The Economic Commission of Central African States (ECCAS) has mounted a mission to Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to benchmark on the latter’s successful trade facilitation programmes.

Fifteen officials comprising of economists, customs, trade, agriculture, legal and programme experts were sent to learn best practices from their COMESA counterparts.

The study visit aims at strengthening institutional capacities and develop the competencies of ECCAS and its national institutions in order to promote trade facilitation mechanisms through a sharing of experiences on best practices developed in the COMESA and EAC.

Assistant Secretary General of COMESA Dr Kipyego Cheluget, who interacted with the delegation said COMESA’s niche was trade and investment and had therefore designed trade facilitation programme that have been benchmarked across the African continent.

“For example, the COMESA Yellow Card, a single insurance cover for motorists traversing across member States is a runaway success whose contribution to regional trade is big,” Dr Cheluget said.

ECCAS hopes that its interaction with COMESA experts will improve the level of competencies of its experts in promoting a regional mechanism which makes it possible to reduce delays, better management of transit operations and the smooth flow of intra-regional trade in Central Africa.

The delegation will on Saturday, 25 tour of the One Stop Border Post at Chirundu on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to see how its functions. The establishment of the border post is one of the COMESA trade facilitation projects and reduced the transit time for trucks from nine days to one.