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Gender Dimensions of Informal Cross Border Trade in West-African Sub-Region (ECOWAS) Borders

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The aim of this paper is to examine the dynamics of women in cross border trade along ECOWAS sub region. West African region is noted significantly for high volume of trade that goes on within its borders on daily basis, and it involves formal and informal trade. Informal trade however, is an integral, but unrecognized component of ECOWAS economic activities. Over sixty percent of women are into informal trading across ECOWAS sub region, yet, there is gap in literature on the dynamics of these regional women traders across sub- ECOWAS region. Using qualitative method of data collection, a significant number of women traders in informal cross border in sub ECOWAS region were interviewed on their motivations, trade operations, challenges, and coping strategies. The findings reveal that there are several insecurities posed by informalities of women trading practices. These insecurities are associated with activities of law- enforcement agents and touts coupled with the facts that women traders are not knowledgeable about the procedures that guide international trade. Despite several challenges posed by informal cross border trade, women traders had devised coping strategies to negotiate these challenges. Majority of women utilized income generated to support themselves, their spouses and children and above all, it had enabled them to live above poverty level, which is one of millennium goals. The paper recommends that informal economic activities of women in cross border trade needs to recognized for holistic policy to be formulated and, women need vigorous education on the law that guide the rules and procedures of regional trade.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 29)
S. O. Yusuff, "Gender Dimensions of Informal Cross Border Trade in West-African Sub-Region (ECOWAS) Borders", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 29, pp. 19-33, 2014
Online since:
June 2014

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