The second coordination meeting for partners implementing infrastructure projects at border post of the Great Lakes Region took place in Lusaka, Zambia 17 â€“ 18 May 2016.
The meeting was organized by the COMESA Governance, Peace and Security Unit with key partners funding or implementing the cross-border infrastructure in the Great Lakes Region with a focus on DRC borders and neighbouring countries.
Partners that attended the meeting include government representatives from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zambia. The African Union Commission, Trade Mark East Africa, the European Union, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), USAID and the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Region also participated in the meeting.
COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya opened the meeting with an appeal to the various partners implementing infrastructure projects at border posts in the region to harmonize their activities to avoid duplication.
â€œThe time has come for us to make sure that we avoid duplicating efforts. We are dealing with issues of development, why canâ€™t we simply have a single programme or platform to avoid wasting resources and creating confusion. All we need to do is have a single platform and have impact,â€ Mr Ngwenya told the meeting.
He added that COMESAâ€™s programme of helping countries coming out of conflict to enhance trade has been progressing well and a lot of trade is currently taking place. He cited the establishment of Trade Information Desks at border posts as a boon for the informal traders who are now organized and conducting business more profitably.
Mr Ngwenya pointed out that having well established and construction border markets will greatly help traders have a point at which to sell their goods.
He said: â€œWe believe that if we do not deal with the economic factors, countries stand at risk to relapse into civil strife because people would still be affected by poverty and unemployment.â€