Trust in cross border trade networks

Kingsley Omeihe, Veronika Gustafsson, Isaac Amoako, Mohammad Saud Khan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper aims to develop an understanding of trust in cross border trade networks dominating West African markets. To date most of the literature on trust and network relationships reveal a paucity of studies about West African traders. This paper attempts to address this gap by examining a range of relationships that have evolved as a result of weak formal institutions.

Within the scope of this paper, we adopt an interpretivist approach in response to calls for qualitative studies on entrepreneurial networks. Face to face semi-structured interviews with 12 traders active in cross border trade provided insights to the strengths and breadth of West African trade networks. Data was analysed using iterations from the interviews held with the respondents. These iterations helped in exploring emergent themes such as the building of trust relationships and respondent’s perception of institutions.

We have reasons to believe that the emergence of less formalised institutions provides access to entrepreneurial resources such as market information and new business opportunities. In addition, the empirical component of this study indicates that trust plays a crucial role in cross border trade relationships.

Practical implications
In this vein, we push that the importance of taking trust seriously stems from its unique institutional and cultural embeddedness. By undertaking a context- specific approach, our line of inquiry reveals the potentials of social structures that exist in developing market economy.

This study enriches the view that network ties are crucial in explaining West African cross border trade. In a broader context, the complementary relationship between trust and networks ties highlights the social advantage of collective behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018
Event3rd Annual Research Conference- Centre for African Research and Economic Development (CAREED) - UWS, Paisley Campus, Paisley, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 May 20181 Jun 2018


Conference3rd Annual Research Conference- Centre for African Research and Economic Development (CAREED)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Trust
  • Trade networks
  • West Africa


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