By CHATULA KANGALI -
ZAMBIA and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have signed a bilateral trade agreement to begin operations on the one-stop border post at Kasumbalesa in Chilabombwe District on the Copperbelt Province.
The agreement was signed by Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe and DRC’s External Trade Minister Jean Lucien Bussaa Tongba at the Mukuba Hotel in Ndola yesterday.
The two Governments agreed to form a joint-border post committee to facilitate cross-border trade and construct trade centre zones at Kasumbalesa and to officially launch the Simplified Trade Regime (STR).
Zambia and DRC will request the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to support the implementation of the STR through the construction of trade information desks to facilitate cross-border trade.
In the agreement, the two countries commit to facilitate cross-border trade with possible funding from the World Bank Great Lakes Region Trade Facilitation programme.
It was also agreed that the joint border committee should hold regular meetings in order to put in place measures that would help eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers in trade when need arose.
Ms Mwanakatwe said the Zambian Government was committed to improving trade between the two countries to help develop the economy.
She said the Government would consider developing the Mokambo and Kipushi border posts in Mufulira and Solwezi districts respectively.
“The development of the two border posts would help reduce the smuggling of goods and improve trade between Zambia and DRC,” she said.
Mr Tongba said DRC was eager to see improved trade with Zambia through the development of border posts.
He said the development of border posts would not only benefit Zambia and DRC but also increase Africa’s international trade.