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Accepted Paper:

The Socio-economic Impact Of Covid-19 On Informal Cross-border Traders Between Rwanda And Rdc  
Isidore Murhi (University of Mons and Université Catholique de Bukavu)Héritier Mesa (Université Libre de Bruxelles-University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses the impact of the covid-19 restrictions on informal cross-border trade between the DRC and Rwanda. The data show that newly adopted policies aiming at the formalization of these economic activities appear to lead to further exclusion and informality among traders.

Paper long abstract:

The aim of this study is to understand the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the activities of informal cross-border traders. Using quantitative and qualitative mixed methods, the study highlights some challenges faced by informal cross-border traders, particularly during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result suggests that while most informal cross-border traders were already living a precarious life and prone to poverty, the Coronavirus pandemic has significantly exacerbated their livelihood status. In this context, the lockdown measures and the travel restriction between DRC and Rwanda to contain the spread of the pandemic have had a toll on informal, small-scale cross-border activities. Moreover, newly adopted border policies that aim at formalizing these cross-border trade activities by encouraging group purchase of merchandise appear to have further negative consequences for small-scale cross-border traders. On the contrary, they lead to further exclusion of traders with meager capital and to the perenniality of informality.

Panel P02b
Informality: a way of surviving the post-pandemic city?