Lusaka, 30th October 2019: The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional economic community and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), one of the largest aid-for-trade organisations worldwide, have today signed a partnership to boost trade facilitation initiatives in the East African Community (EAC) and COMESA regions. The agreement was signed by Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, Secretary General, COMESA and Frank Matsaert, CEO, TMEA.
TMEA’s operations across eight countries, working with government, private sector and civil society to address high trade costs in Eastern Africa and support export growth, is well-positioned to support COMESA on its vision for growth through trade and investments.
The partnership prioritises areas of common interest to both organisations including:
- Implementation of trade facilitation initiatives in the East African Community and COMESA regions through application of respective regional and International instruments such as those under the World Customs Organisation and the World Trade Organisation;
- Improvement of border infrastructure and management procedures;
- Automation and other digital trade facilitation initiatives for improvement of Cargo clearance and other regulatory procedures aimed at enhancing efficiency and exchange of information;
- Elimination of Non-Tariff barriers to trade;
- Initiatives to build capacity and support private sector participation in trade and regional integration activities;
- 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;
- Improving efficiency along the major trade and transport corridors including logistics and monitoring performance along such corridors;
- Joint mobilisation of resources for implementation of programmes of mutual interest
The Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Kapwepwe said, “COMESA is indeed excited to work with TMEA, renowned organisation that has implemented successful trade facilitation programmes in East Africa. Our vision is to leverage the lessons and experiences to the COMESA region in ensuring similar trade facilitation initiatives are implemented to boost trade and prosperity for the people in this region.”
TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert said, “This partnership with COMESA is an important milestone and embodies our vision for a prosperous Eastern Africa. Our unique offering, mixing technical expertise and deep understanding of trade, with politically-informed, high impact programmes and leveraging COMESA, is a great potential for TMEA to play a larger role across the continent in promotion regional integration. Most importantly, this complements the Africa Continental Free Trade Area goal that visualises a continent where countries trade seamlessly with each other.”
TradeMark (Trade and Markets) East Africa is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established in 2010, with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TMEA operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom and United States of America.