Deriving maximum benefit from small-scale cross border trade between DRC and Rwanda

In many African border regions, the potential for small-scale cross-border trade to contribute to food security, provide employment and to allow millions of people to have inexpensive access to goods and services unavailable in their own countries is widely recognised.

Thousands of small-scale traders cross the border between DRC and Rwanda every day, selling or purchasing goods, and facilitating access to goods and services unavailable in their own countries. However, some important questions related to this business remain. Little attention has been given to: the identification of the types of infrastructure needed by small-scale cross-border traders for improving their working conditions; the role played by cooperatives and small-scale traders’ associations; understanding of the level of awareness and observance, among small-scale cross-border traders and border officials, of the existing CEPGL and COMESA trading protocols. This study attempts to address those questions.

This study focuses on two border crossings: Goma/Rubavu and Bukavu/Rusizi, as more than 90% of the smallscale trade between the two countries cross these borders (BNR reports). A total of 260 traders were surveyed (139 from DRC, and 121 from Rwanda). Four focus groups and 25 individual in-depth interviews with traders and border officers were conducted.

  • Author(s):
    Dr Nene Morisho Mwanabiningo
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    October 2015
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