The European Union and COMESA invest together 13.5 million EUR to support small scale cross-border traders in the region
On the 8th May 2018, the European Union (EU) and COMESA officially launched the COMESA Cross-Border Trade initiative at the Mwami/Mchinji border post. This is a new regional programme worth EUR 13.5 million (around ZMW 160 million) to facilitate small-scale trade flows across the borders in the region.
Small-scale and informal cross-border trade represents a substantial proportion of intra-regional trade in the COMESA region, sometimes even exceeding formal flows such as in the case of some agricultural commodities. Cross-border trade is key for income generation, job creation and food security for many poor households in the COMESA region that would otherwise be excluded from other economic activities.
Small-scale traders (the majority of whom are women) face a number of constraints at the borders, from high costs and cumbersome administrative procedures to insecurity, harassment and inadequate border infrastructures. This prevents their businesses from growing and pushes them into informality.
The COMESA Cross Border Trade Initiative will address some of these challenges and will facilitate formal small-scale cross-border trade flows through improved border management, upgraded border infrastructures and better data collection and monitoring.
This four-year programme will include both regional activities covering the whole COMESA region as well as targeted interventions at the following border posts: Chirundu (between Zambia and Zimbabwe), Kasumbalesa (between Zambia and DRC), Nakonde/Tunduma (between Zambia and Tanzania), Moyale (between Kenya and Ethiopia) as well as Mwami/Mchinji (between Zambia and Malawi).
The EU Ambassador to Zambia and Representative to COMESA, H.E. Alessandro Mariani said: ''The Cross-Border Trade Initiative reflects our strong commitment to promote inclusive and sustainable growth in the COMESA region through greater economic integration and trade facilitation". This was further confirmed in the statement by the COMESA Secretary General, H.E. Sindiso Ngwenya, who said: ''The programme on small-scale cross-border trade will increase the formalization of informal trade and enhance trade flows leading to higher incomes for small-scale cross border traders''.
The programme is funded by the European Union under its 11th European Development Fund and will be implemented by COMESA and its Member States, in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) who are going to put their finest expertise at the service of the programme.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Nicolas GERARD, EU Programme Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)