More than 90 per cent of all jobs created in Africa are in the informal sector, many of them in small open-air workshops. In Kenya, this kind of business is known as jua kali, or “fierce sun” and now well-established employers are working together with the ILO to link up with the informal sector to raise quality and working conditions.

Date issued: 29 June 2005 | Size/duration: 00:02:06 (3.51 MB)
If the video is not displayed, download the free RealPlayer™

Jua Kali means « fierce sun » in Swahili. It’s also the name given to the informal sector in Kenya, the thousands of small workshops where people bang out pots, pans, auto parts and handicrafts, literally under the sun, day in and day out.

It’s not only hot work, it’s harsh work, often done under conditions that are neither safe nor regulated.

Martin Aloo: Jua Kali worker

There are many problems here like there is too little space and we are squeezed together. If you look at these buildings you would be afraid to stay and work inside…

The informal sector accounts for nearly 18 percent of Kenya’s GDP and over 90 percent of all jobs created in Africa. There are over 2 million people working like this in Kenya alone and their numbers are increasing

Charles Nyang’ute , FKE

Mechanical operations really was a typical case of JK, because they are mechanics by education and they use common and rudimentary tools to make things happen.

In the past, these small enterprises were seen as competitors with larger companies. But the Kenyan Employers Federation saw an opportunity. They selected a group of engineering students to work in Jua Kali. It not only improved product quality, it also gave the students practical work experience.

Felix Onyango Alala: Student

I’m being motivated here, I’m given the positive attitudes and the drive to start my own enterprise, create jobs for my fellow youth…

Links were also made to larger companies like General Motors who now use these local companies like these to supply parts that used to be imported.

Jean-François Retournard: International Organization of Employers

If we succeed in improving the productivity and in achieving the right quality, they will find a market. Then we’ll develop the right type of linkages with the formal economy and they will increase their revenue, thereby enabling a progress, a gradual improvement of the working conditions.

Better working conditions, a better chance to make a living under the sun.