Women Without Borders: Gender and Informal Cross-Border Trade

Mar 08, 2017


Around 70 to 80 percent of informal cross-border traders (ICBT) in the southern Africa region are women. Although cross-border trade helps many women become economically empowered, it can also make them extremely vulnerable to harassment and gender-based violence from corrupt border agents. These women also experience high taxation and trade regulations, unsanitary working conditions, and limited access to credit facilities and information on market opportunities.

Join Microlinks and Agrilinks this International Women's Day (March 8) for a special seminar where presenters will ​discuss new findings and recommendations on how to address these constraints through specific infrastructure, communications and training, regulatory support and direct support. These recommendations are critical to not only reduce constraints and challenges women ICBTs face in the region but can also help to improve trade facilitation as well as promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

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Lis Meyers
Banyan Global

Lis Meyers is the Senior Gender Specialist at Banyan Global, where she focuses on gender integ

ration and women’s empowerment across sectors. She has led research on child, early and forced marriage, women’s role in informal cross border trade, and gender-related social norms. She is also a facilitator of the SEEP Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group and currently chairing the technical advisory committee for the 2017 Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Learning Forum. Ms. Meyers is an experienced gender trainer, and has designed and facilitated gender 101 and advanced gender integration trainings, as well as Persuasive Communication and Negotiation workshops for women entrepreneurs and business owners. From 2012 to 2016, Ms. Meyers served as a Gender Advisor for the Southern Africa Trade Hub, where she designed, oversaw, and co-wrote “Women Cross-Border Traders in Southern Africa: Contributions, Constraints, and Opportunities.” Ms. Meyers has led and managed gender work in Southern Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Cambodia, and the Philippines.   Ms. Meyers has a Master’s Degree with Distinction from the London School of Economics and a BA in History from Brown University.

Sait Mboob

Sait Mboob is a Foreign Service Officer at USAID.  He serves as an economist

and most recently completed a tour in USAID's regional office in Bangkok, Thailand. During that tour, he managed the U.S. Government's economic growth portfolio in Laos. He also performed regional economic analyses, including in Timor-Leste and the Philippines. In his current Washington, D.C. assignment, Sait works on a multi-donor public-private partnership that focuses on promotion of the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization. He also serves as USAID's liaison to the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) - the U.S. Government's other development agency.