International Alert

Making trade work for peace in the Great Lakes


Small-scale cross-border trade plays an important role in enabling the flow of (mainly agricultural) produce between countries in the Great Lakes, and provides economic livelihoods for thousands of traders, in a region that has long suffered from armed conflict and where economic opportunities are limited. It is also a highly visible reminder of the economic interdependence between these countries, despite the political tensions that continue to plague relations between them.