n African Journal of Business and Economic Research - Micro and small enterprise labour : job quality in garment and metal enterprises in Nairobi

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1750-4554
  • E-ISSN: 1750-4562


Although micro and small enterprises (MSEs) are important vehicles for job creation in developing countries, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the nature and variety of the jobs created. Furthermore, the theoretical literature is largely silent on issues of labour and development. The paper begins from the premise that at its best, work enhances the quality life of workers. Using data from sixteen case studies of workers, this paper uses the ILO's "decent work" framework to explore the variety of labour arrangements and working conditions present in the garment and metal manufacturing sub-sectors in Nairobi. The findings paint an overall picture of MSE employment as poorly paid and insecure, but also show fairly wide variations in almost all categories of security. The paper points to issues and approaches that should be addressed in future research and proposes a policy of encouraging clustering of enterprises as an immediate and fairly cost-effective way to improve MSE manufacturing jobs.

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