Impact story

Financial Entrapment of Street Vendors in Colombia

Cover photo: A street vendor waiting to sell her ready-to-eat food. Credit: Abby Chung on Pexels

In the global South, the informal economy provides over 50 per cent of urban employment. In Cali, Colombia, the absence of government intervention and financial programmes means that illegal moneylenders are used by workers in the informal economy to keep themselves afloat. Consequently, workers such as street vendors remain beholden to extortionate interest rates. Based on research by POLIS (Observatory of Public Policy) of Universidad ICESI and Cardiff University, the Mayor of Cali has incorporated a financial policy which aims to enable street vendors to borrow money quickly and reasonably, protecting them from turning to the gota-gota moneylenders and empowering them to build a sustainable livelihood.

Focus projects: 

The role of the urban informal economy in poverty-reduction and peace-building in five post-conflict cities with different experiences: institutional struggles for state control, economic conflict over control of resources, social/political control and emergent governance.