Publications: Journal Articles

Resituating Africa’s Urban Informal Food Sector

Jonathan Crush and Graeme Young

Urban Forum, 2019 The complex dynamics of the informal food sector in urban Africa are poorly understood. Urban informal food systems are beginning to receive attention from scholars and policymakers, but the notable absence of detailed empirical information and necessary theoretical engagement with their emergence, structure, and operation has thus far limited efforts to understand…

Characterisation, Challenges and Resilience of Small-Scale Food Retailers in Kingston, Jamaica

Robert Kinlocke and Elizabeth Thomas-Hope

Urban Forum, 2019 Small-scale food enterprises occupy a critical space in the food system of Kingston, Jamaica. While they serve the entire population, poor urban households are disproportionately reliant on small-scale food retailers. The nodes and networks of retailers play an important role in the value and commodity chain by providing access to comparatively cheap…

The Enabling Environment for Informal Food Traders in Nigeria’s Secondary Cities

Danielle Resnick, Bhavna Sivasubramanian, Idiong Christopher Idiong, Michael Akindele Ojo and Likita Tanko

Urban Forum, 2019 Informal vendors are a critical source of food security for urban residents in African cities. However, the livelihoods of these traders, and the governance constraints they encounter, are not well-understood outside of the region’s capital and primate cities. This study focuses on two distinct secondary cities in Nigeria, Calabar in the South-South…

The Nature and Operations of Informal Food Vendors in Cape Town

Godfrey Tawodzera

Urban Forum, 2019 In South Africa, the informal sector, including food vending, is either criminalized or ignored. This is despite the fact that it plays an important role in the economy in terms of employment, income generation, food distribution and livelihoods for the urban poor. This paper assesses the nature, operations, strategies and challenges of…

From Overt Opposition to Covert Cooperation: Governance of Street Food Vending in Nanjing, China

Ning Dai, Taiyang Zhong, Steffanie Scott

Urban Forum, 2019 In the Global South, the informal food economy is both a source of income for disadvantaged urban groups and an accessible source of food for consumers. Yet, governance of this economy has commonly been restrictive among Southern countries including China. Consequently, in China there has been an antagonistic relationship between vendors and chengguan—China’s…

The Inclusion of Young Entrepreneurs in the City of Maputo’s Food Markets

Cameron McCordic, Ines Raimundo

Urban Forum, 2019 The City of Maputo’s food system comprises a diversity of retailers providing access to food from both domestic and international suppliers. Food markets, whether formal and informal, are the most commonly accessed food source within the city and provide an important source of employment for city residents. As urban labour markets continue…

The State and the Origins of Informal Economic Activity: Insights from Kampala

Graeme Young

Urban Forum, 2019 Understanding the root causes of informal economic activity is crucial for the effective governance of the informal sphere. Precisely what these root causes are, however, is subject to significant debate. This article contributes to these debates by arguing that the state is central to the origin and evolution of informality. Stressing the…

The Informal Food Sector and Cohabitation with Supermarkets in Windhoek, Namibia

Ndeyapo Nickanor, Jonathan Crush and Lawrence Kazembe

Urban Forum 2019  Much of the literature on urban food systems has focused on supermarket expansion and their ability to reach urban consumers. However, the current pace of urbanisation and rising urban poverty has been accompanied by a major upsurge in informality and a growing role for the informal food sector. One of the persistent…

Informal Food Deserts and Household Food Insecurity in Windhoek, Namibia

Jonathan Crush, Ndeyapo Nickanor and Lawrence Kazembe

Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 37. Informal settlements in rapidly-growing African cities are urban and peri-urban spaces with high rates of formal unemployment, poverty, poor health outcomes, limited service provision, and chronic food insecurity. Traditional concepts of food deserts developed to describe North American and European cities do not accurately capture the realities of food inaccessibility in…

Family Structure and Severe Food Insecurity in Maputo and Matola, Mozambique

Cameron McCordic and Ezequiel Abrahamo

Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 267. The rapid growth of Maputo and Matola (neighbouring cities in Mozambique) has dramatically shifted the vulnerability profiles of these cities. Poor neighbourhoods across these two cities may now face the prospect of becoming food deserts. Scholars have defined African urban food deserts by the co-occurrence of poverty and food insecurity. This…