Cross Border trade is increasingly given prominent importance in Africa's economic transformation and the well-being of traders involved in business across borders. It is a key vehicle for promoting regional integration which is essential for economic growth in contemporary globalized markets. However, while cross-border trade has been an outstanding factor for economic growth in other regions such as East Asia, and Western Europe, African countries are yet to take full advantage of this trade. This study reviewed and synthesized 18 articles that explore cross-border cooperatives and small-scale traders in East Africa. The study systematically selected and extracted articles published in English in Google scholar (2000-August 2021), using the PRISMA 2009 protocol, and conducted frequency analysis to assess and investigate the findings of selected articles and where necessary use interviews with key informants to fill the gap identified in the review. The findings suggest that challenges associated with small-scale cross-border trade were the main influence for small-scale traders to participate in cross-border cooperatives according to 28% of the 18 consolidated studies. Cross-border cooperatives improved the socio-economic conditions of members according to 55% of the studies through pooling resources, reduction of transaction cost, and representation of traders in public space and were also essential to keep traders stay in the business during Covid-19 pandemic lockdown according to 17% of reviewed articles. Compiled evidence indicated ambiguous outcomes with regards to specific roles of cross-border cooperatives. Therefore, future research should focus on the specific roles and effects of cross-border cooperatives on cross-border trade in specific East African countries.

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Bergeijk, Peter A.G. van
Economics of Development (ECD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Dushimimana, Gerard. (2021, December 17). Exploring cross-border cooperatives and small-scale traders in Eastern Africa with a focus on Rwanda. Economics of Development (ECD). Retrieved from