Markets, social networks, and internally displaced persons: Gaining and naintaining market access in the Democratic Republic of Congo
SourceRefugee Survey Quaterly, 40, 2, (2021), pp. 203-223
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Refugee Survey Quaterly
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
Arriving in a new environment, internally displaced persons (IDPs) have to rebuild their lives and find a way to make a living. In this situation, IDP women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sustain their families by engaging in a range of economic activities, but particularly petty trade in markets. In this regard, eastern DRC offers an opportunity to better understand how IDP women engage in and navigate urban markets. Based on field research conducted in Bukavu city in South Kivu, where there are no IDP camps, this article looks at how IDP women gain access to markets and the role that social relationship and networks play in this process. Although IDPs women are often conceptualised as vulnerable and exploited, this research demonstrates that they proactively make use of opportunities in an effective way to create new livelihood opportunities. Existing studies also indicate that newcomers to an urban location can initially only access informal markets, and if they are successful there, then they might access formal markets afterwards. However, the present research shows that IDP women were more successful in integrating in formal markets than in informal markets.
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