In Rwanda, new market centres mean improved trade at the border
For Rwandans who sell produce or practice a trade or process goods, proximity to the border means business.
Commerce at these boundaries is active, and many depend on it entirely for income.
But for such entrepreneurial individuals – of which approximately 70 per cent are women and the majority impoverished – such buying and selling is informal, sometimes cumbersome and risky.
Endeavoring for a solution that protects people and supports this lucrative exchange, the Government of Rwanda is establishing cross border market centres on its margins, sites that offer a safe space to engage in trade.
“These cross border markets are being built to make it easier for traders to do business across the border. We have encouraged small-scale traders to mobilize themselves into cooperatives, and they can sell their goods to the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], Uganda or Burundi. And we also encourage traders from the neighboring country to come and rent stall space,” said Patience Ingabire, Trade Specialist at the Rwanda Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“We are trying to build a single community of traders in these places,” she added.
The centres are one element of the Ministry’s trade facilitation efforts targeting small businesses and women who are parts of vital national and regional networks. The Government is working with partners like the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) – both supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) – and the World Bank, among others.