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The Ministers of Transport from the Djibouti Corridor states have agreed to the establishment of the Djibouti Corridor Authority (DCA) to improve the coordination, efficiency and management of corridor activities.

The agreement was reached during the first ever meeting of Djibouti Corridor Member States convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last month. The Ministers also approved a work programme and funding mechanism for the DCA to be signed by 01 September 2015.

The Corridor connects Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan. Funding of the DCA will be through blending of three major sources including contributions by Member States, user levy and support from co-operating partners, especially in the area of programme implementation.

Ethiopia State Minister of Transport Hon. Ato Tekle Tsadik Reba said the creation of the DCA would facilitate the removal of physical and non-physical barriers to the movement of goods and people transiting through the corridor.

“The Corridor framework presents opportunities for the development and management of infrastructure, and management of international traffic arising from improved coordination, scope for standardization and harmonization, information sharing and opportunities for focused support from collaborating partners,” Hon. Reba said during the opening of the meeting.

He emphasized the important role played by transport in the economy, specifically promoting trade and regional competitiveness and addressing most of the major impediments to freight transportation and movement of people between and through adjoining countries.

“Reduced transit times, predictability of services and reduction in the cost of doing business will emerge from the establishment of the Djibouti Corridor Authority,” said the Minister. He added that the DCA will not only enhance collaboration among Member States but also collaboration between the public and private sectors.

COMESA Assistant Secretary General, Dr Kipyego Cheluget observed that the inclusion of the Protocol on Transit Trade and Transit Facilities in the COMESA Treaty underscored the importance of trade facilitation.

He cited the COMESA trade, transit and transport facilitation instruments that have been developed and are already in use in some corridors which the Djibouti Corridor could also benefit from. “COMESA has the Regional Support Mechanism (RISM) intended to support implementation of transit transport facilitation instruments and other regional integration instruments,” Dr Cheluget said. “The Djibouti Corridor is one of the major corridors in COMESA and it is expected that performance improvements will result from the formation of the DCA.”

He stressed the advantages of the corridor framework in improving trade flows and addressing transit challenges and noted the various corridor based initiatives at national, regional and global levels pursued with the objective of addressing trade, transport and transit facilitation challenges. The meeting adopted the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) model, the routes to be covered by the corridor and the corresponding locations for the posts on each route.

Among the activities to be carried out by the DCA as per the adopted work programme include monitoring corridor performance, advocating for and coordinating infrastructure development and maintenance, promoting business development along the corridor, setting up stakeholders’ network and policy development.

Others include regulation and harmonization, streamlining and harmonization of documentation and procedures, promoting the use of COMESA transit transport facilitation instruments, supporting capacity building initiatives in key institutions engaged in transport operations, and providing information services to stakeholders and other interested parties.

The Ministers and other delegates that included Permanent Secretaries and technical experts from transport, customs, railways sectors visited transport infrastructure projects in the Djibouti corridor including the US $3.77 billion standard gauge railway line linking Djibouti and Addis Ababa.