Street Vending as Strategy for Livelihood of Urban Poor: in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Brhanu Tsegay Mesele


This study aimed at assessing the nature of street trade, existing conditions of the street traders at their work settings, exploring the threats and risks faced by them, driving forces of street trade, and analysing livelihood outcomes of street trade both on the operators and the poor urban dwellers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Due to the nature of the study, Qualitative research method was used. Purposive sampling under non-probability sampling method was employed. Primary data was collected from street traders and some customers of in the purposively s elected streets. Two streets (Megenagna and Mexico) were purposively selected for which the researcher had observed that street trade is rampant and there are many street traders operating in these areas. Among the driving forces why people engage in street vending as to some people is that they got it better to supplement the income they get from the other livelihood strategies (income earned from formal employment, but there are also others engaged due to chronic poverty. Some venders become engaged in street trade activities because it does not demand much start-up capital intermes of finance and skill but better option to earn income and accumulate capital and maximize profit. Street traders are found vulnerable to different hazardous conditions due to their activities. As reported by the informants, the street trade activity in urban informal sector is found to be pivotal for the livelihood enhancement of the street traders and other sections of poor dwellers.  According to urban authorities, street vending activity in is directly associated with illegality, criminality, poor sanitation of the urban environment, and congestion of pedestrians on the behalf of the urban authorities.

Key terms: Street trade, driving forces, livelihoods, economic importance

DOI: 10.7176/RHSS/9-5-02

Publication date:March 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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