Cross-border contraband trade across the main route from Moyale to Hawassa: an exploration into the causes and consequences

  • Belayneh Bogale
  • Moti Mosisa
  • Abreha Mesele
  • Negesse Bogale


Globally and specifically in Africa, governments' major revenues, and the countries' peace and security, are challenged by the increasing nature of illegal cross border trade. As a result, the issue of contraband is attracting the attention of both the academics and practitioners. It is with this reality that this study stood with the general objective of exploring the causes and consequences of cross-border contraband trade across the main route from Moyale (border town between Ethiopia and Kenya) to Hawassa (the capital of Ethiopian Southern region). To this end, exploratory study was conducted involving analysis of both primary and secondary data. Primary data were collected through key informant interview carried out with contrabandists, local business people, customs and revenue authority personnel and town administration heads and security officials. Secondary data were collected from official documents of relevant authorities. The study indicated that contraband trade being carried out across the main route from Moyale to Hawasa is a result of multiple factors that are generally grouped into individual and social, policy, and institutional causes. Meanwhile, the lost revenue and foreign exchange, its negative effect on the formal business development, regional security and stability and health are the indentified consequences among others. Moreover, though the government tired to tackle these negative consequences of the business through various interventions, the success so far is limited. The authors recommend that a synergetic approach should be adopted by the multiple actors at multiple levels to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the causes of contraband business.

Keywords: Contraband, Cross-border trade, Customs, Smuggling, Chain of Supply, Moyale-Kenya, Ethiopia


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2077-3420
print ISSN: 2077-3420