Policy seminar: The hidden world of informal African trade
BY TIMOTHY KAROFF
Millions of people in Africa rely on informal trade for their livelihoods. In some African countries, the share of informal exports nearly surpasses the share of formal exports. Nevertheless, data surrounding informal trade remains scarce. This problem of invisibility makes it difficult for researchers and policy makers to understand the realities of informal trade, including the daily challenges and precarious existence that traders—particularly women—face.
“At some border crossings between African countries, customs controls account for most or all of the food and agricultural goods that flow between country borders. At other borders, formal trade statistics tell us next to nothing about the real quantity of the goods crossing the borders,” said IFPRI Research Analyst Julie Kurtz at the start the Dec. 3 IFPRI virtual policy seminar, “Informal African Trade: The Hidden World of Food Flows.”