An assessment of informal SMEs’ potential in an African economy – theoretical and conceptual framework

  • Received February 21, 2018;
    Accepted July 23, 2018;
    Published August 7, 2018
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    Volume 7 2018, Issue #2, pp. 1-13
  • Cited by
    10 articles

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Informal Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a key role in their respective economies over the world particularly in the African continent. This paper reviews various theories on SMEs towards understanding the potential of the informal sector in the context of African countries. The paper uses a theoretical approach for the purpose of assessing the challenges that have affected the development of the informal SMEs sector over the years in both the developing and developed world. Economically developing countries in Africa pose unique challenges to informal SMEs development compared to the developed countries. The paper reviews the theories that define the rise to informality in Africa by identifying the key determinants for the emergence of informal SMEs. A conceptual framework for assessing informal SME’s potential for Africa is developed. The conceptual framework is based on the Fishbone diagram developed by Kaoru Ishikawa (1986). This paper discusses the intricacies of the applicability of the proposed conceptual framework to assess the potential of the informal SMEs in Africa and the way forward for the formalization debate.

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    • Fig. 1 The proposed conceptual framework