Since the election of President Buhari in Nigeria in 2015, Niger’s trade is undermined by increased border controls that aim at limiting the import of banned products.
A new paper published by Cahiers d’Outre-Mer with Moustapha Koné shows that Nigeria’s unilateral decision to close its borders could jeopardize re-export trade and border cities in the region.
Re-exports are goods imported legally into countries, such as Benin, with low trade barriers, and shipped through informal channels to countries with higher barriers such as Nigeria. Second-hand textile, for example, is shipped from Western countries and China to Cotonou, from which it is informally imported into Nigeria.
Our article confirms that imports have declined since the early 2010s in the Nigerien border city of Gaya, which serves as a regional crossroads for second-hand textile in West Africa.
Local traders have adopted different strategies to cope with Nigeria’s border closure. Some have opened new smuggling routes. Others have diversified their activities or invested in agricultural production. Some are also considering leaving the region if Nigerian borders remain closed any longer.
Photo by Babatunde Olajide on Unsplash.