n AFFRIKA Journal of Politics, Economics and Society - An analysis of unrecorded trade and market integration along two African border communities

Volume 5, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 1998-4936
  • E-ISSN: 2075-6534


The paper examines and analyses unrecorded trade across Imeko-Afon (Benin Republic) and Ajassor/Mfum-Ekok (Nigeria-Cameroon) borders. An analysis of the empirical data derived from these border(s) reveal the causes, consequences, organization, profits and expenses including the factors that motivate people to participate in trade across borders and the nature of the linkages with the official economy. It was discovered that in both cases, the loss of unpaid taxes and profits to governments due to unrecorded trade is enormous. Recent publications of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identify progress towards regional market integration as central to a long-term development strategy in Africa. It points out the failure of co-operation through formal regional organizations, as official figures show that inter-African trade remains low. It is argued that inter-regional trade is already flourishing at the micro or unofficial levels whereas this is ignored by conventional state-centric studies. It has become imperative and urgent for African scholars and policy makers to build new concepts of economic co-operation and management based on the realities of African history and recognizes the neglected, informal sector. On the strength of its findings, the paper argues that, given the failure of economic unions, success might be more likely if the micro markets that are propelling integration across African borders can be galvanized, recognized and legalized for wider regional economic integration.

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