International Migrants and Urban Economic Informality in South African Cities

Inocent Moyo, Trynos Gumbo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter posits that, the political and economic development of South Africa and the former white minority apartheid regime, which collapsed in 1994 has contributed to the character of urban economic informality by international migrants in South African cities. This is precisely because, migration to South Africa after 1994 has been higher than any country in the Southern African region. This is clearly attributable to the political and economic developments of the country following fall of the apartheid regime in 1994. This, among others, created the general democratic conditions that led to the deracialisation of cities and the opening up of economic spaces and opportunities in cities, which attracted international migrants. As a result, the participation of international migrants in urban economic informality in South African cities is more pronounced. These developments are predicated on the general and broader historical and political and economic conditions and policies within the country and the region at large. The urban economic informality experiences within the Johannesburg inner city are discussed in this chapter. The case study demonstrates the nature and character of urban economic informality operated by international migrants and there is evidence that the activities vary based on the mixed embeddedness of city conditions, both political and economic.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Book Series
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameUrban Book Series
ISSN (Print)2365-757X
ISSN (Electronic)2365-7588


  • International migrants
  • South Africa
  • Urban informality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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