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The Impact Of The COVID-19 Pandemic On Women Informal Cross-Border Traders In Zambia

Trade & Development

In January , 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Corona virus (COVID-19, a global public health emergency. In response to the WHO pronouncement, the government of Zambia, governments of Zambia’s neighbouring countries, and other countries in the world instituted preventive and control measures to contain the outbreak of the pandemic. These included heavy regulation of border crossing from one country to another, in some cases, outright closures of borders, partial or total lock down. These measures tended to have negative impacts on cross border trade to varying degrees. The Objective of this study was to establish the impact of COVID -19, and the subsequent policy responses instituted by the Zambian government, and its neighbours on women cross border trade in Zambia. The typical age group of these types of traders is 36–50 years, followed by 25–35 years. The least age category is over 50 years followed by younger than 25 years. The main products traded by Zambian women cross-border traders include textiles & clothing and food, followed by perfumes and cosmetics. Wines, spirits and beers are the least traded products. The usual frequency of border crossing is once a month.

Typically, all foodstuffs traded by Zambian women cross-border traders come from Tanzania. Clothing mainly comes from Tanzania and some from Thailand and Dubai. Blankets, duvets and bedsheets mainly come from Tanzania, South Africa and Tanzania. Wines, spirits and beers are largely from South Africa. Customers who buy from cross border traders are predominantly female. In most cases, women cross border traders demand cash payment for their products rather than selling on credit. The predominant method of record keeping by women cross border traders is through recording in books. Border closures had by far the most significant effects on women cross-border traders, while in terms of the individual magnitude of the impact on the business, the lockdown had the severest negative impact the lockdown in the manufacturing countries especially South Africa. Covid-19 testing has been required of women traders at borders, mainly body temperature checks. However, at the Kasumbalesa border post between Zambia and Congo, a COVID-19 certificate at a cost of $25 has been required by Congolese border authorities.

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