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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - REDI3x3 Working paper 19
Title A supply chain and ethnographic assessment of informal micro-manufacturing: A case study of Cape Town informal metalwork enterprises
Issue 19
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 1-27
URL et al 2016 REDI3x3 Working Paper 19 Adding value​to informal metalwork FINAL.docx_.pdf
This paper is based upon a component of an informal economy research study conducted by the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) on behalf of the City of Cape Town in 2014. The purpose of this study was to gain a stronger understanding of the Cape Town informal economy of metalwork (includes welding, metal fabrication, and tinsmithing) through a qualitative investigation and supply chain assessment. The assessment was undertaken of 30 informal metalwork retailers, their suppliers, related parties and customers in township residential and more formal industrialised settings across Cape Town. Although small in scale compared to informal foodservice or liquor trading, the informal metalwork sector is an important revenue generator in township economies in Cape Town. The trade has attracted a varied set of entrepreneurs who produce a range of products based on formally and informally attained skills. The results indicate these enterprises bring about enhanced opportunities for promoting value adding, skills development, and employment in the informal economy. Despite this, many metalwork enterprises could enhance business potential through development interventions that promote more suited manufacturing spaces and create enhanced trading locations. It would be prudent for local municipalities to accept the ‘informalness’ of these enterprises, provide appropriate infrastructure and town planning, and in particular to encourage clustering of independent metalwork enterprises to broaden their collective standing in the township economy.

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