Lusaka, Friday, February 21, 2020: Two new trade information desks have been established at the Rwanda/ DR Congo border to promote small scale cross border trade. The two: Bugarama (Rwanda) and Kamanyola (DRC) bring to 12 the total number of Trade Information Desks (TIDs) established in the eastern DR Congo under the COMESA led Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Programme (GLTFP).
Four additional Trade Information Desk Officers (TIDOs) have been recruited and trained to man the two border points bringing the total number of TIDOs in the region to 24.
The launch of TID at Kamanyola took place on 11 February 2020 with Bugarama scheduled towards the end of March 2020. The two are the most recent set-up, reflecting the demand from Rwanda and D R Congo for TIDs to boost cross border trade and respective border markets.
The decision to establish the two desks was part of the priority activities and timelines agreed upon during the World Bank Implementation Support Mission held in June 12, 2019. The GLTFP is supported by the World Bank.
The joint border is crucial for development and expansion of trade between the two countries but also with Burundi. Most of the commodities traded by small scale traders are agricultural and hence contribute to enhancing incomes for local communities and improving household food security.
The GLTFP Coordinator, Thomas Barasa said the establishment of additional trade information desks and officers is intended to enhance access to information among small scale cross border traders and boost trade.
“The traders are expected to better understand government regulations and procedures related to cross-border trade and avoid use of illegal crossings and pay relevant taxes that are due to governments of both DRC and Rwanda,” he said.
“Overall better understanding between small-scale cross-border traders and border officers will promote bilateral trade, food security, harmonious co-existence, peace and prosperity for local communities in both countries.”
The project staff will provide on-the-spot information to traders on the COMESA Regulations and the STR, support the clearance process (e.g. by helping filling the required forms), seek to resolve disputes between traders and officials as well as collect relevant data on STR transactions at the Kamanyola and Bugarama borders, among other duties.
At the launch, the TIDOs were introduced to the local community and leadership. This was followed by an orientation programme on their roles and responsibilities, to enable them clearly to understand their tasks, including reporting obligations and how to facilitate small scale traders.
The Kamanyola launch was attended by border officials from immigration, customs, police, health, Ministry of Commerce, D R Congo at Provincial level and by the Coordinator of GLTFP, South Kivu, among others.