NGOs and the Informal Sector in Africa: What Links and for What Purpose?
The close of the 20th Century appears to be characterised by the paradox of an extraordinary progress of science and the innumerable developmental problems which continue to beset humanity. This paper has been prepared within the context of the debate on the problems and prospects of NGOs in relation to sustainable development, as we stand on the threshold of the 21st century. Since the early 1980s, many have held the view that the state has failed in its role as principal promoter and pilot of the process of economic and social development, particularly in the the Third World. On account of the need to find alternative ways of accelerating development in poor countries, the international community has swivelled its attention to the 'informal economy' and to the possibility of using non-governmental organisations as the new actors which might prove more credible and achieve greater success than the state.This essay looks at the interconnectedness of the informal sector, NGOs and Africa's development prospects, approaching the issue by asking the following questions: What is the informal sector? The NGOs raison d'etre? The functional relationship or the natural duplication between the informal sector and NGOs.