There are many women engaged in informal cross-border trade whose significant contribute to the economy should not be underrated.
During a seminar in Rubavu District on Wednesday, participants agreed to work toward gaining more knowledge and skills to help such traders do their business better.
The three-day training was organised by UN Women to familiarise government authorities with gender-sensitive service delivery and deepen their understanding of regional trade policies and regulations.
‘Train the traders’
More than 35 delegates from revenue agencies, Police and immigration services from the border districts of Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyaruguru, Gisagara, Bugesera, Kirehe, Burera and Gicumbi are attending the workshop.
“Seventy per cent of people dealing with informal cross-border trade are women, their contribution to the economy cannot be overlooked and officials working at borders need to help them understand and do well in their business because some of them make mistakes without knowing,” said Jeanne Francoise Ingabire, the in charge of monitoring, evaluation and gender mainstreaming at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Ingabire said border officials need to train women traders so they do their business in a clear and productive way.
According to Clara Anyangwe, the UN Women deputy representative to Rwanda, the issue should not be ignored anymore but addressed with urgency.
“We organised this training because we know that there are many women engaged in informal cross-border and we also know that poverty reduction is an issue in the country,” she said.
“And because we already have women involved in this trade, we thought it could be important to target these women and we realised that the first specific challenge is in terms of accessing the right services to help them work better and create opportunities for themselves and their families,” Anyangwe added.
She said UN Women is also aware that women in informal cross-border trade are facing issues related to the harassment at the border.
“I am expecting that government officials will be able to facilitate trade for the women as the workshop will enhance officilas’ knowledge on gender issues,” Anyangwe said.
The Rubavu vice mayor in charge economic affairs, Ezechiel Nsengiyumva Buntu, urged the participants to receive and serve those entering the country with distinction.
“We need more businesspersons coming into the country and also for our people to trade with the neighbouring countries,” Nsengiyumva said.
“Women have their vulnerability but they need more support to do well in their business.”
Participants said the workshop was important for their work.