Bureau régional de la FAO pour l'Afrique

FAO conference on the large-scale and rapidly expanding world of informal cross-border trade in Africa: Kigali

FMM/GLO/103/MUL: Support to Women Small Traders involved in Cross Border Trade of Agricultural Produce in RWANDA

FAO conference in Kigali presents new findings on the large-scale and rapidly expanding world of informal cross-border trade in Africa.

Cross-border trade (CBT) refers to trade in goods and services between neighboring countries and mostly to trade that takes place close to the borders. It is often referred as informal cross-border trade as it involves small entrepreneurs and traders who buy and sell in informal markets. CBT is also important not only for poverty-reduction but also from a gender perspective. In the Great Lakes Region, the majority of informal small CBT traders are women (74%), only 10% of which are members of traders associations or cooperatives. Cross-border trade offers employment and income opportunities to women, contributing to poverty alleviation, improved household livelihoods and women empowerment. Women small traders involved in informal cross-border trade contribute to the improvement of health, food security and nutrition for their household, spending 48% of their income on food, rent, education and healthcare services. Women involved in informal cross-border trade often are the only generators of income at the household level, for which policy, technical and financial support as well as acknowledgement of their crucial role from a socio-economic perspective is essential.