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SADC Partners with Malawi to Enhance Trade Efficiency at Mwanza Border Station

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) in collaboration with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA spearheaded a notable workshop in Lilongwe on March 8th, 2024. 

The primary focus was to enhance trade efficiency and compliance measures by refining the Time Release Study (TRS) for the Mwanza Border Station, a crucial link between Malawi and Mozambique.

The TRS, conducted in 2023, serves as a cornerstone for assessing operational procedures related to imports and exports at the Mwanza Border Station, providing crucial insights for trade facilitation enhancements.

Ms. Wilma Chalulu, Corporate Affairs Manager at MRA, expressed gratitude to SADC for their technical and financial support in conducting the TRS, emphasizing its importance in measuring trade facilitation activities accurately. 

She highlighted the significance of initiatives like the National Single Window (NSW) and the One Stop Border Post Project (OSBP), spearheaded by Malawi’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), aimed at fostering a competitive trade environment.

Mr. Cornelius Kakwesa, Deputy Commissioner of Customs – Trade Facilitation at MRA, outlined Malawi’s proactive engagement in implementing the OSBP concept at various border posts, including Mwanza. 

He further emphasized MRA’s adoption of web-based clearance systems and innovative measures like cargo tracking and electronic seal management.

Scheduled for May 2024, Malawi is set to initiate a pilot Coordinated Border Management (CBM) operating model at the Mwanza Border Station. This initiative aims to streamline trade and travel flows while ensuring regulatory compliance, with the consolidation of border agencies and the establishment of a Joint Border Operations Committee (JBOC) to oversee operational issues.

The SADC Secretariat’s support for the Mwanza Border Station TRS, facilitated through the Trade Facilitation Programme funded by the European Union, underscores regional cooperation in trade facilitation efforts. 

Mr. Alcides Monteiro, Senior Programme Officer – Customs at the SADC Secretariat, highlighted the TRS’s alignment with SADC’s Free Trade Area objectives and the strategic imperatives outlined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030.

The validation workshop provided a platform for key stakeholders, including government agencies, regulatory bodies, private sector entities, and logistics professionals, to collaborate on optimizing cross-border efficiency. 

The adoption of the draft TRS report, along with supplementary recommendations crafted during the workshop, marks a significant step towards enhancing trade facilitation and fostering regional economic integration.

Additional source: SADC Secretariat

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