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Zambia Small-Scale Cross Border Trade report published

During the period 2019–2021, the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZamStats) conducted a Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Baseline Survey (SSCBT) to analyse cross-border informal trade flows at the country’s borders, and specifically, at four (4) selected border posts (Kasumbalesa, Nakonde, Mwami and Chirundu), where such a kind of trade is continually increasing. A recently published report presents the findings of such survey by describing the magnitude of small-scale cross border transactions occurring at these borders. Additionally, information is provided on the composition of commodities transacted under SSCBT, with an estimate of trade flows in terms of values and quantities, an analysis on the direction of trade (i.e. country of destination/origin), its gender composition and of the means of transport used (e.g., bicycles, motorbikes, etc).

The survey on small-scale cross border trade has been conducted on both the direct observation and interview techniques, integrated by additional inquiries made to traders, clearing agents, revenue officers and security personnel active at the above border posts.

One of the major findings from the study is that Kasumbalesa border is the border post with the highest volumes of small-scale trade exports, followed by Nakonde and Mwami. Regarding informal imports, Nakonde border recorded the highest value, followed by Chirundu, Mwami and Kasumbalesa. Main export products for the period 2019 to 2021 for the four borders are represented by frozen fish, followed by soya beans, dried kapenta (lake Tanganyika sardine) and sweet biscuits, waffles and wafers. These four products accounted for 33.5 percent of total SSCBT export earnings during the review period. In terms of imports, the top-five products informally traded at the above border posts are rice (semi-milled or wholly milled rice), dried kapenta, irish potatoes, dried beans and wheat flour. These products collectively accounted for 56.2 percent of the SSCBT Import Bill during the period 2019 to 2021.

The report also shows that products informally exchanged vary for each border post: soft drinks for instance dominate informal exports at the Chirundu border, while at the Kasumbalesa border, frozen mackerel and dried fish are the main export products. In the case of Mwami border, the top exported products are soft drinks, an opaque beer made from malt called Chibuku, while soya beans are the highest exported products at the Nakonde border, followed by maize. Regarding imports, the main SSCBT import products are typically manufactured products. At Chirundu border for instance, such imports are made up of handbags, sacks and bags, while at the Kasumbalesa border, the top three SSCBT import products are chitenge material (printed plain cotton weave), beauty make-up skin-care and sacks of polymers of ethylene. On the other hand, the main SSCBT import products at Mwami border are protein concentrates and textured protein, sacks and bags of polymers and sunflower-seed and safflower oil (excl. crude).

With regard to the gender distribution of informal traders, although results vary according to the selected border post, the findings of the study show that women not always dominate informal trade in Africa, as it is usually believed. Only at Chirundu, for instance, female traders are the majority, while at Kasumbalesa and Mwami male traders represent about 80% of informal traders, while at Nakonde male traders are more than 74.4 percent. However, the study also admits the difficulties of capturing the variable on sex of traders during data collection since most traders use agents and transporters to move goods across borders.

In terms of modality, the report shows that most of informal traded goods are transported through motor vehicles, while only a small part of them is carried by persons moving from one side to another of borders.





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