The Arab Institute of Business Leaders (IACE) recommended adopting "a homeopathic approach" to managing the street economy, in this case "the Souk de la rue d'Espagne," while "keeping it in its natural environment, by exercising control through the regularisation of the situation of informal traders, the territorial management, the issuing of licences, the imposition of taxes and fines, and above all by establishing timetables for the installation and dismantling of street markets.

In a recently published note entitled "Solutions to the challenges of the informal and street economy in Tunisia: between research and socio-economic issues," the Institute explained that the street economy is defined as the exchange of all kinds of goods and services in public spaces such as streets, street corners and squares.

It encompasses all kinds of economic, social, cultural and artistic activities that take place on the streets.

Previously scorned by economists and politicians, this economy has become the main provider of the needs of the poor, with hundreds of sub-sectors.

The IACE considered that the creation of formal markets, organised in closed centres rather than on the streets, is not a sustainable and economically profitable solution for street economy professionals, due to the limited capacity of formal markets, the loss of the strategic aspect of this economy, and land and budgetary obstacles... Hence the need to define an alternative, far from approaches based on repression or marginalisation.

What is needed are gradual, flexible and inclusive mechanisms to ensure that this activity is properly regulated and reconciled with the demands of urban life.

That said, the IACE underlines the need to integrate street vendors and merchants in an orderly manner that respects the urban environment, by developing dedicated, regulated spaces that are appropriate for each player, and by ensuring that they do not enter into direct competition with neighbouring commercial establishments.

In addition, the Institute recommends carefully selecting the beneficiaries of these spaces, giving priority to those who have demonstrated their ability to make a stable and sustainable livelihood out of it, in order to guarantee a degree of control over the activity and ensure that participants comply with the laws in force.

The IACE further reiterated the need for the gradual legalisation of the informal market, with a view to its full integration into the legal framework.

"The establishment of appropriate fiscal and administrative mechanisms, while keeping a presence on the street, offers a way towards effective regulation while avoiding an abrupt transition that could upset the current balance," the institute pointed out.

The latter also considered that it would be wise to establish administrative and civic control to guarantee compliance with the set rules.

"The regularisation of traders, territorial management and the imposition of reasonable taxes will help preserve order while promoting harmonious coexistence," reads the note.

The Institute also recommended flexible opening hours for these activities, which will help harmonise the street economy with urban life.

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