Document Type

Migration Policy Series

Publication Date



Cross-border trading is an essential part of Mozambique’s informal economy, with the traders playing a key role in supplying commodities that are in scarce supply nationwide. This report presents the results of a SAMP survey of informal entrepreneurs connected to cross-border trade between Johannesburg and Maputo. The study sought to enhance the evidence base on the links between migration and informal entrepreneurship in Southern African cities and to examine the implications for municipal, national and regional policy. In Mozambique, cross-border trading is primarily done by women with men mainly involved in the sale of the products brought back from South Africa. This report demonstrates the specific roles played by the cross-border traders in the economies of both Mozambique and South Africa. It shows that they contribute to the South African economy through buying goods, as well as paying for accommodation and transport costs. The cross-border traders are directly contributing to the retail, hospitality and transport sectors in South Africa, thereby creating and sustaining jobs in those sectors. In Mozambique, the traders pay import duty for the goods bought in South Africa and they play a significant role in reducing poverty and unemployment in the country. Therefore, a change in attitude of government towards cross-border traders is called for and the policy environment should encourage the operation of this trade.