The Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project (GLTFP) is a 5 year regional project implemented by the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of Uganda, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
The main project objective is to facilitate cross-border trade by increasing the capacity for commerce and reducing the costs faced by traders, especially small-scale and women traders, at targeted locations in the borderlands. Total budget for the project is 26,000,000 USD over a period of 5 years (2016-2020).
The GLTFP was approved by the Board of the World bank on 25th September, 2015 and the Financing Agreement between COMESA and the International Development Association was signed on 19 November, 2015. The project is part of the wider World Bank Great lakes Imitative (GLI) which reflects the commitment of th World Bank to assist countries of the Great Lakes Region to reduce poverty and promote common prosperity by targeting some of the most vulnerable groups in the border regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighbouring countries )Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). The GLTFP aims to support peace and stability in the region through programs to improve livelihoods in the border areas, promoting cross-border trade and strengthening economic interdependence. The GLTFP for COMESA became effective on 4th April, 2016.
The project will support improvements to infrastructure and facilities at priority border posts. The priority border posts have been identified and proposed by the authorities based on traffic volumes, importance to supply chains of goods traded most across the borders, relevance to conflict dynamics in the region and the poor state of infrastructure to support cross- border trade. Selected facilities will be improved based on integrated designs for efficient and secure traffic flows of pedestrian, passenger and commercial vehicle traffic. The designs will seek to improve security of small scale traders, particularly through separate or demarcated lanes for safe passage of pedestrian traffic, lighting and cameras, and providing warehousing so traders can safely store their goods and minimize losses in their supply chains. In addition, support will be provided to redesign access roads in the control zones and to provide parking facilities for vehicles as well as strengthening IT infrastructure and connectivity for customs and other agencies’ management and processing systems (including cross-border connectivity).
Project beneficiaries are mainly cross border traders, especially women, air travelers and vulnerable families in borderland areas.