Entrepreneurial Drive and the Informal Economy in Cameroon
Vol. Volume 19, Number 4 December/2014
Christopher F. Achua & Robert N. Lussier
There is a growing appreciation for the value and impact of the informal economy on the lives and livelihood of many in developing economies. A key question for researchers has been whether those operating in it do so out of necessity or voluntarily as opportunity seekers? Unlike previous studies that have examined the informal economy as one large block, this paper took a slightly different tangent. First, we analyzed and identified three distinct sub-groups within the informal entrepreneurial sector - the Street Walker, Street Corner and Store Owner informal entrepreneurs – and then examined each group’s motives. Reporting the results of face-to-face structured interviews with 200 informal entrepreneurs in Cameroon (West Africa), the finding is that the majority, especially Street Walker and Street Corner informal entrepreneurs, are predominantly necessity-driven while Store Owner entrepreneurs are predominantly opportunity-driven. Our study also revealed a progression pattern whereby Street Walkers do progress to Street Corner and ultimately to Store Owner entrepreneurs. The assumption is that this does create a learning curve effect in the entrepreneurial abilities and effectiveness of Store owners. This is an area for future research. There are policy implications for institutional support that can grow the informal economy into the formal economy.
Entrepreneurship; informal economy; Necessity-driven motive; Opportunity-driven motive; West Africa; Cameroon.