From ‘Panya Roads’ to Formal Regional Trade

Women Cross-Border Traders Learn How to Trade Without Challenges Across Borders

The EAC Secretariat, supported by GIZ African Union Border Programme (GIZ-AUBP) and GIZ support to East African Market driven and People Centred Integration (SEAMPEC), in collaboration with the South Sudan Women Entrepreneurs Association (SSWEA), convened a three-day training for women cross-border traders between Uganda and South Sudan on October 16-18, 2019 at the Elegu One Stop Border Post between Uganda and the Republic of South Sudan.

25 women cross-border traders from Uganda and South Sudan took part in the training, which was carried out in close cooperation with border officials. The women learned how to engage in cross-border trade making use of the economic opportunities provided by the EAC without suffering from harassment and other challenges at border crossing points. Using the ‘EAC Simplified Information Package for Micro and Small-Scale Women Cross Border Traders and Service Providers in the EAC’, the women learned how to apply the EAC trading rules.

Ms. Generose Minani, the EAC Principle Gender and Community Development Officer, who was speaking on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, thanked the Government of Uganda, South Sudan and the management of the One Stop Border Post for allowing the three-day training at the Elegu border post. She said that the mandate for facilitating the women cross border traders derived from articles 121 and 122 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.

She appreciated the support of the GIZ-AUBP and the GIZ-EAC SEAMPEC programme for women in cross-border trade through the Incubator for integration and Development in East Africa (IIDEA).

Ms Jane Gordon, Executive Director of SSWEA said, ‘Most women in Nimule operate as informal traders and find it difficult to trade across borders in East Africa, mainly due to lack of information on trade regulations and safety issues’. Lack of information makes women cross-border traders vulnerable to harassment when crossing border points and reduces their trading power. South Sudan women engaging in cross- border trade contribute to mitigating the impact of conflict by creating employment, thus enhancing income and food security for their families and communities.

Mrs Joyce Kevin Abalo-Kimaro, speaking for GIZ-AUBP and GIZ-SEAMPEC, appreciated the efforts of women cross-border traders in implementing East Africa’s integration on a daily basis. She urged the women traders to use the training to exchange information, build capacities and skills to be able to effectively engage in and benefit from the cross-border trade opportunities available in the region.

The training recommended to create a more enabling environment for women cross-border traders at the border points, among the establishment of a trade information desk and building storage facilities at the one stop border post to facilitate proper storage of the women’s goods while processing import and export.

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