A New Institutional Economics Approach to Cross Border Small Business: A Case Study of Goma/Gisenyi Border


Dr. Nene Morisho

Research Area:


The border Goma-Gisenyi separates two countries which have experienced two wars between 1996 and 2002. These countries show profound economical and political differences: a weak political and economical state in Congo and a strong and omnipresent state in Rwanda. These two different orders affect in one way or another the living conditions of populations of Goma and Gisenyi who are then obliged to resort on the border by involving is small cross border trade and smuggling in order to survive. The analysis of the functioning of cross border trade and smuggling at Goma/Gisenyi border and its impact on the local economy of the two cities will require an interdisciplinary, multi-method approach. Hence, the approach is informed by political geography and the economics of smuggling and of official and unofficial cross-border trade.

The aim of this study is then to analyse how the border economy in Goma-Gisenyi is shaped by small-scale trade and smuggling and to understand what these activities tell us about state society relations and the legitimacy of the state.