On February 3, 2016, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub presented on gender issues in cross-border trade to several USAID bureaus and departments, including the USAID Bureau for Africa, USAID Office of Trade and Regulatory Reform, Bureau for Food Security, the USAID Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, the Department of Commerce, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
The Trade Hub is currently undertaking a gender assessment of women’s roles in informal cross-border trade across Southern Africa. The Trade Hub hopes to leverage its connections with border agents and customs officials to identify innovative solutions to address gender constraints and prevent gender-based violence at border crossings. The presentation covered the methodology of the gender assessment, which includes literature and policy reviews as well as fieldwork in Botswana, Zambia, and Malawi.
Women informal cross-border traders experience constraints such as higher transaction costs; lack of access to information on procedures, rights, and processes; and limited access to transportation. Furthermore, lack of physical security at border crossings increases the vulnerability of female informal cross-border traders to harassment and different forms of gender-based violence.
The USAID Africa Bureau has invited the Trade Hub to follow up on this presentation to share the results of the gender assessment when completed.
Photo: The Trade Hub’s Lis Meyers gives a presentation on gender aspects of cross-border trade in Africa