The NEPAD Spanish Fund and Communaute Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs (CEPGL) have officially handed over a newly built trans-border market facility to women entrepreneurs in the Great Lake Region. The market venue will provide a formalised structure for women cross-border traders between Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to sell their goods and produce to a regional market.
Speaking at the hand-over ceremony in Kavimvira, DRC, NEPAD Spanish Fund Manager for Francophone countries, Dr Rokhaya Ndiaye Fall said that the market venue will help the women to sustain their family livelihoods while contributing to the economic integration of the region. “The project is also an opportunity to bring about peace and security in this area which has been affected by instability,” she said.
In 2012, the NEPAD Spanish fund contributed 270 000 Euros to CEPGL, an NGO that helps coordinate regional activities of women involved in informal cross border trade within the Great Lake region countries.
Programme Manager for Francophone countries, Dr Rokhaya Ndiaye Fall speaking during the inauguration
Cross border trade between these countries is a key economic activity, especially for women. However, they still often face challenges such as gender inequality, lack of access to resources and trade facilities.
Speaking on behalf of the women’s association, Mrs Mbabare Jeanne, said that the handing over of the market to the association is an opportunity long awaited for. “We have been involved in cross border trade for years and we have had challenges, but today we know that one of those challenges – lack of access to a suitable market venue, has been eradicated. We will now work as a united front to ensure that informal cross border trade is seen as a well coordinated, profit making and unifying factor in the Great Lake Region. We are pleading with all leaders to see this as evidence that the region can work together to even bring about peace within the region and the continent,“ she said.
Marché Pilote Transfrontalier de Kavimvira
Apart from contributing towards building the market, a portion of the funding given to CEPGL went towards capacity building initiatives for the women and customs officials. A guarantee fund was also set up for them to have access to micro credit facilities.
The NEPAD Spanish Fund support to CEPGL for this project ended on February 28 this year.