Resilience & Risk in the Informal Sector: Responses to Economic & Security Risks of COVID-19 in Lagos, Nigeria

We are conducting a series of phone surveys to study the economic, social and security impacts of COVID-19 among informal sector vendors in Lagos, Africa’s largest city with a population of more than 24 million. The survey capitalizes on prior work with a representative sample of market vendors, making rapid data collection at a distance feasible among this otherwise hard-to-reach population. Their experiences are indicative of those of a large and particularly vulnerable subset of the population in Africa–actors in the urban informal economy–who live day to day and whose economic activities will be deeply impacted by the crisis. These individuals can face economic risk–loss of income, increased household food insecurity, need to draw down business savings or assets–and other personal risks–anxiety about the security of their business, increased criminal activity targeting either their home or business, and even increased violence within their own home. The surveys will collect information about these risks, and strategies by vendors and their marketplace associations to mitigate risks. We measure whether some groups, ethnic minorities and women in particular, are differentially vulnerable, and others differentially resilient. Our aim is to inform policymakers about the distribution of needs among informal vendors as well as which groups are more likely to demand and take up state-provided services. 

RFP Cycle:
COVID-19 Off-Cycle
  • Jessica Gottlieb
  • Adrienne Lebas
  • Pilot project