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What Drives the Nature and Form of Informal Cross Border Trade by Women in EAC – “In their own Voices” Continental Conference on Mainstreaming Gender into.

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Presentation on theme: "What Drives the Nature and Form of Informal Cross Border Trade by Women in EAC – “In their own Voices” Continental Conference on Mainstreaming Gender into."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Drives the Nature and Form of Informal Cross Border Trade by Women in EAC – “In their own Voices” Continental Conference on Mainstreaming Gender into Trade Policy United Nations Economic Commission for Africa AFRICAN TRADE POLICY CENTRE Nov- Accra, Ghana

2 Poverty: X border trade subsidizes needs of harsh economic times  Traders provide from across borders essential goods needed in their countries that are affordable by common people.  “I serve mainly poor women and poor people who cannot afford expensive things”. Jan  I have been a shopkeeper in this town for 10 years. Many people know me as a woman who helps poor people by selling at prices they can afford. Even the revenue people and district people buy from me. Esparance- Rwanda

3 Non-uniform/Weak enforcement of tax regimes in some states  Unpredictability of customs officials-  When we got into the business our friends told us that if you go through the border post with goods, expect anything. Your goods may be confiscated, you may be asked to wait & without being told how long, you may even be asked to see the officer at his house. In business you have to prepare well- we only deal with people that we know what they want from us in advance. Cavdencia- Busia border

4 Unreasonable tax enforcement  When you get in through the main border post they count your materials one by one and charge you an impossible tax- you cannot sell and even recover the money you bought the goods at. Do government people want us to die of hunger? No we shall not die. The women traders shall use their brain and connection with real people. People who help us get the goods in through other openings along the border and safely deliver them to our doorsteps”. Jan

5 Demand & supply factors within situations of conflict and war  Closed borders and insecurity - difficulty at moving large volumes of goods safely- shortages of essential goods.  I have secured safe passage for my goods from both rebels and government forces- this people understand that life must continue- they talk even while fighting and they allow those who ensure that they get supplies supplying them. There is no situation where people do not talk- except when they have crossed to the other side. In our business we talk to people who make things move, not to government paper in offices. Even the revenue authority has people. Jan

6 Unreasonable tax enforcement  When you get in through the main border post they count your materials one by one and charge you an impossible tax- you cannot sell and even recover the money you bought the goods at. Do government people want us to die of hunger? No we shall not die. The women traders shall use their brain and connection with real people. People who help us get the goods in through other openings along the border and safely deliver them to our doorsteps”. Jan

7 Resilience shrewdness of the traders  “Men carrying guns are the same whether they work for government for war lords or for themselves- we know how to talk to them so shall we be defeated by people carrying pen and paper and government stamps?”  My customers need the oil so why can’t I get it even as far as the Congo? I always say borders cannot prevent people from trading and helping others.

8 Policies are not implemented  “For us poor people, policy is just paper- it cannot get you anything and you will only annoy someone who will help you and others by telling him what policy says”


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