Geo-Strategic and Historical Linkages as Major Factors for the Growth of Female Trans-border Trade Along the Mamfe-Ekok-Ikom Corridor between Cameroon and Nigeria, 1988– 2016
In some parts of Africa, women have been conspicuous along trade routes and very active in trans-border commerce for many years. This phenomenon is not uncommon along the borders between Cameroon and its neighbours as was the case in the trans-border trade between Cameroon and Nigeria, especially along the Mamfe-Ekok-Ikom trajectory. It is rather unfortunate that some scholars tend to undermine the role of women along this route as they have erroneously stigmatised them as commercial sex workers (prostitutes) blaming it on the economic crisis that rocked the foundations of national and local economies in various parts of Africa. This study, however, sets out to examine the geo-historical dynamics that disposed women into trans-border trade in the said corridor. With the aid of primary and secondary sources and the use of qualitative analysis using the interdisciplinary approach, various conclusions denoted. The article underscores the view that the natural milieu and historical linkages of the Mamfe-Ekok-Ikom corridor predisposed women into trans-border trade given the proximity and socio-cultural ties of the border communities. The findings reveal that women involvement in trans-border trade within the Mamfe-Ekok-Ikom corridor was rather a natural integration into the historical process of human interactions in a definite geographical setting. The natural environment provided the material conditions for the increased involvement of women in trans-border trade in the area. It is hoped that this perspective shall debunk the stigma associated with misinterpretation of the presence of women in the said trajectory and to rather raise awareness of the women’s ability and legitimacy in exploiting the opportunities in trade along the area. It will, therefore, serve as an eye-opener to policymakers to rethink and to valorise women’s contribution in trans-border trade within the corridor.
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