BUJUMBURA March 31st (ABP) – As part of the implementation of the activities of the regional non-governmental organization “Eastern African sub-regional support initiative for the advancement of women (EASSI)”, the Burundian section represented by the collective of associations and Women’s NGOs of Burundi (CAFOB), organized, on Tuesday March 29, 2023 in Bujumbura, a national dialogue on the promotion of women who practice cross-border trade.
On that occasion, the assistant to the Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Jean Claude Kanene, said that in order to help women engaged in small cross-border trade, the government of Burundi has developed the national cross-border trade strategy and has implemented a comprehensive solution to improve that type of trade.
Mr. Kanene thanked the speakers such as CAFOB, the association of repatriated women from Burundi (AFRABU) and Trademark for the help they give to women who do small cross-border trade and challenges other women who practice this type of trade in an informal way to join those who have already learned the importance of working in a formal way so as not to expose themselves to danger.
Mr. Kanene encouraged them to use information and communication technology (ICT) even in money transfer to be as innovative as the theme of the international women’s day says “a leadership committed to global digitalization in favor of gender equality”. He said that the said ministry is committed to supporting those women by removing the barriers that prevent them from working freely.
In an interview she gave to the press, the vice-president of CAFOB, Mrs. Christine Ntunzwenimana indicated that CAFOB in collaboration with EASSI is implementing the project “Making trade work for women”. She also clarified that this project aims to facilitate women traders living along the borders to integrate into the East African community and improve their social and economic well-being.
The vice-president of CAFOB also pointed out that the latter was able to bring together 300 women on the side of Burundi in Muyinga province in Kobero and 300 women on the side of Kabanga in Tanzania practicing this type of trade to be able to know each other and exchange because, they work in the same field.
Regarding the challenges, Mrs. Ntunzwenimana noted the lack of sufficient means for her wives, ignorance of the law governing cross-border trade, the absence of a bank guarantee to access credit in order to compete with other women from neighboring countries such as Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda and Uganda.
Mrs. Ntunzwenimana took advantage of this opportunity to challenge bankers to help these women to have access to unsecured loans because she said that these Burundian women have the courage to work to catch up with other women from neighboring countries.
She pointed out that these women have already taken a significant step because, she explained, previously they practiced informal trade without NIF or registration, and did not even see the importance of having those documents.
Those women thanked CAFOB, AFRABU and Trademark for the capacity building for them, which enabled them to move from informal trading to formal trading.