Since the onset of Covid-19 in the region, COMESA and its institutions have been engaged in various initiatives to support Member States` governments responses to the pandemic at the regional level. Equally at the community level, the organization has been reaching out to vulnerable communities especially small-scale traders, with direct aid in the forms of protective gear, health kits and awareness raising to support their efforts in conducting safe trade.
On Wednesday, 24 June 2020, the COMESA Business Council in partnership with Barefeet Theatre and Lusaka Food Bank donated to the Chibolya community in Lusaka, COVID19 care-packages which included food and personal care items. Many of the recipients were women whose household incomes have been severely disrupted owing to the economic slowdown.
Also donated were face-shields which were distributed to traders at Mwasauka Market in Lusaka. The donations went to vulnerable communities that the CBC has worked with in its, Local Sourcing for Partnerships program. At the same time, the COMESA Secretariat gave out posters and stickers to be placed at strategic points within the expansive market to keep traders informed on the steps to protect themselves from infections.
Meanwhile, 5,000 masks sent to four borders posts of Kasumbalesa, Livingstone, Kazungula and Kariba were received last week and shared out between cross border traders, state agencies, clearing agents, drivers and other operators at the border points.
The masks were provided by the International Centre for Small Hydropower based in China to the COMESA Secretariat to support its ongoing initiatives towards facilitating trade in the time of Covid-19 in the region.