Capacity Building Programme for Border Trade Officials Underway

A training programme to build the capacity of trade information desk officers stationed at selected border posts is underway. The objective is to integrate them in border operations and enhance their working relationship with State agencies manning border posts.

The Trade Information Desk Officers (TIDOs) are stationed in selected borders in the COMESA region primarily to provide trade facilitation services and smooth implementation of small scale cross border trade.

On Tuesday 23 February 2021, TIDOs from the following border posts; Chirundu (Zambia/Zimbabwe), Kasumbalesa (DR Congo/Zambia, Mwami/Mchinji (Malawi/Zambia) and Nakonde (Zambia/Tanzania) went through a virtual training on the provisions and implementation of the COMESA Simplified Trade Regime (STR). The STR provides for small-scale traders to qualify for duty-free entry for certain goods and for a more simple and reduced set of documentary requirements to cross the border.

The training is part of the implementation of a €15 Million European Union funded programme known as the  Small Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative (SSCBTI) in the selected borders. COMESA, together with the International Organisation for Migration and the International Trade Centre is implementing the Cross-Border Trade Initiative.

The aim of the SSCBTI is to increase formal small scale cross border trade flows in the COMESA/Tripartite region leading to higher revenue collection by governments as well as increased security and higher incomes for small scale cross border traders.

During the training, the TIDOs were taken through trade procedures for clearing goods under the STR threshold and the Regulations on the Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Small-Scale Cross Border Traders. The training also provided insights on the cross-border data collection activities.

Addressing the TIDOs during the opening of the training, the Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Kapwepwe said it will ensure they are equipped with skills to interact better with border officials, cross border trade associations and coordinating ministries’ staff.

TIDOs are the face of the programme at the borders and it is essential that the they display good demeanor, integrity and courtesy in their interaction with both traders and border officials as well as researchers that frequent the borders gathering primary data,” she said. “It is also important for the TIDOs to keep abreast with policy and administrative changes that affect small scale traders in order to provide value added information.”

The trainers were customs and immigration officers.

4 Responses

  1. David Wanga says:

    I am David Wanga from One Stop Border Post Busia trained by Comesa under REFORM program as a Trade Information Desk officer and later as Trade Information Desk Manager in Bujumbura Hotel Source Du Nil in 2013 with over 10 years of International Trade Facilitation and Development experience in Implementation of COMESA/EAC Simplified Trade Regime for Small and Medium size Enterprise (SME) in Eastern Africa.
    Data collection on Common commodities traded volumes and values in USD, Public-Private Dialogue; Market Access; Cross Border Traders’ representation; Guide Traders on Customs, Trade and Border Procedures and in filling out relevant forms and filing of the required documents to border agencies; Forming and Structuring Cross Border Trade Associations including women; conflict resolutions and as well as lobbying and advocating for Non-Tariff Barriers to trade and issuing of East African Community simplified certificate of Origin using Simplified Trade Regime (STR) tool.

    Participated in key initiatives for Public-Private Sector Partnerships and Strategic Frameworks Development.
    Since then we have not participated or supported by Comesa especially the Eastern TIDO despite the great lakes project covering some part of Uganda and leaving major gate way to Eastern, Central and Southern Africa the One Stop Border Post Busia along the northern Corridor unfacilitated.
    My LinkedIn

  2. Misheck Ruvengo says:

    This is great initiative which needs to be expanded and inclusive of other small scale trade organisations at country and regional level. I am willing to be part of the STR Campaign and improvements

  3. Good afternoon sir,
    I had tried to join CROSS BOARDER TRADERS ASSOCIATION but to no avail.
    Please assist me to open Jimbe BOARDER.
    Send me requirements and membership forms.
    Elias Sambeya.

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