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Develop a position paper on The Informal Cities: Rethinking the Urban Planning

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The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) is a union of vendors with structures throughout Zimbabwe. The organization was formed in 2015 to spearhead the social and economic transformation of street vendors by championing their quest to earn livelihoods in the current economic circumstances. VISET’s programmatic thrust is anchored on three pillars: (1) taking action to defend, promote and expand the rights of street vendors, (2) improve the working conditions of street vendors and (3) strengthen their capacities to trade profitably and grow their businesses. The membership of the organisation is made up of street traders, SMEs, Cross Border Traders and Small Tuck-shop owners.

The dynamic growth of Zimbabwe’s urban population, the scale of physical development, and the globalizing world economy create new challenges for informal traders, who often face changing political, economic, and social contexts as well as increasing competition for space. Despite this, informal traders continue to play a vital role in the urban economy by creating jobs, generating revenue, providing flexible links in economic supply chains, giving vitality to urban streets, and providing affordable goods at convenient locations. It is estimated that, 76% of the economically active Zimbabwean population earn its living from the informal sector. However, despite its expansion and contribution to national GDP and employment creation there is a lack of recognition of informal traders as shown by the non-existence of responsive policies to the needs of informal traders at both local and national level. While the national constitution under section 64 provides for the right to pursue a trade or profession of choice; laws which govern land-use planning and management of cities and towns have not been aligned to the constitution. This has led to the continuous formulation and implementation of archaic municipal by-laws in the process impeding on informal traders’ ability to enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed socio-economic rights. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) has classified most young people in the informal economy as being Necessity Entrepreneurs, who have found no other alternative owing to lack of employment opportunities. Research done by VISET and other partners entitled Youth Employment and Informality: An Informal Economy Assessment, many of these young people find themselves at the mercy of politicians and influential persons in society and within local authorities who charge them daily operating fees and subject them to political rally attendance against their will. It also revealed that approximately 63 percent of the informal traders operating at the area around Mupedzanhamo in Mbare were from as far afield as Goromonzi who were attracted by the large volumes of people that pass through the area. This resultantly calls for the need to make sure that land use regulations are overhauled to be able to cater for these young people in their areas of residence through devolution.


The consultant is expected to:

  • Develop a position paper outlining the urgent need to align the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act [Chapter 29:12] and its subsidiary legislation, the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] with the national Constitution, specifically section 64.

The paper should be based on broad and meaningful consultations of key informal economy workers, development partners, government representatives and other key stakeholders.

Key Deliverables

  • Inception report with a detailed work plan
  • Conduct document review
  • Position paper


The assignment shall be carried within a period of 5 days effective from the date of signing the contract.


Payment will be made upon successful completion of the assignment.

Technical requirements

Minimum 5 years’ experience and track record developing position papers and policy briefs in the development sector.

To apply

Interested candidates should submit an expression of interest, detailed budget, work plan and their CVs to info@visetonline.org on or before the 20th of September 2022. Please note that CVs will be reviewed on a rolling basis and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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