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AfDB delegation hold talks with officials from Zambia and DR Congo to identify and address cross-border trade challenges
The African Development Bank’s Zambia Field Office in conjunction with the Regional Integration and Trade Department concluded a working visit, on September 22, to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo to establish current trade patterns with Zambia.
The delegation, led by Country Economist Peter Rasmussen, drove from Lusaka, Zambia, to Lubumbashi, DRC, through Kasumbalesa border crossing and crossed back through Kipushi border in the North Western Province of Zambia. The mission was part of a study on trade facilitation at Kasumbalesa border and surrounding areas that the Bank is conducting on behalf of the Zambian Government.
While in DRC, the delegation held consultative meetings with Trade, Industry and Transport Provincial Minister Celestine Pande; Acting Provincial Infrastructure Minister Momat Kakudji; the Directors of Customs and Excise, Immigration, the Police Commissioner and other senior government officials. The Ministers called for more dialogue and continued exchange of ideas to promote trade between the two countries. Railway transport being the preferred means to transport goods by mining firms in the country, the Ministers expressed concern about the condition of the line between Lubumbashi and Sakanya in DRC. The DRC Government is appealing to the Zambian Government to consider linking Kasumbalesa to Chililabombwe in Zambia through a 17-kilometre railway spur. This new link will facilitate the diversion of railway traffic from the dilapidated segment in Congo that leads to Sakanya. The Congolese officials also noted the damaging effects heavy-loaded cargo were causing to the roads linking the two countries.
At Kasumbalesa border crossing, the delegation met with Government border agencies and private sector operators of both countries. The consultations revealed that informal trade was of great concern to both Governments. The level of informal trade at Kasumbalesa is significantly high.
The need to build a passenger clearance facility and pedestrian walkway on the Zambia side were also highlighted. Currently, the number of pedestrians that formally cross the border at Kasumbalesa is estimated at around 330-350 per day.
The meeting also identified a number of other soft infrastructure issues that need to be corrected to improve the management of trade between the two countries. Smuggling and border jumping, the management of transhipments and security issues at the border and surrounding areas were among the issues raised.
The study on trade facilitation at Kasumbalesa border will be presented and validated at a stakeholder meeting in late November.
Reducing trade barriers on major transport corridors and at border crossings to facilitate the movement of goods, services and people is in line with one of the Bank’s High 5 priority pillars; “Integrate Africa”.