COMESA Secretariat signs sub-delegation agreement with Malawi to upgrade Mchinji Border Post

Mchinji Border Post

The COMESA Secretariat and the Government of the Republic of Malawi have signed a 3.54 million Euros agreement that sub-delegates the implementation of coordinated border management activities under the broader Trade Facilitation Programme with COMESA at Mchinji border post between Zambia and Malawi on the Malawian side.

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Malawi, Ms. Christina Zakeyo, and COMESA Secretary General, Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe, separately signed the sub-delegation agreement in Lilongwe and Lusaka this week.

The project will support the implementation of key pillars of One Stop Border Post (OSBP) operations. Some of the major activities to be implemented under this agreement include upgrading the customs e-management system and bandwidth; improving inter-agency connectivity; implementation of the Trade and Transport Corridor Management System; capacity building, training and sensitization of National Trade Facilitation Committee and Border Agencies among others.

The signing of the sub-delegation agreement comes a month after a similar agreement was signed with the Zambian Government to upgrade its side of the border post at Mwami, on 27th November 2020.

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade stated that the signing of the sub-delegation agreement came after an assessment of existing challenges conducted at Mchinji border post in early 2020. She thanked the European Union for the support rendered under the programme through COMESA Secretariat to improve the facilitation of trade at Mchinji/Mwami border post.

Ms Zakeyo added that the support is a testimony of the continued and strengthened collaboration between Malawi and the European Union.  She further said that the Government of Malawi desires to build on current trade facilitation efforts through programs such as the COMESA Trade Facilitation Project.

The interventions at Mchinji border post are expected to enhance efficiency and ultimately reduce the cost of doing business especially now when global business is affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In her remarks, COMESA Secretary General Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe explained that the modalities of implementation of the sub-delegated activities provide an opportunity for Malawi to take ownership and lead in the implementation of the activities.

The signing of the agreement is a major step towards reducing hindrances to trade at the border leading to increased seamless flow of goods between Malawi and Zambia.

By the end of the implementation period of the project, it is expected that clearance times and costs for goods processed through the border posts will be reduced. Likewise, the number of reported non-tariff barriers and cases of corruption and harassment will also record a reduction, while on the other hand, it is expected that there will be a significant increase in revenue collection through increased trade flows.

This new development is part of the 48 million Euros Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) with COMESA financed under the 11th European Development Fund (11 EDF) with the objective of deepening regional integration, improving inclusive regional economic growth and enhancing the competitiveness of the COMESA region.

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