Food Security Portal Event
Virtual Policy Dialogue

National Policy Dialogue: Informal Cross-Border Trade in Tanzania: Implications for Food Security and Resilience

Event Report
IFPRI, REPOA, and the Food Security Portal

The International Labour Organization estimates that approximately 80% of workers in Africa South of the Sahara are employed in the informal economy. Beyond providing employment, particularly to society’s more vulnerable or marginalized groups – especially women, informal trading plays a critical role in ensuring the food security of both the urban and rural poor. It has been estimated that over 70% of households in Africa south of the Sahara rely on informal vendors and traders for food access.

However, accurate data on informal cross-border trade (ICBT) is lacking due to multiple factors, including smuggling, non-registering of formal trade, under-reporting, and weak data collection systems. This national policy dialogue looked specifically at ICBT across the Tanzania border, focusing on the importance of ICBT for Tanzania’s economy and its implications on food security; the impact of COVID-19 on ICBT; and needed policy reforms to support informal traders, particularly in times of crisis.

The program was as follows:

Speakers: Donald Mmari, ED, REPOA and Teunis van Rheenen, IFPRI

Presentation 1: The Importance of Informal Trade in Africa for Food Security and the Implications of COVID-19
Speaker: Antoine Bouet, SRF, IFPRI

Presentation 2: ICBT in Tanzania
Speaker: Lucas Katera, REPOA

Speaker: Samuel Wangwe, Board Chairman, Eastern Africa Grain Council

Wrap-up and closing
Speakers: Donald Mmari, ED, REPOA and Teunis van Rheenen, IFPRI

Find the summary report here.