Zimbabwe's 'informal economy' keeps country afloat

Up to 95% of locals turn to street trade in freewheeling night markets for their livelihood


DUSK falls and thousands of vendors fan out across central Harare. Through the night, they hawk their wares - vegetables, clothes, kitchen utensils, cellphones - from carts, wheelbarrows or even the pavement, transforming the city's staid business district into a giant, freewheeling village market.

On Robert Mugabe Road, around the corner from the city's remaining colonial-era luxury hotel, the Meikles, Victor Chitiyo has sold dress shirts since losing his job as a machine operator at a textile factory several years ago.

"Since then, I've never been employed," Mr Chitiyo, 38, said under the dim light of a street lamp. "If the economy improves, I'd want to be employed at a company again. But...

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