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Cross-border market in Chirundu border expected to increase governments’ revenues

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The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat, and the Government of Zimbabwe, have signed a Euro 920,544.28 sub-delegation agreement to construct a cross-border market at the Chirundu border post between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Chirundu is the first functional and fully operational One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) in Africa. Located between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Chirundu OSBP is a great attainment in the Continent, from which many lessons have been learned in view of the implementation of similar OSBP projects in Africa.

According to an assessment carried out at five regional border posts, what it misses in these places, is basic workspace infrastructure for traders.

The report notes that access to markets is an issue for small-scale cross-border traders, where restrictive laws and regulations put them in a very precarious position, also with regards to their safety and a lack of protection from local authorities who can target them for not adhering to the strict rules.

The availability of border market infrastructure, in particular, is deemed able to increase the connection between small-scale traders and customers and lead to reduced losses, especially in perishable stock. This will lead to higher revenue collection for governments, and higher income for the small-scale cross-border traders. A market at the border creates an area of proximity where small-scale traders, especially women and youths, can boost their activities. But for governments, the problem it is another one. They must ensure that traders in such facilities they declare all their transactions to the revenue. And the traders, do they have to pay to use this space? This is the point where most of projects of construction of cross-border markets fail. The assessed borders were Kasumbalesa (DRC and Zambia), Chirundu (Zambia and Zimbabwe), Nakonde/Tunduma (Zambia and Tanzania), Mwami/Mchinji (Zambia and Malawi) and Moyale (Ethiopia and Kenya).

The infrastructure to be constructed in Chirundu will include trading space, secure storage and sanitary facilities and decent trading environment especially for women traders.

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