of 2015.
LEGAL Informal Economy Legislation and by-laws
Formulation and Improvement of the laws that govern the informal economy in Zimbabwe.
DECENT WORK AGENDA The Four Pillars of the Decent Work Agenda
Implementation of the Decent Work Agenda in the Informal Economy

POLICY ISSUE: Socio-Economic Rights
NEED: Access to the nine Socio-economic Rights by Informal Economy Workers
WHO IS INVOLVED: Government, Local Authorities, Business and Informal Workers (Labour)
Socio-economic rights are basic human rights required for everyone to meet the basic necessities which guarantee every person to live a full human life. There are three conditions for workers to attain these rights which are:
1. Respect: Government and other authorities must not interfere directly or indirectly with enjoyment of these rights;
2. Protect: Government must prevent third parties from interfering in any way; and
3. Fulfil: Government must adopt necessary measures to achieve full realisation of these rights.

1. Right to decent work
There are no formal employment opportunities, people are engaging in precarious jobs and there are no opportunities to freely choose employment of their choice. The informal economy continues to be harassed on a daily basis by police and local authorities and these actions undermine human dignity and basic freedoms. They are denied space for their businesses. This has resulted in the continued impoverishment of the working people in Zimbabwe. There are no opportunities to positively transform their businesses and livelihoods.
Therefore there is need for developing strategies for formalisation which should include pro-poor and inclusive developmental approaches such as the bottom-up approach that aim at sustainable human rights centred development. Like in the formal sector, labour standards must be formulated for the informal economy which respect human and workers’ rights as well as the four pillars of Decent Work Agenda.
2. Right to public utilities
These are basic social services and necessities of life which every person must enjoy and they include: clean water and sanitation; affordable and reliable communication, transport, adequate electricity, infrastructure and social amenities.
The situation in Zimbabwe tantamount to complete denial of the enjoyment of the right to public utilities. This has negatively affected economic development, undermined human and social welfare of informal economy workers who rely mainly on these services as they cannot afford to buy own services. The continued power outages and erratic water supplies are a threat to the livelihoods of the informal economy workers as their production processes are mainly done in the homes where the interruptions are experienced on a frequent basis
Therefore a review of town planning and utilities provision with involvement of the stakeholders is necessary. Provision of adequate infrastructure and services should be a priority for both national and local Government. These are not a luxury but necessities for citizens’ development. Restoration of recreational facilities such as basketball, volley ball, tennis ball, gymnastics and other sports facilities will assist in grooming young talents as well as occupy youths in sports activities.

3. Right to Social Protection
According to the ILO, social protection refers to the provision of benefits to households through public or collective arrangements to protect against low or declining standards of living.
Exclusion of the informal economy from these schemes makes these workers vulnerable. Furthermore the predominance of women in the informal economy makes them more vulnerable as they are overburdened due to the triple role the play of productive, reproductive and family social and welfare responsibilities.
Therefore reintroduction of subsidies for the basic essential services and goods will assist in recovery of the economy as health workers are efficient producers. Strategies for formalising and protection of the informal economy to grow indigenous investments should be included and considered in the national economic and fiscal policies.

4. Right to Housing
This is much more than simply a roof over one’s head. Housing needs to be a habitable space that fulfils the basic needs of humans to personal space, security and protection from the weather. The right to housing means people must have equal access to safe, habitable, and affordable homes. It also means people must be protected against forced evictions as provided in the National Constitution.
The Government has been discriminating by taking an initiative to provide houses for civil servants neglecting provision of the same to all citizens. As a result, there is now an unfortunate situation of mushrooming of illegal settlements, bogus cooperatives, property agents and land barons as well as corruption in the housing sector. This has also resulted in environmental degradation, pollution and emergence of water- borne diseases. Most informal economy workers cannot afford or access this essential right and therefore are prone to displacement, harassment and manipulation.
Therefore the Government should restore budget allocation towards housing for low income earners. The Government must be involved in all strategies and programmes of housing the people. Revert back to the 1980s schemes that were best planned to house all citizens. Pension funds have been active in supporting the business sector by constructing sky scrapers of commercial business. Priority be on investments in housing for the low income. The Government should also prioritise and promote housing construction through the councils who are wasting resources confiscating informal economy goods that are meant to raise funds to pay for accommodation and construct houses.
5. Right to health
Health is an important component of an adequate standard of living. The right to health includes access to adequate health care (medical, preventative and mental), nutrition, sanitation, and clean water and air. It also includes occupational health. Enjoyment of the right to health is vital to all aspects of a person’s life and well-being. The right to health is critical to the realization of many other fundamental human rights and freedoms e.g. housing, education, decent work as well as production.
Those in the informal economy are excluded from enjoyment of the right to health as they do not have access to medical aid insurance and have to pay the exorbitant fees for any health care requirement. The inaccessibility and unavailability of health services has placed a heavy burden on women and girls as they have to take care of the sick. Although HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has declined, it remains relatively high due to lack of health facilities and care.
As a result, there has been re-emergence of previously tamed diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, high death rates, increased infant and maternal mortality. There has been a general decrease in health standards as evidenced by falling life expectancy from as high as 66 years in 1997 to 57.2 years in 2014.
Therefore public health insurance for all is a necessity to be urgently introduced.
6. Right to a healthy environment and climate justice
The right to a healthy environment requires a healthy human habitat, clean water, air and soil.
There has been a violation of this right as evidenced by emergence and increase in unfamiliar diseases, deteriorating health standards, greenhouse gases which cause climate change, food insecurity, loss of bio-diversity, water-borne diseases (cholera and typhoid) and air borne diseases (tuberculosis). There is tendency of blaming each other when health disaster occurs such as Government and Local Authorities always blame the informal economy. Informal economy workers are always victims of authority negligence.
Therefore there is need of monitoring of the informal production in order to protect the environment and ensure that the production processes are not harmful to the citizens as well as that they do not contribute to the re-emergence and increase in unfamiliar diseases. Protection of the environment is necessary for the country’s present and future generations.
7. Right to education
The right to education is two-fold:
i. it requires free and compulsory primary level education and
ii. equal access to every level of education
Primary education which should be free, compulsory and available for all is now a privilege for the rich. Cost recovery has become the main focus. Thus education has been commodified with cost of education (schools fees, levies, examination fees, introduction of examination fees for primary schools) now beyond the reach of the low income and ordinary person. Poor remuneration of teachers and lecturers has resulted in brain drain thereby affecting the quality and teacher-to-student ratio thereby undermining education standards and productivity.
High school drop outs and mismatch of supply and economic demand have worsened the rates of unemployment, child labour, crime rate and early marriages. Low levels of education and skills negatively affect competitiveness and quality of production.
Therefore education with production that equips students with diverse practical production skills in addition to the academic knowledge should be reintroduced as recommended in the Nziramasanga Commission Report of 1999. Reintroduce free primary education to cater for every child.
8. Right to food and food security
The right to food and food security guarantees all people the ability to feed themselves. It also obliges states to cooperate in the equitable distribution of food supplies. People have a right to the basic amount of food necessary for survival, and to food of high enough quality and quantity to live in adequate dignity.
Denial of the right to food and food security has resulted in the reduction in the number of meals per day thereby threatening human health. People have been forced to sell their assets in order to source food. In other circumstances child labour has increased especially in both rural and urban areas and children are forced to leave school and look for income to buy food. In terms of gender, there has been an increase in risky commercial sex work by women and girls so as to raise income for food for families.
The challenges of persistent poverty, with 63 per cent of the population living under the total consumption poverty line, 16 per cent being extremely poor, and significant levels of unemployment and underemployment (particularly in the informal economy), continue to weigh down on sustainable economic development.
Recognition of small or informal economy farmers and their involvement and support in growing them out of subsistence farming will enhance food security and the country’s aim of feeding the nation as well as being the bread basket of Southern Africa. Promotion of small grain and cereal crop farming such as rapoko and millet will add value to food security and nutrition.
9. Right to a decent standard of living
The right to a decent standard of living encompasses all basic rights. The Government is consistently expected to improve these rights.
In the current context, Zimbabwean citizens have been failing to enjoy all socio-economic rights and this has consequently reduced their general standard of living. Access to a decent income, decent housing, clothing and food has been largely denied, with the majority of the Zimbabwean population (85%) living in poverty and 58% living in extreme poverty (ZIMSTAT, 2015).
The Government should recognise and prioritise formalisation of the informal economy. As the formal economy is regulated, the informal economy too should have standard law that regulate its operations as it now the dominant economy of the country. Adequate facilities for informal economy operations should be developed and supported by a clear inclusive development policy.
POLICY ISSUE: Implementation of the International Labour Organisation Recommendation 204 of 2015

NEED: Recognition of the Informal Economy as a national economic development sector
WHO IS INVOLVED: Government, Local Authorities, Business and Informal Economy Workers (Labour)
Zimbabwe is currently faced by a shrunken and non-growing formal economy. There is a large percentage of workers in the informal economy constituting to about 94.5% whereas in the formal economy they constitute 4.5% (according to the 2014 Labour force survey). The introduction of neo liberal policies such as ESAP and the development of unfriendly economic policies has caused the continuous trend of closure of industries, lack of investments, underutilisation of resources such as land, unabated corruption social service delivery systems such as the dilapidation of infrastructure, lack of access to medical care, free education and health has also contributed to the non-development of the state. However, the ILO has recognised the informal economy as a performing economy although it has been experiencing the following challenges:
The informal economy workers continue to be harassed on a daily basis by the police and local authorities and this undermines human dignity and basic freedoms of workers. These harassments resulted in the abuse of the rights of informal workers as well as continued impoverishment of the working people in Zimbabwe.
The Operation Murambatsvina of 2005 had a landmark effect which greatly affected the informal economy by destroying the informal businesses. The government justified it as a measure to re-organise micro, small and medium enterprises, stop economic crimes, minimise the threat of major disease outbreaks and a crackdown against illegal housing and commercial activities. However, the Operation Murambatsvina proved otherwise as it resulted in many job losses, livelihoods and businesses for the informal workers thereby worsening the country’s poverty situation.
The violation of the right to basic utilities has tended to undermine human and social welfare. The continued countrywide power shortages and erratic water supplies are a threat to the livelihoods of the informal economy workers particularly in urban areas where production processes are mainly done in the houses.
The existing social security under NSSA only caters for formal economy workers excluding informal economy from formal social security arrangements such as pension scheme.
The ILO Recommendation 204 of 2015 provides that the government should offer effective occupational safety and health policies, income security, and establishment of social protection flows and extension of social security coverage. In addition it also encourages the effective promotion and protection of the human rights of all those operating in the informal economy.
The informal economy is experiencing income insecurity because of lack of guaranteed and reliable income due to restrictive monetary policies and low production. Representation insecurity as there is no social dialogue structures where the informal economy workers can exercise their right to bargain.
Informal workers have no secured access to capital as the banks and financial institutions apply stringent measures to access loans.
The ILO Recommendation 204 of 2015 urges the government to facilitate and improve access to financial services such as credit to informal economy.
High taxation which includes taxes from ZIMRA such as the value added tax, presumptive tax, income tax, withholding tax as well as the excise duties negatively affects the informal economy businesses, because most of them are unable to pay.
ILO Recommendation 204 of 2015 urges that the government should introduce incentives, compliance and enforcements strategies such as reduce tax costs by introducing simplified tax and contributions assessment and payment regime.
The lack of social service delivery such as garbage collection has affected the operations of the informal economy. Waste and garbage are not collected hence influencing and forcing people to dump rubbish anywhere thus becoming a health hazard to the people. However blame has always been placed on the informal workers than the service delivery institution.
The dilapidating infrastructure like burst sewage and water pipes, unprotected working space and inadequate delivery of health and reliable and affordable transport services has undermined the occupational health and safety of the people (informal traders and customers)
The government has shifted the obligation to provide decent and affordable housing to co-operatives, property developers and private agents over the years. Public transport has been privatised.

The purpose of the economic policies is to grow the economy. The ZimAsset can be understood from its meaning; the need to attain sustainable socio-economic transformation in the four clusters which are: Food Security and Nutrition, Value addition and Beneficiation, Infrastructure and Utilities as well as Social Services and Poverty Reduction. The policy promised among other things empowerment of the youths, rehabilitation of roads, schools, provision of health services to all citizens, shelter and creation of employment. But companies have continued to close; there is still an increase in unemployment rate and an increase in poverty. This therefore shows that this policy failed to deliver to the citizens of Zimbabwe as these effects are still continuing.
The lack of coherence and consistency in policy formulation and implementation by different ministries has resulted in the lack of meaningful steps by the government to include the informal workers in policy frameworks formulation and implementation has led to none integrated policy frameworks towards informal economy transformation. Lack of an institutional structure or unit such as the ministerial department of informal economy has led to the exclusion of the informal workers.
The ILO has recognised that all these challenges emanate from non-implementation of the ILO Recommendation 204 of 2015 which is now creating barriers to the transformation of the informal economy as prescribed by the instrument.
In January 2014, the Minister of Finance Comrade Patrick Chinamasa in his budget speech hailed the informal economy as the engine of the country’s economic growth and praised the enterprising nature of informal economy workers. But this is opposed to what happens on the ground and what other government officials think as they regard the informal economy as a nuisance and not a co-contributor to the country’s economic growth.
Provision of social security:
Social insurance-which provides earned benefits for workers and their families by employment contributions under NSSA such as medical aid schemes and occupational pension schemes be extended to the informal economy.
Access to capital:
This facility should be considerate of the vulnerability of the sector such as access to loans with reduced interest rates to enable growth and security of businesses towards formalisation.
Access to trade markets:
It is essential for the informal economy to grow and promote their businesses through access to trade markets focusing on backward and forward business linkages. The government and responsible authorities should involve informal economy in planning and sourcing as well as conducting national, regional and international trade.
Provision of basic utilities
There should be provision of electricity, working space e.g. stalls and storage facilities, as well as water and sanitation to promote the work of the informal workers as these are decent work necessities for the informal workers.
Provision of safe, habitable and affordable housing
There is need to protect the informal workers from forced evictions such as what happened in 2005 with Operation Murambatsvina. The informal workers are in need of affordable housing and infrastructure to be able to operate their businesses and prevent incidents of loss of houses, products, livelihoods as well as avoid illegal settlements.
Recognition and respect of labour standards
Workers should operate in a free environment where there are no harassments by the police with respect of human and labour rights such as effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. The fulfilment of decent work through respect of the fundamental principles and rights of social dialogue and tripartism at work in law and practise is essential.
The development of policies, instruments and frameworks which regulate the informal economy and domestication of ILO Recommendation 204 of 2015 are needed in order to facilitate formalisation.
Corruption is killing the country’s economic development and the national sovereignty. There is need for practical and corrective measures to be implemented to promote anti-corruption behaviour and good governance which will mirror as a strategy for total eradicated it.
Access to economic justice
Elimination of all forms of discrimination and harassment will assist in developing strong and deliberate way to formalise the informal economy through introduction of a simplified tax regime and incentives which will promote compliance and encourage people to pay taxes.


POLICY ISSUE: Informal Economy Legislation and By-Laws
NEED: Harmonisation and Improvement of the laws that govern the Informal Economy in Zimbabwe
The colonial regime attempted to control the spread of the informal sector in urban areas. Town and Country Planning Act (1946), the Vagrancy Act (1960), the Urban Councils Act and the Vendors and Hawkers By-laws (1973) are some of the pieces of legislation that were enacted to control the growth of informal sector activities. However after independence, the situation has remained the same. Each municipality or ministry has been given mandate through Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act to formulate own by-laws and regulations for informal economy. Some of such by-laws are ambiguous and open to manipulation by local authority officials.
Criminalising informal economy workers remain the barrier to economy development that results in contradicting the national economic development strategy. The laws The laws (by-laws and regulations) that govern the informal economic production and trade are fragmented as each municipality or ministries may regulate as they find necessary without guiding standards which has resulted in conflicts between national economic policies and strategies and ground actions.
The ILO Recommendation 204 of 2015 acknowledges that people enter the informal economy not by choice but as a consequence of lack of employment opportunities in the formal economy and absence of other means of livelihood. It also outlines that decent work deficits, the denial of rights at work, the absence of sufficient opportunities for quality employment, inadequate social protection and absence of social dialogue are most pronounced in the informal economy.
Application and Enforcement of the regulations
Some laws that have been put in place do not promote the development and growth of the economy. Statutory Instrument 159 of 2014 is one of the regulations being used by Harare City Council. Example is that this law allows a person to lease larger space from the council on a specific charge while the lease holder is permitted to sublet the space. This provision has led to abuse by the so called space barons who are able to acquire a license for the whole street then charge huge amount of money to informal traders getting away with thousands of dollars while the government is losing a bigger percentage in unaccounted revenue.
These laws do not define the informal economy or informal economy worker. Thus pose confusion between formal economy businesses that deliberately enter the informal economy and putting their goods on the informal markets (cheating) genuine informal economy traders.
It is important that the informal economy be legally recognized and not criminalised.
It is critical to formally define the informal economy.
There is need for the formulation of law specifically for informal economy which will regulate employment relations and operations and there is need for consultation with all stakeholders and the process be inclusive.
By-laws should be reviewed where they exist and aligned to the national constitution
Application and enforcement of the law should be fair.
Zimbabwe should domesticate and implement ILO Recommendation 204 of 2015. Take urgent and appropriate measures to enable transition of informal economic units to formal economy as stipulated by ILO Recommendation while ensuring the preservation and improvement of existing livelihoods during transition.
There are vast employment opportunities in the informal economy and it is unfortunate that the Government has not regulated employment relationship in this sector.

4. DECENT WORK AGENDA: The Four Pillars of the Decent Work Agenda
1. Workers’ Rights
2. Employment Creation
3. Social Protection
4. Social Dialogue
NEED: Provision of the Four Pillars of Decent Work Agenda

Who is involved? Government, Local Authority, Business, Labour
The Informal Economy is defined by the ILO as “all economic activities by workers and economic units that are not covered or are insufficiently covered in law or practice and formal arrangements”.

Decent Work is defined by the ILO as productive work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns. It also entitles workers to organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.
This growth of the informal economy is characterised with decent work deficits. The nature and characteristics of the informal economy has not changed even when it has become the only option to absorb the unemployed labour force.

It is worth noting that the informal economy thrives in the context of high unemployment, underemployment, poverty, gender inequality and precarious work. In such circumstances, the informal economy also plays a significant role in income-generation due to the relative ease of entry and low requirements of education, skills, technology and capital. However, most people enter the informal economy by necessity rather than by choice, as a means of survival. The informal sector is largely characterized by the following qualities:
 Easy entry, meaning anyone who wishes to join the sector can find some sort of work which will result in cash earnings;
 No stable and regulated employer-employee relationship;
 Depends on a small scale operations, and skills gained outside formal education.

The Government of Zimbabwe excludes the informal economy in acquiring decent work by harassing the informal economy traders and depriving them from having access to their basic freedoms and rights as well as not providing good legislation.
The government has not created conducive environment that generates adequate and decent employment opportunities for those who are able and seeking employment. There are no opportunities to freely choose employment as well as the employment both in the informal and formal economies are characterised by insecurities.
The informal economy businesses are not recognised and considered as employment creation ventures thus they remain outside the national policies and labour legislative frameworks. There is systematic denial of the rights specified in the ratified ILO fundamental Conventions No.87 and No.98.
It is therefore necessary to bring the informal workers and enterprises under the protection of the law as a major step moving towards achieving decent work agenda. The strategies may include:
 simplifying the registration, licence procurement and implement progressive taxation for informal economy sector;
 establish a national board similar to the National Wages and Salaries Board, (which sets wages for domestic and unclassified workers), in order to fix minimum wages for the informal economy;
 Improve labour inspection and new approaches to formalisation.

Fundamental rights at work are internationally recognised human rights and apply to all workers regardless of their employment relationship or the formality status. It is important to understand and highlight that there cannot be a lower level of rights for informal workers but the fundamental principle is that all those who work have rights which must be respected.
There is need to ensure that the voice of the workers in the informal economy is present at all national platforms. The required space should be provided and the voice of the informal economy workers should be part of the national dialogue and consultations in national policy development should be extended to the informal economy
Decent Work Agenda principles should be implemented in the informal economy. The ILO Core Conventions as well as all other International Labour Standards must be respected and applied in this sector too.
Social protection is an internationally recognised human right. The lack of social protection is a key characteristic of the informal economy with informal workers lacking access to formal mechanisms of social protection.
The national constitution provides for maternity protection but there are no mechanisms put in place to provide this right to workers in the informal economy. The exclusion of the informal economy from these schemes puts millions of workers in this massive economy into vulnerability and poverty.
The current system discriminates against the majority of the people such as self-employed, domestic workers, agricultural workers and those with a regular income from informal activities.
The Government should change the law to include all workers on the social security floors such as Maternity protection, workers injury compensation, NSSA pension and funeral insurance as well as any other public schemes to be introduced. Mechanisms for all workers contributions should be put in place.

Workers in the informal economy are excluded from or under-represented in social dialogue institutions and processes. The informal economy represents the largest concentration of the labour force that has no voice namely the silent majority of the national economy. Women and youths who are the bulk of informal workers have no voice either for pursuing employment interests or lobbying responsible authorities on issues such as access to infrastructure, property rights, environmental concerns and social security.
Establish formal social dialogue framework for the informal economy in order to develop and improve policy structures and achieve pro-poor and inclusive economic development.
ZCIEA is well placed and geared to ensure that Informal workers who are now the majority of the labour force attain workers liberation and enjoy their rights as enshrined in the international and national provisions. All informal workers in Zimbabwe should unite towards formalisation of the informal enterprises and enjoyment of their rights.


20 January 2017


As Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations we are very much disappointed and disheartened by the barbaric, inhuman and evil reaction by the Ministry of Local Government and City of Harare on the vendors operating in the CBD. We thought such uncivilised and uninformed ultimatums of threatening vendors without addressing them directly and hear their views on their trading in streets had gone with former President Mugabe and former minister Kasukuwere. It is a shame to realise that Minister July Moyo having gone into the post of Local Government Minister shortly without any stakeholders’ consultations or preview of the environment just applies an operation Murambatsvina’s mentality on the poor, innocent citizens of Zimbabwe who equally have a right to life and employment.
Whilst as ZCIEA we are still in the process of negotiating with the Government through various Ministries , Parliament and even the Office of the President on best models that can be used to harmonise the operation of informal traders (vendors inclusive) basing on the four proposed Policy Positions to legalise the operations of Informal Economy within a friendly framework, this goes with an even proposed temporary measure to harness the vending in the CBD whilst providing space to collectively have a permanent solution. See attached Proposed temporary measure and four Policy positions. It will be a disaster or catastrophe to implement such an operation. The laws and regulations which govern the informal economy are very much outdated. This fact cannot continue to be ignored where the 95% of termed workers are informal. As President Mnangagwa has said in his inauguration speech that everyone has a role to play for the recovery of the economy, this does not exclude informal economy (vendors). Such an opportunity is key to be given to the informal economy with full respect of their contribution to the country’s GDP, Minister July Moyo must know in all his decision making on the vendors that the situation was not created by workers in the informal economy, the workers in the informal economy are casualties of poor and failed economic policies and decisions by the government of Zimbabwe. Our full participation on 18 November 2017 operation restore legacy and removal of former President Robert Mugabe was confident and hope of former army General Chiwenga’s national address to restore human dignity. Descending armed forces on innocent, hardworking and defenceless vendors is an act of deceitful leadership on the affected.
We therefore, challenge Minister July Moyo and his working team to revisit their approach on addressing issues of critical concern such as typhoid, cholera outbreak, overpopulated vending through productive consultative action plan and positive engagement with the informal economy on the way forward where everyone benefits. We also urge the Minister not negatively describe the vendors using ugly words such arnachy, anathema and anachronistic, and declaration of war which treats vendors as if they are a product of their own making yet it is an outcome of failed economic policies by the Government. In the spirit of building Zimbabwe for the better we demand a consultative engagement meeting to address these issues compared to autocratic declaration. Zimbabwe is for us all and we all need a chance towards resuscitating it. As ZCIEA we have not ignored these challenges and we still propose for harmonised approaches to address the Harare CBD challenges since January 2017. We totally condemn issue of bringing all security forces on vendors. We believe dialogue is the proper way to address these challenges and not imposition of ultimatums which do not offer permanent solutions but rather causes chaos and confusion. We therefore urge Minister to follow up on these efforts and deliberations which we are making without victimising the targeted vendors.




The Municipality of Gwanda has been commended for being the first local authority to have a disability inclusion policy.
The development will see people living with disabilities enjoying the same rights as other citizens. The idea to draw up a diasability policy was inspired by the civil society organisations and World Vision's water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme currently being implemented in Gwanda town which places emphasis on gender equity and inclusion of people with disabilities in all was projects. Speaking during the launch of the new policy at Jahunda Hall, a representative of Gwanda Councillor Thulani Moyo has said while the local authority has always striven to cater for the disadavantaged group, the policy will ensure that people living with disabilities fully enjoy their rights like other citizens.
People living with Disabilities Gwanda focal person Mr. David Mwera said the policy that came into effect in July this year has already seen the most building become user friendly. National Chairperson of the Federation of Organisation for Disabled People in Zimbabwe Mr Watson Khupe said the development is a victory for people living with disabilities, sentiments also echoed by the World Vision gender equity and social inclusion officer Charity Mwera.
implementation of the policy will be guided by the Disabled Persons Act, the country's Constitution as well as regional and international instruments to which Zimbabwe is party to.
There are currently 1.5 million people living with disabilities in Zimbabwe

22 NOVEMBER 2017

Tuesday the 21st November 2017 marked a historical victory and step towards freedom for Zimbabwe with the resignation and descent from presidency by the 93year old Robert Mugabe who had ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years since the 1980 Independence.
Though its 1 day gone, no one would want at this stage review the 37years which had mixed and in major degeneration of the rule of law and the economy which gave a sharp rise to the growth of the informal and precarious work in Zimbabwe. Such has to this day resulted in more than 94.5% of the population work in the informal economy. The further ugly pain to this is that the informal economy workers have suffered to the bone through harassments, criminalisation, confiscation of wares and goods, hazardous operational conditions and partisan politics which resulted to vulnerability and serious abuses.
Informal economy in Zimbabwe currently has all economic activities by workers who constitute skilled, semi-skilled and on job trained. The majority have become women and youth. These are not covered by economic units that are in the law or in practice or are insufficiently covered by formal arrangements.
Under this new Zimbabwean ERA we breathe the new Independence which should restore hope and direction to all informal economy workers and traders such that they are given a solid and fully supported space to holistically contribute to the economic development without criminalisation and harassments. This should be applied by the Newly coming leadership with the understanding of the state of the economy and the patience required forthwith for its recovery with an all-inclusive approach.
The most critical model to be accommodated and implemented by the new Zimbabwean leadership irrespective of political affiliation so as to urgently promote healing and hope for the informal economy is:
- The inclusion of the informal economy in legal and policy framework – this promotes decriminalization of informal economy activities.
- Inclusion and participation national and local budgeting processes
- Provision and respect of the rights and freedoms according to the constitution of Zimbabwe
- Social protection
- Financial Inclusion
- Collective Social dialogue
- Allocation of decent work space and low income housing schemes
- Reduction and provision of fare licencing fees and taxes
- Depoliticization of the operational work space.

These are well in connection and supported by the ILO Recommendation 204 which speaks to Transitioning of informal economy activities to formalisation process in order to promote inclusive development and growth. This will promote recognition of the informal economy in Zimbabwe.
We will continue to foster for the democratization of the operations of the informal economy workers and traders with full focus of achieving our Vision, -Decent Standards of Living for all Zimbabweans in a Stable economy and Mission – Alleviating Poverty Through Transforming Informal Economy Activities into Mainstream Activities).
“The Chamber that Delivers !!!”.
“Nothing for US Without US!!!”

Wisborn Malaya
ZCIEA Secretary General’s Office


Today the 14th of November 2017, we are commemorating International Vendors Day, with an estimated billion plus street vendors in the world.
It is important for the entire world to have basic understanding of vendors in the streets that they are workers, as a result there is need for that basic due respect of their trade as this will promote their decency as they trade.
The world today must have an overview and appreciate the value chain of a vendor in the street in terms of family livelihood provisions, peace in the society, employment creation, poverty alleviation, children going to school, provision of food for the family, contributions to the countries’ GDPs and life in general. This should also be compared to the government and economic returns in line with social protection for the street traders and vendors.
Street vendors and traders are human beings who are equal citizens, who deserve equal opportunities, in full respect of their freedoms, rights and dignity. In particular women and the youth as they constitute a large number of the constituency. The challenge of criminalisation, harassments, victimisation and politicisation of vendors trading spaces are still inhuman behaviours we face from our governments at most. Therefore today, as Streetnet International President, I encourage all street traders and vendors to say let us continue to build unity amongst ourselves, in this struggle for our freedom. Freedom is not free, freedom comes with sacrifice, teamwork and consistent demand until our voice is heard.
Solidarity forever!!
Nothing for us without us!!
Lorraine Sibanda
StreetNet International President


Today we mark the commemoration of International Vendors day with a lot to reflect on the past one year. The operations of vendors and street traders in East and Southern Africa are still facing many challenges as far as recognition and acceptance is concerned. As a result no much is happening on the formulation of direct policies for the sector by the authorities.
It is estimated that above 70% in East and Southern Africa are employed in the Informal Economy. This shows how critical the street vending and trading has become in economic development in this day and edge. The big and most important issue to respect is how the families are sustained from street vending and trading whilst there is no basic cover for Social Protection for the traders and vendors.
Operational environments are not being much paid attention to and as a result ablution facilities and infrastructure are still poor. The climate change dynamics have also drawn a serious attention to the vendors scope of trading.
It is unfortunate that we still face serious and common challenges of mass criminalisation, harassments, police brutality, victimisation and non-recognition of the value of street traders and vendors. This is the inhuman behaviour we mostly face from our governments in the region.
Therefore today we quote the StreetNet International’s President words and say: “ We encourage all street traders and vendors to say let us continue to build unity amongst ourselves, in this struggle for our freedom. Freedom is not free, freedom comes with sacrifice, teamwork and consistent demand until our voice is heard”.
Nothing for us without us!
Touch one Touch all – Unit is Strength!

ZCIEA Office for East and Southern Africa Focal Point Office
14 November 2017


Today we mark the commemoration of International Vendors day with pain and a heavy heart following the harassments and victimisation of street traders and vendors in Zimbabwe. This is as a result of the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s directive to restore order in the CBD of Harare by removing the termed illegal vendors from the streets.
It is a fact that the Zimbabwean economy is currently very bad and above 94% of the working population are informalised. This has resulted in as many people invading the streets to trade as that is the most possible remaining source of income generation in the country for the vulnerable and poor.
The hope and continued cause for the struggle is to diffuse the criminalisation, harassments, police brutality, victimisation and non-recognition of the value of street traders and vendors in Zimbabwe. A lot of families a currently earning their daily bread through street trading and vending. We therefore encourage all the street traders and vendors to come together and keep fighting the war affront us. We fight this struggle with the supporting pillar of our contribution to the country’s GDP, employment creation, peace, economic development, families stability, freedom and our rights to life as enshrined in the country’s constitution section 64.
We must build the muscle to fight and paralyse the capitalistic ideology by uplifting and upholding the socialistic ideology which prioritises peoples decent living ahead of individual profiteering and exploitation.
Comrades let us continue to Unite and upscale the struggle collectively for It is only together that we will be successful in this endeavour.
The Chamber that Delivers
Nothing for us without us
Touch one Touch all – Unit is Strength

STREETNET INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT AND ZCIEA NATIONAL PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON THE SOCIAL ECONOMY AS A ROUTE TO ACCESS LABOUR MARKETS IN AFRICA - At the International Seminar on "The Social and Solidarity Economy", held at the Julián Besteiro School in Madrid, Spain on 21 September 2017

Streetnet International President and ZCIEA National Lorraine Sibanda said Sustainable Development strategies cannot be achievable if countries and communities do not fully embrace the concepts of the social economy. The social economy is often different from the public and private sector economies in terms of intent. Social economists are working towards the insertion of social goals and solidarity into economic thinking and decision making.
Grassroots entrepreneurial movements are more than an accumulation of individual enterprises they are creating jobs and producing goods and services. The social economy is also emerging in many countries as an integrated system of social innovation , rooted in local and regional development and supported by new systems of governance based on new partnerships with government, labour and the private sector. This new reality is referred to in different terminologies depending on the continental or national context. It is referred to as social economy, social enterprise , social innovation, community economic development, third sector , non-profit and cooperative sector and community enterprise. Cooperatives and solidarity economic units are;
- membership based and inclusive
- open to individuals who share common values, interests and goals
- have a participatory system of governance
- influence local economic growth and poverty reduction strategies
- improve market access and financial services to both rural and urban communities
- have closer interaction with government
- strategic grassroots partners in the implementation of national development programs
- span a large portion of the economy including; poultry, dairy, fish , manufacturing and retail sectors
The question may be asked, what exactly is a social economy? Social economy includes a wide variety of enterprises and organisations that produce goods and services with the express goal of maximizing social , environmental or cultural impact while at the same time responding to community needs and creating decent jobs. Examples of such enterprises are community-based enterprises, mainly cooperatives and non-profit organisations producing goods or service with a social and economic mission. The social economy as a plural economy allows for choices between private , public or collective control of production and distribution. It further provides complementary paths of development that bring together economic stability, social justice, ecological balance, political stability and gender equity.
It is therefore, important to understand why the social economy can be a route to access labour markets in Africa. Civil society organisations and communities have begun to come up with innovative approaches in order to respond to the needs of society. The models or approaches are rooted in the need for sustainable development that is driven by the social and environmental concerns which are embedded in the process of wealth creation. Developing countries in Africa and their governments have become interested in this approach, against a backdrop of their incapacity to progress within traditional frameworks of markets.
Africa has a strong potential in labour- intensive light manufacturing and agricultural sector , including traditional primary products such as groundnuts and cotton and non-traditional products such as horticulture and fishing. Governments, labour, foreign investors and local entrepreneurs should work together to identify and overcome barriers to competitiveness faced by social and solidarity economy entities in their countries in order to access the labour markets. Successful examples such as the coffee exports in Rwanda and footwear in Ethiopia should be examined and efforts made to adapt to country-specific situations.
The social economy is thriving, sustaining millions of households and providing employment to many people in Africa. Examples and lessons, though not exhaustive, can be drawn from the following countries in Africa:
– the social economy in Morocco has progressed noticeably due to the cooperation between government, local development associations , international donors and state agencies to form and expand the cooperatives movement across many sectors, for example, in fisheries and agriculture.
- The cooperatives movement in Kenya, which is the most organized social economy actor in the country employs over 250 000 people.
- Cooperatives in Kenya contribute largely to the country’s food security, building social capital and promoting social and economic welfare in addition to contributing to the country’s gross domestic product.
- Many formal organisations are registered with three apex organisations, namely; Ghana Cooperative Credit Unions Association (GCCUA), Ghana Cooperative Susu Collectors Association (GCSCA) and Ghana Cooperative Council (GCC)
- The three apex bodies have over 600 000 individual members.
- Farmer-based organisations are the most widespread.
- A high proportion of mutual aid associations work on the provision of traditional insurance services or safety nets and caring for vulnerable group
- The cooperatives movement covers a large portion of the economy.
- High levels of informality and precariousness of work has brought a big shift in the place and description of work
- There has been a big growth in the number of own-account workers, solidarity economic units, savings and credit cooperative societies (Saccos), small to medium enterprises and organisations which support these entities.
- The Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises gives technical and financial support to the cooperatives and small to medium enterprises.
- Cooperatives and savings and credit cooperative societies are registered and licensed by the Ministry of SMEs
- The informal economy employs over 90 percent of workers in the country (94.5%, according to the 2013 Labour Survey)
- The informal economy activities, cooperatives movement as well as small to medium enterprises in Zimbabwe include many areas of trade such as manufacturing, repairs, cottage industry, retail trading, vending, agriculture and credit associations.
Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs):
- These are a good example of strong solidarity economic units that have bolstered livelihoods, created jobs and empowered communities economically
- Members contribute and save money together
- Most offer loan and credit facilities to members
- Some saccos use their proceeds and savings to explore different income generating ventures
- Team members are able to access funding from their sacco and start their own business
Organisations which support informal economy workers in Zimbabwe are numerous and have different approaches. My focus will be on the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA), whose operations and activities I am familiar with. The ZCIEA:
- is a membership driven organization of informal economy workers in Zimbabwe
- is also an affiliate of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
- leadership is drawn fom the informal economy workers in different parts of Zimbabwe.
- has a wide national and geographical coverage with members in thirty (30) territories. Territories refer to cities, towns and rural areas in which ZCIEA has membership
- territory is made up of at least 500 members and 5 chapters.
- Currently ZCIEA membership totals over 200 000 of which 65% are women and an increasing percentage of youth and people with disabilities.
- A clear system of governance enables ZCIEA head office to decentralize work to the territorial leadership.
Part of the ZCIEA package to members:
- Education and training in areas such as financial literacy, rights awareness, health and safety , skills development in desired trades or income generation projects
- Market research and analysis
- Platform for engagement, networking and partnerships
- Economic empowerment through an internal revolving fund (which is disbursed to members to help them grow their enterprises) and access to registered sacco membership
- Access to ZCIEA cooperatives such as the national housing cooperatives and livelihoods cooperatives
- Representation: Youth ,women, people with disabilities and disadvantaged groups
- Organised structures of work according to gender, trade, geographical area
- Lobby and advocacy platform
This is just a brief of the work that ZCIEA does in Zimbabwe to support and bring growth to the work of the informal economy workers in Zimbabwe. Members are encouraged and deliberately organized into working groups or teams to foster the concept of solidarity and thus these teams have emerged as solidarity economic units.

Despite all the work and potential shown by workers in the different countries in Africa, there are still a number of barriers to the full and more beneficiary development of social economy in Africa which can lead to the effective access to the labour market in the continent. Among barriers to such development are:
- Weak legal frameworks
- Inadequate policies targeting the informal economy
- Poorly developed managerial practices by the entrepreneurs
- Inadequate skills

The social economy cannot be considered simply as enterprise development; it is also the manifestation of new relationships between the market, the public sector and civil society and requires innovation in governance and a commitment to social dialogue. In countries such as Brazil, Spain, or Canada where the social or solidarity economy has gained the most recognition, new civil society institutions have emerged as recognized intermediaries between government and enterprises, as new spaces for dialogue between social actors and other social movements, including the labour movement. Several governments are offering active support to these networks, recognizing their contribution to social innovation and to the development of more efficient public policy. Of note are the ILO”s efforts to promote social economy in Africa. Between October 19 and 21, 2009, ILO held a Regional Conference in Johannesburg, under the theme; The Social Economy-Africa’s Response to the Global Crisis. At this conference a Plan of Action for the Promotion of Social Economy in Africa was drawn up. It is my hope that the plan and its course of implementation will be widely shared in Africa and other continents.
In conclusion, there is need to appreciate the emerging social economy and adapt traditional tools of evaluation to capture the depth and scope of these citizen-based initiatives. It is also very important to draw lessons from the progress being made in different parts of Africa.


The harassments of vendors on the streets started long way back and the situation now has become serious. ZCIEA wrote letters and proposals to Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Minister of Local Government and Public Works and National Housing, Minister of Health, Minister of Home Affairs, Harare City Council Acting Town Clerk, requesting for an urgent meeting to discuss possible interventions which can be a win-win situation in terms of addressing challenges of vending in the streets without victimising or harassing these traders
ZCIEA is persuading the Government not to harass innocent traders and leaving them hopeless and baseless but should work together with organisations and other stakeholders in coming up with solutions towards restoring order and rebuilding the city. There must be harmonised and all stakeholders action plan implementation for a healthy restoration of order in the CBD. ZCIEA is will to play a role in addressing the situation in a harmonised way

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E: wisbornmalaya@gmail.com, sg@zciea.org.zw
+263 772361905

E: blondielorryne@yahoo.com, president@zciea.org.zw
M:  +263 775170157