Consolidating the gains of women cross border traders in EAC economic integration process


In partnership with Trade Mark East Africa, EASSI has been implementing a project entitled, “Consolidating the gains of Women Cross Border Traders in the EAC Economic Integration process”. This project recognizes that trade policy reform in the EAC region needs to be inclusive of women doing business across the region. Under this project, EASSI works with women cross border traders at selected East African border points to identify opportunities that are provided for in various EAC trade instruments such as the Customs Union and Common Market protocols and enable women benefit just like their male counterparts in the integration process, and to contribute to an enabling gender responsive trade environment. Th project is implemented closely with;

  • Revenue Authorities in the EAC partner states.
  • Immigration departments.
  • Ministries of trade across the EAC
  • Ministries of EAC in the different partner states.
  • Government departments and agencies on trade.
  • Private sector
  • Like-minded Civil Society Organizations


3000 women cross border traders have increased income by June, 2018)


  • Improved trade environment at border points for women traders.
  • Increased representation of women traders on border management committees.
  • Increased access to market and trade/ trading information by women traders.
  • Increased use of formal cross border trading systems by women traders.
  • Enhanced policy, regulatory environment for WCBTs.
  • Reduction of trade barriers faced by Women Cross Border Traders (WCBTs)


We work at different border points in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania.They include;

  • Malaba border (Kenya/Uganda)
  • Busia border (Kenya/Uganda)
  • Mutukula border (Tanzania/Uganda)
  • Mirama Hills/ Kagitumba border (Uganda/ Rwanda)
  • Katuna border (Rwanda/Uganda)
  • Holili/Taveta border (Kenya/Tanzania)
  • Namanga border (Kenya/Tanzania)
  • Kabanga/Kobero border (Burundi/Tanzania)


  • Policy review on trade policies and regulatory frameworks.
  • Dissemination of trade information through established resource and information centers.
  • Training women traders on EAC customs and immigration procedures.
  • Formation and facilitation of National, Border and regional women traders Associations.
  • Piloting the charter for Cross Border Trade at Mirama Hills/ Kagitumba Border.
  • Transforming Women traders associations into cooperatives.
  • Facilitating dialogue meetings between border officials and women traders.
  • Capacity building for Women cross border traders.

Information and Resource centers

To ensure women traders have unlimited access to trade information and have a place to call their own, EASSI established information and resource centers at different border points. The information and resource centers act as a point of linkage between the women traders, border officials and other stakeholders seeking to engage with women traders.

  • Busia Women Trader’s Information and Resource Centers (Busia border area, Uganda)
  • Katuna Resource Women Traders Information and Resource Center (Katuna border area, Uganda)
  • Mutukula Women Traders Information and Resource Center (Mutukula border area, Opp. Tanzania police station)
  • Taveta Women Traders Information and Resource Center (Taveta border area, Kenya)
  • Namanga Women Traders Information and Resource Center
  • Mirama Hills Women Traders Information and Resource Center.


The different women cross border trade associations below were formed by EASSI  with the kind support of Trade Mark East Africa.

  • Busia Uganda women cross border traders association.
  • Busia Kenya women cross border traders association.
  • Malaba Uganda women cross border traders association.
  • Malaba Kenya women cross border traders association.
  • Taveta women cross border traders association.
  • Holili women cross border traders association.
  • Katuna women cross border traders association.
  • Mutukula women cross border traders association.
  • Mirama Hill women cross border traders association.
  • Namanga women cross border traders association.

Charter for Cross Border Traders

The charter for cross border trade stipulates the Basics rights and obligations for traders and officials at the border. The charterwhich was launched by the World Bank has since been adopted by some EAC partner states and isbeing piloted at the Kagitumba Mirama Hills border by EASSI with support from Trade Mark. Go to IECs page

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Key Project Achievements

  • Over 10,000 women traders registered in the EASSI Database.
  • 50% of the target traders registered a 10% increase in their monthly income as a result of personally clearing their goods.
  • 70% increase of women traders using the formal border crossing.
  • Improved relationship between border agencies and women traders.
  • Enhanced market and network linkages amongst traders from different border points.
  • Increased understanding of EAC customs and immigration procedures amongst women traders.
  • Increased confidence by the women traders.

Persistent challenges still include;

  • Non-harmonization of policies by partner states for example road user fees.
  • Poor communication on change in tariffs and introduction of new levies by partner states.
  • Limited efforts by partner states to reach out to women traders.
  • Lack of data on informal traders

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