The evolution and growth of urban informal markets in Mbale Municipality
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The study considered the evolution and growth of the informal markets of Namatala and Mooni in Mbale Municipality (MM). The dualist and the legalist schools of thought of understanding informal urban markets subscribes to the notion that the informal markets are comprised of marginal activities that provide income for the poor and a safety net in times of crisis. The framework for this study was provided by four objectives. To examine the relationship between population increase and evolution of informal markets. To analyse the intergration of Mbale Municipality Council (MMC) management into the growth of informal urban markets.To assess the importance of urban planning in the evolution and growth of informal urban markets and to examine the relationship between consumer choice and the growth of informal markets. Both primary and secondary data were collected from the Mbale Town Clerk, Council revenue collectors, MMC planning unit and vendors. Qualitative data was collected through interviews, participatory observations and Focus Group Discussions. The major reason for the evolution and growth of informal urban markets in Mbale Municipality is the increase in population of the urban poor. Despite the increase in population, Municipality Management has been ineffective in the areas where the informal markets are located. This has been made worse by inadequate planning by MMC. Although the Council has made progress in addressing infrastructural disparities within the Municipality, the infrastructural needs of the informal market such as sanitation, water and market stalls have not been addressed. Inappropriate regulations, Government failure to provide adequate and affordable site for the market and failure to harness the energies and resources of the poor in the right direction are other factors that explain the existence of Namatala and Mooni markets. In conclusion, MMC should develop an informal market trading policy that emphasizes community involvement. MMC authority have not been able to review their policies and by laws in response to the prevailing population increase and subsequent for corresponding increase in infrastructure in the informal markets. The study recommends that the development of Namatala and Moni informal market should not be the work of MMC alone, but involve other stakeholders such as the Local Government, Police, Security, Environmental Health, Land use Planning and Sanitation.