This study is set out to investigate poverty and women in the informal sector with evidences from urban areas of Eritrea. The study uses descriptive technique on primary data collected using interview and questionnaire from 12 towns distributed throughout the 6 administrative regions of the country. The approach adopted includes both a survey and structured interviews targeted at women who are active in the informal business sector. The main findings from the sample data of 1604 women collected indicate that majority of the respondents are poor as their monthly income hovers around the poverty line set by the world bank (of one dollar and fifteen cents per day). Furthermore, it has been noted that the greater part of women interviewed are active as petty traders, followed by services and only a minority of them are active in the manufacturing (production) sector. Poverty and unemployment are the two main driving forces that made them to try their chance by making themselves active in this sector. However, they lack the entire necessary infrastructure and amenities to facilitate their businesses as the majority of them work in open public places under continuous harassment and uncertainty. They do need legal and social protection, place of work, training, credit and other amenities if they are going to expand their business and go out poverty. The result shows the situation and plight of women in informal sector in the country and the paper therefore recommends that policy makers take notice of their situation and give more support and formulate policies that will provide an enabling environment for the growth, expansion and prosperity of the sector in general and women working in the sector in particular.
Key words: Women, informal business, developing country, Eritrea.
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