Leif Petersen

Leif Petersen

Title: Co-Director
Hometown: Queensland, Australia
Qualification: PhD (UQ); MSc (cum laude); B.App.Sci (Hons)
Email address: leif.petersen@livelihoods.org.za

Leif is a social entrepreneur and social ecologist with a range of research and personal interests pertaining to people and the environment, informal economy culture and business practice. Leif completed his PhD in 2013 with the University of Queensland, studying Cape Town’s informal economy of natural resources and traditional medicines. Leif has worked throughout southern and eastern Africa and Asia-Pacific before jointly founding SLF in 2010. Outside of the office Leif busies himself with crisis management of his two small children, surfing, cricket, hiking and commuting. Leif has lived in South Africa for fourteen years.

For a more in-depth and comprehensive view of Leif’s publication history, please visit his Research Gate profile.


Charman A, Herrick C and L Petersen. 2014. ‘Formalising Urban Informality: Micro-Enterprises and the Regulation of Liquor in Cape Town’, The Journal Of Modern African Studies.

Charman AJE and LM Petersen. 2015. Chapter 4. A Transnational Space of Business: The Informal Economy of Ivory Park, Johannesburg. Mean Streets. Migration, Xenophobia and Informality in South Africa. Southern African Migration Programme, the African Centre for Cities, International Development Research Centre.

Charman AJE, Petersen LM and T Govender. 2015. Street trade in Ivory Park, in Mortenbock, P. and H. Mooshammer. Informal Market Worlds. The architecture of economic pressure. NAI010 Publishers.

Charman AJ, Petersen L, Piper L, Liedeman R and T Legg. 2015. Small Area Census Approach to Measure the Township Informal Economy in South Africa. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1558689815572024.

Charman A, L Petersen and T Govender. 2014. ‘Shebeens As Spaces and Places of Informality, Enterprise, Drinking and Sociability’, South African Geographical Journal.

Charman A, Petersen L and L Piper. 2013. Enforced Informalisation: The Case of Liquor Retailers in South Africa. Development Southern Africa.

Charman A, Petersen L and L Piper. 2012. From Local Survivalism To Foreign Entrepreneurship: The Transformation of the Spaza Sector in Delft, Cape Town. Transformation, 78.

Liedeman R, Charman A, Piper L and L Petersen. 2013. Why Are Foreign-Run Spaza Shops More Successful? The Rapidly Changing Spaza Sector in South Africa. Econ3x3.

Petersen L, Charman A and F Kroll. 2017. Trade Dynamics in Cape Town Township Informal Foodservice – A Qualitative and Supply Chain Study. Development Southern Africa. 1 (35). 70-89. Doi: 10.1080/0376835x.2017.1412297

Petersen LM, Charman AJ, Moll EJ, Collins RJ, and MT Hockings. 2014. Bush Doctors and Wild Medicine: The Scale of Trade in Cape Town’s Informal Economy of Wild-Harvested Medicine and Traditional Healing. Society & Natural Resources. 27(3):315-336.