An Advocacy Workshop for Cross Border Traders’ Associations from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Congo DR began in Lusaka from 4th to 9th August 2019. The workshop is conducted by COMESA in collaboration with the International Trade Centre with support from the European Union under the 11th EDF.
The objective of the workshop is to enhance the capacities of small-scale cross border traders in in promoting and advocating for their best interests.
Among other activities the workshop shall offer a series of hands-on engagements into the identification and analysis of critical issues affecting small scale cross border traders, the development of policy oriented and strategic solutions and recommendations.
Participants will learn from best practices in advocacy for trade facilitation and mobility, as well as into the development of position papers and strategies for facilitating small scale trade.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Zambia, Mrs. Kayula Siame stressed the importance of continuous and regular engagement among members and representatives of the various CBTAs and Trade Information Desk Officers in the region.
In a speech presented by the Chief Economist at the same Ministry, Ms. Margaret Chikuba, she said this will ensure the border officials jointly work together to improve the business environment and facilitate trade for small scale cross border traders.
At the same function the COMESA Officer in Charge of Trade Division, Mr. Benedict Musengele said informal trade accounts for 30 to 40 Percent of total trade in the region. In addition, the majority of people involved in this trade are women (70 to 80%) of those participating in Trade regionally.
IOM Chief of Mission Marianne Lane said the collaboration with COMESA is underpinned by the realization that trade facilitation and free movement of persons are two sides of the same coin and central pillars of regional integration.
“IOM looks forward to working with you all to share experiences on how cross border mobility if properly managed can contribute to trade, economic growth and development,” Ms Lane said.
COMESA and European Union (EU) officially signed the cross-border trade initiative agreement at Mwami-Zambia/Mchinji-Malawi border in May last year to enhance trade flows for small scale cross-border traders.
The project is supported by the EU to the tune of 15 million Euros, to help different sectors such infrastructure, trade, private sector development, agriculture, good governance and fight against climate change. The cross-border trade initiative for small scale traders is being implemented with collaboration from the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).