Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry

In a quest to facilitate cross border trade between Zambia and Malawi and other neighboring countries, the European Union (EU) through the Cross- Border Trade Initiative being implemented by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry has commenced the construction of a market for cross border traders in Chipata of Eastern Province.

Speaking during the ground- breaking ceremony that took place on 15th March, 2024 and on behalf of the Permanent Secretary,  Director Human Resource and Administration,  Mrs. Nalituba Mwale said that the construction of border markets will help facilitate market exchanges among cross border traders to be done near the border and that the market will also enable small scale producers to reduce post-harvest losses and engage more in cross border trade without traveling long distances into neighboring countries.

“The construction of the market is a huge milestone as it presents an opportunity to small scale cross border traders to expand their operations beyond their domestic market and later venture into international markets,” said Mrs. Mwale.

In addition, Mrs. Mwale expressed appreciation to all the development partners for the support to the project, specifically, the EU and COMESA as the programme has demonstrated to be one of the noble inventions to support and address the plight of cross border traders.

Meanwhile,  COMESA Assistant Secretary General for Programmes , Ambassador Dr. Mohamed Kadah stated that the ground breaking event marked a significant milestone in Mwami and its surrounding as the construction of this market for small scale cross border traders transcends the new physical infrastructure to impact the economy of the region by creating more business opportunities, lowering trade costs, encouraging cultural exchange, improving health and hygienic conditions, encouraging better control and management of trade and enhancing revenue generation by the regional government .

Further, the Assistant Secretary General indicated that plans for constructing a similar market are underway at neighboring Mchinji, in collaboration with the Government of Malawi and that once completed, the two markets will increase activities at the Mwami/Mchinji One Stop Border Post and bolster cross border trade between the two countries and beyond.

And speaking on behalf of the Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ms. Beauty Undi- Phiri said that the availability of market infrastructure near borders will increase the connection between traders and customers, leading to the reduced loses in perishable stock and ease of movement for traders that carry goods across borders. Further, the markets would also help reduce the number of traders trading on roadsides and contribute to enhanced road safety.

And the EU representative, Ms. Christiane Haziyo encouraged the Government of Zambia and the Cross -Border Associations to take ownership and great pride in ensuring the maintenance and sustainability of the border market through the process of construction and once it is completed.