Zjos Vlaminck holds a master's degree in Political Science from the University of Ghent, Belgium and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, with a major in African Studies. She obtained a second master in Development Evaluation and Management from the Institute for Development Policy and Management in Antwerp, where she narrowed her focus on Western Africa through fieldwork and research in Ghana. After graduating, she worked as a junior researcher at the Institute for Work and Society (HIVA), KU Leuven, Belgium and as a project manager, research assistant and junior researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. The common thread throughout her research has been unequal power relations and how local agents deal with adverse incorporation. More recently she has worked on these issues in relation to labour- and workers' organisations- dynamics in West Africa. In October 2014, she will engage in a 2,5 year research project funded by NWO-WOTRO on strategic actors for inclusive development.
While the roles of trade unions and informal workers’ organizations are little understood, these networks can play a significant role in stimulating SME growth on a micro, meso and macro level.