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COMESA and EU Collaborate to Boost Cross-Border Trade with New Market in Chipata, Zambia

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the European Union (EU) have joined forces to inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony for the Mwami Traders Market in Chipata, Zambia, as part of a landmark initiative aimed at enhancing cross-border trade and economic development.

The ceremony, held on March 15th, 2024, was attended by esteemed dignitaries including Ambassador Dr. Mohamed Kadah, Assistant Secretary General for Programmes at COMESA, local chiefs, government officials, representatives from border agencies, cross-border traders associations, and members of the press.

Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Kadah expressed gratitude to the Government of Zambia for its warm welcome and longstanding support for COMESA’s integration agenda. 

He highlighted the significant contributions of various development partners, particularly the EU, in funding several COMESA programmes aimed at facilitating trade and economic growth in the region.

The construction of the Mwami Traders Market, funded by the EU with over €900,000, marks a significant milestone in the region. The market is designed to support small-scale cross-border traders, especially women and youth, by providing modern facilities, reducing trade costs, and enhancing trade efficiency.

Ambassador Kadah emphasized that the market’s construction aligns with COMESA’s commitment to implementing the Simplified Trade Regime (STR), which streamlines customs procedures and documentation, making cross-border trade more accessible for informal traders.

The new market is expected to not only provide a conducive environment for traders but also stimulate economic activities, encourage cultural exchange, improve health and hygienic conditions, and enhance revenue generation for the regional government.

Plans are also underway to construct a similar market in neighboring Mchinji, Malawi, further bolstering cross-border trade between the two countries and beyond.

The ceremony concluded with Ambassador Kadah thanking all stakeholders, including the EU, the Zambian government, local authorities, and construction contractors, for their contributions and urging continued efforts to realize the full potential of the project.

The Mwami Traders Market is poised to become a hub for cross-border trade, fostering regional integration and economic development in Eastern and Southern Africa.

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