Is the informal economy increasing global poverty? Tune in to #DevelopmentPodcast to get expert insights & hear from a struggling worker in one of #Brazil's poorest neighborhoods.


The World Bank Group’s flagship international development podcast takes a deep dive into a new analysis of informal work around the globe – and its relationship to economic inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around the world, some 70% of economic activity is taking place in the shadows – and no, we’re not talking about drug smuggling or other illegal commerce.

In this edition of The Development Podcast, the team takes a deep dive into a new analysis that has revealed that the informal sector – firms and workers outside the line of sight of governments in emerging market and developing economies – accounts for about a third of GDP and more than 70 percent of employment.  

From Cidade Estrutural – one of the poorest neighborhoods in Brasília, Brazil – we hear from Abadia Teixeira de Jesus, who has spent her life climbing out of the economic shadows and into formal employment – only to be knocked back into informality by COVID-19.  

Back in Washington, Raka and Paul speak with Franziska Ohnsorge, the manager of the World Bank’s Prospects Group, about her new book, The Long Shadow of Informality, and what these stunning datapoints mean for the long-term development goals of emerging market and developing economies.