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SADC and GIZ Collaborate to Address Cross-Border Trade Challenges at Kasumbalesa Border Post

In a joint effort between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a three-day stakeholder consultative workshop was successfully conducted in Lusaka, Zambia from November 22nd-24th, 2023. 

The workshop focused on resolving persistent challenges faced by transporters and drivers at the Kasumbalesa border post, a critical juncture for cross-border trade between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Zambia.

Representatives from both member states, covering sectors such as trade, trade facilitation, customs, security, infrastructure, transport, migration, private sector, transporters associations, and International Cooperating Partners (ICPs), participated in the workshop. 

The initiative was a response to the directive issued at the 43rd SADC Summit of the Heads of State and Governments in August 2023, urging the formation of an Inter-Ministerial Task Force to find a lasting solution to challenges at the Kasumbalesa border post.

Mr. Dhunraj Kassee, Director of Industrialisation and Trade Department at the SADC Secretariat, highlighted the strategic importance of the Kasumbalesa border post, serving as a key hub for multiple trade corridors in the region. 

He emphasized the commitment shown by Presidents Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC and Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, urging stakeholders to address the issues urgently.

The Deputy Director of Customs and Excise of DRC, Mr. Mariano Pitta, stressed the need for comprehensive solutions at major border posts like Kasumbalesa. 

He reported progress in implementing the joint Communique of March 6, 2023, including the development and upgrading of satellite border posts to ease congestion.

Mrs. Margaret Moonga-Chikuba, Director of Domestic Trade from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry of Zambia, emphasized the vital role of trade facilitation at Kasumbalesa for the growth of both economies and reiterated Zambia’s commitment to the Joint Communique.

The main objective of the workshop was to conduct a diagnostic analysis, with a focus on the private sector, to find lasting solutions to challenges at Kasumbalesa. 

The anticipated outcome was a comprehensive action plan with clear time frames and deliverables, to be presented to the Inter-Ministerial Task Force of Ministers responsible for Transport, Trade, and Security. A regional committee was agreed upon to oversee and monitor progress on the implementation of the agreed activities.

Mr. Berhard Trautner, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy in Zambia, representing GIZ, reiterated the German Government’s commitment to supporting SADC and its Member States in implementing their trade and regional economic integration priorities.

The successful implementation of the decisions from the 43rd SADC Summit is expected to contribute to increased intra-regional trade, providing improved market access and compliance with SADC legal instruments and trade facilitation measures at the Kasumbalesa border crossing.

Source: SADC Sacretariat.

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