Addressing informal cross-border trade and security in IGAD region
IGAD's Conflict Early Waming and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) hosted a meeting of IGAD Member State officials of Trade, Customs and Security on Addressing the nexus between Informal Cross-border Trade and Cross-border Security Governance in the IGAD region on 22-23 March 2016 in Addis Ababa.
IGAD Executive Secretary Amb. Mahboub Maalim and the Director for Trade and Industry Division of the African Union Commission, Mrs. Treasure Maphanga spoke at the opening of the meeting on 22 March and emphasized the critical importance of borderlands; security and development for the peace and prosperity of the entire IGAD region.
Informal Cross-border Trade was also recognized as a dynamic that happens on a large scale in all cross-border areas of IGAD with a potential that can be harnessed for ensuring security in the borderlands and improving the livelihood of communities residing in border areas. Security concerns related to the largely unregulated nature of informal cross-border trade was also raised.
Representatives of Trade and Customs authorities from IGAD Member States have shared their perspectives and concerns in relation to policy frameworks governing Informal cross-border trade as well as challenges in implementation.
The meeting is part of an ongoing collaborative pilot policy initiative among CEWARN, the Life & Peace Institute (LPI), the Organization of Social Science Research for Eastern and Southem Africa (OSSREA) and the InterAfrica Group (IAG) that is aimed at fostering dialogue and collaborative engagement among communities, civil society, the academia and governments on peace and security policy issues in the Horn of Africa. The initiative's end goal is to stimulate regional policies that are evidence-based and sensitive to local dynamics and perspectives.
The 22-23 March meeting follows extensive knowledge harvest work done by the partner organizations in academic and civil society sectors on the correlation between informal crossborder trade and cross-border security governance in the IGAD region.