Research on Street Vendors’ Rights






Research on STREET VENDORS’ RIGHTS DONE BY ARDHO ON JUN 2017, Funded by the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali

Executive summary

The research’s aim was to investigate, explore and assess the state of human rights in Rwanda towards street vendors. In this line, the study suggests possible actions that should be taken for the improvement of issues related to respect of human rights during the procedure of arrest, use of legal services before confiscation of the goods/items. This study intends also to rise up awareness of citizens and sensitize both street vendors and security body on Rwandan laws and the Penal Code and Procedures.

The research was conducted by using two approaches: quantitative and qualitative. The qualitative approach used phenomenological method and data were collected through individual interviews and focus group discussions. With quantitative approach, under the assumption that the people who are living in urban areas have intention to engage in street vendors’ activities, it was assumed that all citizens who were living in town as indicated in Rwanda General Housing and Population in 2012 as potential street vendors.  In this line, the analysis for quantitative data was carried out with a random sample of 4018 street vendors selected from economically active  641,216 inhabitants living in cities in 2012(RGHP, 2012).

The 4018 respondents interviewed, 3251 respondents returned the complete questionnaire that represents 80.9% which is estimated as good, 9% non-responses and 10.1% missing information.

The findings for quantitative analysis used frequency tables, cross-tabulation and chi-square test. Tables included in the text of this report highlights selected relevant survey findings and are expressed either in numbers or percentages. The base for each table was assumed equal to all respondents (n=3251) unless otherwise noted. In qualitative approach, phenomenological method has been performed and data were collected through individual interview such as participatory informal economy appraisal (PIEA) and focus group discussion.

The results from the survey revealed that:

 (1)  Socio-demographic characteristics of the street vendors were as:

  • An estimate count of the street vendors is 3% of the total population (641216) living in cities (RGHP, 2012)
  • 2% females and 31.8% males, this implying that there were more female than male respondents;
  • 2% in category of economically active (14-64 years old) were young;
  • 49% were married, 31% single, 8% widow and 12% divorced;
  • 6% of female respondents had babies of less than 3 years;
  • 8% of female and 44.2% male aged between 13-30;
  • 8% of female had no education against 16.9% of male; 62.2% of female did primary school against 50.3% of male; 6.3% of female finished CERAI or Troncommun against 15.3% of male; 10.1% of female finished secondary school against 15.7 % of male and 1.6 % female did diploma and Bachelor degree against 1.8% of male in the same category;
  • 14% had no family members, 36.8% had 1-3 members, 38.5% had 4-6 members and 10.6% had 7+ members;

(2) Socio-economic characteristics of the street vendors were as

  • 9% were involved in selling goods, 26.5% in services and 6.6% in both goods and services;
  • 9% of female  were involved in goods compared to 58.1% of male;

(3) Driving forces behind the decisions to engage in street vendors’ activities

  • 67% agreed that street vendors’ activities are quick and easy avenue to earn income with low barriers among them 68.6% were male and 66.3% were female;
  • 8% declared not having a job in the formal economy/they want to be self-employed and entrepreneurs among them 77.3% were male and 72.2% were female 52.5% of female and 45.2% male respondents disclosed that it is always true the street vendors activities present easy accessibility;
  • 58% of female and 48.9% of male respondents disclosed that it is always true that street vendors’ activities present no overhead costs of rentals, rates and sometimes licensing fees;
  • 2% disclosed that they do have no farming land;

(4) Difficulties and challenges as street vendors

 100% of respondents  declared that they do have low starting capital which is estimated at less than Frw 8750 in average;

(5) Human rights

  • 1% disclosed that they do have knowledge on Rwandan laws related to taxes and public security, among them, 49.2% were male and 49.1% were female respondents;
  • 7% accepted that they do have knowledge on Laws and Policies related to trade and business;
  • 4% reported they have been spanked or slapped by the Police, Dasso or  Inkeragutabara during their street vendors activities;
  • 3% reported that they have been threatened with physical punishment; 57.3% were male and 67.6% female;
  • 2% disclosed that they have been humiliated by someone from the security body that included, the Police, Dasso or Inkeragutabara;
  • 82% reported that they have been humiliated and feelings of humiliation with 78.9% of male and 83.5% of female;
  • 5% declared that they have experienced confiscation of items/goods; 66.9% were male and 81% female respondents;
  • 2% declared that they have lost or experienced  confiscation of items/goods which have never been returned to them;
  • 100% reported that they are ready to quit street vendors’ activities and join cooperatives if they are given a chance to access to financial services;
  • 5% disclosed that they have been arrested and detained in police custody for a duration of more than a week and it was unlawful detention;
  • 13% declared that they have experienced battering/insults;
  • 05% said that they have paid Frw 10,000 of fine as street vendor and the person who bought from him/her has paid this fine as well.
  • 15% disclosed that there are big numbers of custodies, each sector has one and they are unlawful.


Comments are closed.