A fresh call by experts for local government authorities to play a more central role in efforts to formalise the informal sector is well-timed. It comes as the Central Government is tirelessly seeking ways to ensure that informal businesses contribute more to the country’s economy.

For more than 12 years now, successive administrations have attempted to unlock the potential in the informal sector through various interventions – one of which is the programme popularly known by its Kiswahili acronym Mkurabita. There are many such strategies adopted over the years.

But while remarkable progress has been realised, there is obviously a lot more that still needs to be done to tap into the full potential of this sector. One thing that has been emphasized is building the capacity of informal traders.

We also opine that local governments can be critical drivers of this process. This is largely because they are the ones who interact daily at a more personal level with informal traders.

It’s the same view shared by experts who took part in a recent workshop themed ‘Local Economic Development: Unpacking potentials for accelerated transformation of Tanzania’.

Only deliberate and coordinated efforts between central government and local authorities can help speed up this process.