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Coping Strategies, Asset Analysis and Outcomes of Informal Small-Scale Traders at Namanga Border Point: A Case of The East African Common Market Protocol

Abstract: The EAC Common Market Protocol which calls for free movement of the labor market, capital market and services market was signed in 2009 and operationalized in 2010. The main objective of the Common Market Protocol is to accelerate economic development and foster social ties of the East African citizenry through the elimination of barriers to regional trade and movement of East African nationals. Free movement of East African citizens and labouras per the Protocol in which member states agreed to ease movement of EAC nationals within East Africa. One of the major unifying factors in the region is the trade that has existed between border communities and the region for a very long time. Formal and informal small scale cross-border trade is a phenomenal that is thriving in almost all the Africa borders, East Africa and its community being part of. Despite this form of trade and its practices being identified by a number of researchers and scholars as an effective intervention in mitigating the prevailing poverty levels in the region and the border communities, informal small scale traders continue to face unfair competition from the already established enterprises as well as unending conflict with border security personnel, authorities and some prolonged custom procedures. It is in that regard that this study sought to explain and interrogate on the effects of the protocol: especially the experiences of the small scale cross border traders, the regulations that come with its implementation and the coping mechanisms that they have adopted to be able to do their business and day to day activities.Keywords: East African Community (EAC), One Stop Border Point (OSBP), Informal Cross Border Trade (ICBT), County Governments, Vulnerability, Coping Strategies and Livelihood.

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