Subverting Borders, Precarity and Vulnerability : The Socio-economic Impact of Covid-19 on Informal Cross-border Traders Between Rwanda and RDC

By : Héritier Raphaël Mesa N and Isidore Murhi M. 


The aim of this study is to understand the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the activities of informal cross-border traders. Using quantitative and qualitative mixed methods, the study highlights some of the challenges faced by informal cross-border traders, particularly during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result suggests that while most informal cross-border traders were already living a precarious life and prone to poverty, the Coronavirus pandemic has significantly exacerbated their livelihood status. In this context, the lockdown measures and the travel restriction between DRC and Rwanda to contain the spread of the pandemic have had a toll on informal, small-scale cross-border activities. Moreover, newly adopted border policies which encourage group purchase of merchandises appear to have further negative consequences for small-scale cross-border traders, by excluding those with meagre capital, and raises new issues related to the delivery and quality of goods.

Key words : Covid-19 ; Cross-border ; DRC ; Informal ; ICBT ; Pandemic ; Rwanda.

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