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Zimbabwe's 'informal economy' keeps country afloat

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

Harare

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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