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A new Cross Border Trade Strategy in the Offing

The Ministry of Trade and Industry together with other government agencies affiliated to trade had initiated national consultations aimed to update the previous National Cross Border Trade Strategy (2012-2017) which was launched back in 2012.

Recognizing the importance of Cross-Border Trade (CBT) as a major component of business in the country and a particularly important avenue for poverty alleviation with a strong gender impact, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) developed a National Cross Border Trade Strategy that sought to align this cluster of trade with trade related policies and other existing Government policies focusing on a market led approach to expand CBT. Whereas its implementation has since registered tremendous achievements, there have also been newly emerging challenges and issues which called for the review and updating of the strategy to consolidate the gains made and propel the country into the new decade.

Despite significant progress towards effective regional integration and other relevant trade facilitation mechanisms, cross-border trade between Rwanda and its neighbors remains highly underdeveloped. Supporting and formalizing CBT and increasing the value of traders’ businesses could thus significantly contribute to the country’s overall growth and development.

To this end, MINICOM has managed to leverage significant support from development partners to support Cross Border Trade (CBT) prosperity in the country and in the region. Partners active in support include, Trade Mark east Africa & the World Bank through its Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project which is funding development of key trade infrastructure which include construction of Cross Border Markets (CBMs).

Numerous studies highlight that border economies, especially in Africa, benefit greatly from cross-border trade in that it enhances food security, provides employment, and allows millions of people to have access to goods and services unavailable in their own countries, or at cheaper prices.

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