Supporting cross-border trade

Many thousands of small traders operate across the eastern borders of the DRC, trading with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia. One of the ways in which they can defend their rights against harassment and illegal taxation is through the Associations de Commerçants Transfrontaliers (ACTs), which are present at each border crossing.

ACT workshop participants in Goma.

ACT workshop participants in Goma.

The associations themselves are, however, often weak and lack the skills and resources necessary to be effective. ÉLAN RDC has been working with the ACTs to tackle these issues. The ultimate aim is to make the associations financially self-supporting and no longer reliant on funding and technical support from donor projects or NGOs.

In April, the ÉLAN RDC team held a workshop in Goma with six of the ACTs as part of the on-going programme of support. The workshop covered membership relations, governance and strategic planning. The aim was to help the associations to explore their own strengths and weaknesses and to make concrete plans to build on the strengths and improve in the areas of weakness. Action plans are now being prepared, with help from the ÉLAN team, to implement the ideas discussed in the workshop.