The total labor force in 2002 was estimated at 1.9 million, mostly in small subsistence farming. Of the total labor force, over 90% was engaged in agriculture.
Workers are legally permitted to form and join unions, although the army, gendarmie, and foreign workers are prohibited from unionizing. Urban civil servants make up the majority of union members. Approximately 60% of the 80,000 formal private sector employees and virtually all public sector employees are union members. The current Labor Code permits strikes but only after alternative remedies have been exhausted and six days notice given. Unions are permitted to be affiliated with international organizations.
The labor code restricts child labor but international organizations reported in 1999 that 48% of children between ages 10 and 14 years worked. The minimum age for military service is 18, but there are numerous reports of child soldiers. In 2002, there was a formal minimum wage set at $0.14 to $0.2 per day, depending on the region of the country. This is a below subsistence income for a family, so most families rely on second incomes and subsistence agriculture as well.