Rapid urbanization rates and the proliferation of informal activities in vulnerable locations present significant challenges to urban resilience and adaptation particularly in cities seeking to reduce poverty and improve economic growth. Inclusive urban governance has been identified as being vital to building resilience. Informal employment is the life blood of African cities, as evidenced by the multitude of street traders which abound in urban areas. However in recent times many city authorities in Africa have adopted neo-liberal development policies which have led to the sanitization of public space and displacement of street traders, as well as a consequent worsening of the already precarious working conditions of traders and a significant damage of their limited associational structure, thus reducing their capacity to participate in urban governance. Through a case study of Lagos, Nigeria which possesses the largest informal economy in Africa, this paper examines the challenges which associations of the working poor face and the effect of this on urban resilience efforts. By exploring the experiences of street traders, the paper aims to investigate their current forms of organisation, their role in urban governance and how these factors can enhance or hinder urban resilience and adaptation.