Seen Economy

"Seen" activities are those which are accounted for as productive (including informal work) in the System of National Accounts (SNA).

Adapting Tabiya's work to the South African "seen" economy involves asking if the nature of formal and informal occupations - and the skills associated with them - are similar to those of Europe. Indeed, it may very well not be not be the case, as the labour markets and work cultures are different. For instance, a law-maker in a European country has to navigate EU regulations, which a South African lawmaker does not have to do, or at least to a lesser extent. Other examples include activities such as "specialize seller" or "taxi drivers" in ESCO. In Europe, these occupations rarely involve negotiating prices, whereas it is critical in certain Sub-Saharan countries, among which South Africa.

Secondly, Europeans and South-Africans may not refer to the same occupations in the same terms. The ESCO classification associates "alternative titles" to occupations, so as to reflect the diversity of names given to the same jobs. It is also translated in every European language and reflects the conceptual diversity of ways languages refers to the same occupations. However, these alternative titles are meant to represent the European context. Our partners in South Africa, as well as South African co-workers, have highlighted cases where ESCO occupations' names were not idiomatic to South Africans.

To solve these two issues, Tabiya's and Harambee's teams have implemented a "micro-entrepreneurship" survey meant to evaluate the usability of ESCO in the South African context, and have used the existing South African Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO, the South African version of ESCO), to extend the list of alternative titles of ESCO.

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