STUDY ON THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TRADE INFORMATION DESK OFFICES(TIDs)

  1. INTRODUCATION

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has received  funding   from the World Bank  in form of  a Grant  towards the  Implementation of  the Great Lakes  Trade  Facilitation Project (GLTFP)  and  from the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF)- the Small Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative (SSCBTI)  towards activities related to enhancing Cross Border Trade in the COMESA/Tripartite region.  The COMESA intends to apply part of the proceeds towards the cost of consulting services for “A Study on the sustainability of Trade Information Desk Offices (TIDs)”. 

  1. BACKGROUND

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is a regional integration grouping of 21 African States which have agreed to promote regional integration through trade development and transport facilitation.

The GLTFP is part of the wider World Bank Great Lakes Initiative (GLI) which reflects the commitment of the World Bank to assist countries of the Great Lakes Region (GLR) to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity by targeting some of the most vulnerable groups in the border regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighbouring countries (Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) and SCCBTI aims to increase formal small scale cross border trade flows in the COMESA/tripartite region, leading to high revenue collection for government at the targeted border posts, namely Mwami/Mchinji between Zambia and Malawi, Kasumbalesa between Zambia DRC, Chirundu, between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Tunduma between Zambia and Tanzania and Moyale between Ethiopia and Kenya. One of the core activities of both programmes is the provision of information and sensitization support to cross border traders, and more especially the small-scale category as well as the collection of data on small scale trade.

To the above end, COMESA has supported the establishment of Trade Information Desks (TIDs) at selected crossing points in the region. The TIDs are manned by Trade Information Desk Officers (TIDOs). The core roles of the TIDOs revolve around the provision of information/sensitization of cross border traders as well as collecting information on small scale cross border trade which would otherwise be missed by the officially designated border agencies like Customs. This information is critical for planning and policy formulation purposes of the respective countries.

Presently, the TIDs are  operational at the COMESA-GLTFP selected eleven (11) borders in the 3 project countries namely: (i)  Mahagi (DRC) / Goli (Uganda) ; (ii)  Kasindi (DRC) / Mpondwe (Uganda) ; (iii)  Bunagana (DRC) / Bunagana (Uganda) ; (iv) Goma (DRC) / Petite Barrière Rubavu (Rwanda) ;  (v)  Bukavu (DRC) / Rusizi I (Rwanda) and Bugarama (Rwanda)/Kamanyola (DRC).  Also, the TIDs are also operational at the COMESA-SSCBTI at Eight (8) selected borders namely; (i) Kasumbalesa (DRC) /Kasumbalesa (Zambia); (ii) Nakonde (Zambia)/Tunduma (Tanzania); (iii) Mwami (Zambia)/ Mchinji (Malawi); (iv) Chirundu (Zambia)/ Chirundu (Zimbabwe).

Complementarity and Donor coordination:

The two programmes – SSCBTI and GLTFP will look at synergies and complementarities in the same areas of implementation, considering they are currently under the COMESA Secretariat. They will both build on the acquis and on existing COMESA instruments.

Close coordination will be ensured with other donor funded programmes such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) programmes supporting the deployment of Trade Information Desk Officers and capacity building activities and border infrastructures in several border posts in the Great Lakes Region. Close coordination will also be ensured with the cross-border initiatives funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund in the Horn of Africa.

  1. PURPOSE OF THE ASSIGNMENT

The aim of the assignment is to carry out a study on the appropriate ways and means of maintaining and sustaining the Trade Information Desk Officers (TIDOs) at the borders so that they continue facilitating cross border trade (and more especially for the small scale traders) beyond the timelines of the SSCBTI, GLTFP  and/or any COMESA initiatives. The assignment will be undertaken by a team of consultants (firm) since it requires a diversity of both technical and peoples’ skills for successful execution of the key tasks.

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