€68m COMESA, EU Agreement to Reduce Trade Costs

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Small-scale traders, especially women, who buy and sell goods across borders in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region are set to benefit from the signing of two Financial Agreements between the European Union and COMESA, the regional economic organization said.

The Trade Facilitation Programme worth 53 million Euros and the 15 million Euros Small Scale Border Trade Programme are part of the 85 million Euros provided to COMESA by the EU under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Indicative Programme for Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.

The Trade Facilitation Programme that will benefit COMESA Member States and the private sector in the region aims to reduce the cost of doing business and transporting goods within the region.

It will focus on monitoring and resolving Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs); implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement; coordinated border management; and trade and transport facilitation along selected corridors and border posts.

The Small Scale Border Trade Programme will simplify the documentation process and address harassment of small scale border traders at the borders with the aim to formalize the informal cross-border trade and enhance trade flows.

The 68 million Euros agreements were signed by the Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia and Representative to COMESA Alessandro Mariani and COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya in Lusaka, Zambia.

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