TMEA Executive Director Frank Matsaert (L) and Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe signing the MoU in Lusaka

COMESA and the Trade Mark East Africa TMEA recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote trade in the region by removing obstacles that impede the smooth flow of trade amongst the Member States in the region.

Working closely with international and regional organizations, such as Trade Mark East Africa, national institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations, this will enable promote trade by unlocking the economic potential of the COMESA region through increased physical access to markets, enhanced trade environment and improved business competitiveness.

The MoU marks an important milestone in providing a framework of cooperation and partnership between the two organizations on areas of common interest. These include market access, development of border post infrastructure, improvement of trade environment through trade facilitation and inclusion of the private sector as key players in economic development.

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Trade Mark East Africa Executive Director Frank Matsaert and COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe signed the pact at the COMESA Secretariat days ago. “We are getting into this partnership to ensure that through policy formulation, creation of trade facilitation tool which are automated as well as standards and nontariff barrier (NTB) removal so that business people, whether SME or large enterprises get the benefits,” said Matsaert.

Ms. Kapwepwe indicated that jointly, COMESA and TMEA will implement trade facilitation initiatives in the region through application of respective regional and international instruments. In particular, support will be provided to Member States to implement the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement.

The partnership between the two organizations is envisaged to speed up the implementation of joint programmes and actions aimed at; improving infrastructure and application of Technical Standards and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary measures; reducing the cost, time and other barriers in the movement of transit goods through electronic monitoring, regional transit guarantees and other initiatives.

It will also support the improvement of efficiency along the major trade and transport corridors including logistics and monitoring performance along such corridors; addressing gender related barriers to effective participation of women and youth in trade including capacity building, research and joint mobilization of resources for implementation of programmes of mutual interests, among others.

The partnership is in line with the aims and objectives of COMESA to cooperate in strengthening the relations between the Common Market and other partners to contribute to the economic development of the region.