Following the 1980's economic crisis and the implementation of structural adjustments, several people shifted to the informal sector with the hope to earn a living. Among such groups are the cross-border traders. What are the opportunities offered through informal cross-border trade-ICBT? What are the business and institutional constraints hindering the achievement of these opportunities? What are the coping mechanisms and do they differ with gender? These issues are addressed using the survey data covering three border sites in the central Africa region (Cameroon-Gabon-Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon-Chad-Nigeria, and Cameroon-Nigeria).
Firstly, the study finds significant differences in the male-female socio-economic characteristics. Secondly, opportunities related to ICBT range from the strengthening of regional integration, involvement of women in the decision-making process within households, to the fulfillment of basic needs. Thirdly, negative aspects of ICBT include violence-both physical and psychological and poor childrearing. The study finally finds gender differentials not only in the constraints faced, but in the coping strategies as well.