USCIB Vice President Ariel Meyerstein participated as a lead discussant at a panel at the United Nations on “Promoting Inclusive Growth: Transitioning from the Informal to the Formal Economy” on October 16. Meyerstein provided the private sector perspective on the challenges associated with informal employment. The panel followed this year’s earlier release of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Recommendation on Transitioning from Informal to Formal Economies.
Formalizing employment is of strategic significance for millions of workers and enterprises around the world who are working and producing in precarious and vulnerable conditions. It is estimated that half of the global labor force and 90 percent of small businesses operate in the informal economy, with women and youth disproportionately engaged.
The panel discussion provided a platform for governments and development partners to explore how the transition from the informal to the formal economy could contribute to enhancing productivity, innovation and achieving inclusive growth and decent work for all. Panelists explored how the ILO recommendation can contribute to the fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and identified the policies needed to promote the transition from the informal to the formal economy.
Meyerstein addressed how the ILO recommendation is important to the business community and what the role of the private sector is in ensuring formalization.
(Meyerstein’s presentation begins at 1:27:00.)
“The employers actually proposed this recommendation,” Meyerstein said. “You can see this emphasis on economic growth and job creation expanding the attractiveness of the formal sector. That’s something we were pushing for and it’s good that it’s in the recommendation.”
Meyerstein provided examples of how businesses can facilitate the transition from the informal to the formal economy, including USCIB member Mastercard’s partnership with Egypt to provide all citizens with a national ID, thereby expanding financial inclusion. He noted that part of the solution to addressing informality is making the formal economy more attractive to businesses. He concluded by saying that employers can also help by addressing youth unemployment and the skills mismatch, and he mentioned the Global Apprenticeship Network, a project by the International Organization of Employers designed to teach youth the skills they need to join the formal economy.