Informal sector innovation in Ghana: Data set and descriptive analysis

Elvis Avenyo


While informal enterprises and their activities dominate sub-Saharan African (SSA) economies, data on 'informal' innovation activities remain lacking. This paper presents descriptive statistics from survey data collected in 2016, on the types of innovations informal enterprises adopt and/or adapt in urban Ghana (Accra and Tema). Using zones defined in the Ghana Informal Enterprise Survey (GIFS) of the World Bank as area-based frame, and randomly selecting and canvassing 17 zones, the study identified and interviewed 513 informal enterprises. The analysis reveals that informal enterprises do innovate. Innovations, as found in formal enterprises as well, are not big swings, that is, not radical but incremental, and are found to occur over several years. These suggest that incremental innovations, notwithstanding, are important to the survival of sampled informal enterprises.

Keywords: Innovation, Informal Sector, Survey, Ghana, sub-Saharan Africa

JEL Classification: C83, D22, H32, L11, O17, O31