The realities of cross-border trade between Sierra Leone and its neighbours

Policy brief Firms and Trade

  • It is increasingly recognised that Informal Cross Border Trade in Africa and in particular, the Mano River Union (MRU) countries is critical owing to its broader impact on the economies of these countries.
  • This brief analyses the extent of informal cross-border trade, particularly in terms of the volume, value, direction, and composition of imports and exports in the MRU.
  • The researchers find a large level of informal trade exists within the MRU largely due to a weak trade facilitation process along the main borders, making trading along the formal borders lengthy and costly.
  • The researchers make a series of policy recommendations that policymakers can implement in the short- and long-term that will simplify trade along borders and ultimately reduce the amount of untaxed trade along borders.