5th August, 2020 : The informal crossborder trade (ICBT) policy framework seeks to leverage policy and regulatory shifts in ICBT as a viable means to transform the lives of millions of people living in the borderlands of the IGAD region and promote peace and stability crossborder areas. It seeks to enhance the integration of the Horn of Africa and, at the same time, reduce the incidence of cross-border instability and conflict. Through IDDRSI IL project funded by USAID, a virtual meeting was organized on 5th August, 2020 to create awareness on the same to the public and private sectors.  Dr. SJM Munyua, the Director of ICPALD made a welcome remark and Vincent Githinji, on behalf of the Director of Livestock Production, MoALFC made opening remark. They informed participants that awareness on ICBT and CBSG to traders as well as the public sector is of paramount importance if the member states will be able to turn informal trade into formal. Majority of traders engage into informal trade due to inadequate knowledge of what formal trade entails, mostly fueled by cartels who want to fleece those small scale traders engaged in crossborder trade. Fifty-nine participants invited from border officials, traders of livestock and staple grain, customs, national bureau of standards, East Africa Trade Mark and border security personnel, CEWARN, ICPALD and USAID attended the meeting. The following recommendations were made:

  1. IGAD member states should strengthen border security governance by including local governance structures and relevant community associations to monitor crossborder informal trade in long porous borders devoid of government law enforcement institutions
  2. Governments should upgrade the one stop border posts to take on board human health issues to the level of pandemics in addition to strengthening laboratory testing capacities according to the needs of each
  3. There is need for more awareness creation about the ICBT policy framework with key messages targeting taxable quantities of goods and commodities to mitigate tax evasion by unaware small-scale traders
  4. Grades and standards user agencies and ministries should do more dissemination to mainstream private sector users to enhance compliance in order to promote inter/ intra-regional trade in livestock, staple grains and other goods
  5. IGAD member states should strive to harmonize grades and standards of their tradable commodities to promote regional trade as well as exploit African continental market after the launch of AfCFTA agreement come January, 2021
  6. It is important to advocate for more one stop border posts (OSBP) within IGAD member states to increase government regulations along their long porous unregulated borders to ease movements and promote formal crossborder
  7. IGAD member states should develop more infrastructures such as border markets, water pans, roads, laboratories, fodder banks, holding grounds etc along their common borders to facilitate more formal crossborder trade
  8. IGAD member states should work on ways to eliminate non-tariff barriers (NTBs) among themselves to promote crossborder trade regionally


Acknowledgement: ICPALD expresses appreciation to USAID for funding this activity