SADC Inter-Ministerial Task Force deliberates on addressing border challenges between Zambia and DRC


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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) held an Inter-Ministerial Task Force Meeting of Ministers of Trade, Transport, Infrastructure and Security Portfolios from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and from the Republic of Zambia on the Resolution of the Perennial Challenges Affecting the Kasumbalesa and other Border Posts on 09 May 2024 in Kinshasa, DRC. The Meeting was convened to consider the Draft Framework of Collaboration and Action Plan that was developed to find and implement long term solutions to the continued challenges faced by transporters and drivers at the Kasumbalesa Border Post between the DRC and Zambia.

The meeting was officially opened by Honourable Mr. Peter Kankonde Kazadi, Vice-Prime and Minister responsible for Interior, Security and Customary Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who also served as Head of Delegation of the DRC. In his Opening Statement, the Vice-Prime Minister reiterated DRC`s commitment to finding lasting solutions to the Kasumbalesa Border Post challenges between the two countries. On his part, Honourable Jacob Jack Mwiimbu, SC, MP, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security and Head of Delegation of the Republic of Zambia highlighted the need to implement effective border management procedures to facilitate trade between the two countries and the SADC region at large and that the Kasumbalesa Border caters to the whole region and therefore, urged for processes to be in place to facilitate these functions; from physical infrastructure to electronic infrastructure and systems.

Delivering a statement on behalf of the SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr Elias Magosi, the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for Regional Integration, Ms Angéle Makombo N`Tumba commended the Ministers, for their efforts and commitment towards finding permanent solutions to the persistent challenges at Kasumbalesa Border Post.

She reminded the Meeting of the strategic importance of the Kasumbalesa Border Post to the movement of goods across our region as it is located at a point where several trade corridors in the region converge. These include the North-South Corridors, the Dar es Salaam Development Corridor, the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor, the Beira Development Corridor, and the Lobito Development Corridor. In this regard, Kasumbalesa is the second busiest land border post in the SADC region after Beitbridge, between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Apart from the road network, Kasumbalesa is also connected with the regional railway network.

In terms of the Draft Framework of Cooperation and Action Plan, the two Member States may, to resolve the challenges experienced at the Kasumbalesa Border Post agree to implement some of the following activities:

  1. put in place procedures to allow for the twenty-four-hour border operations at Kasumbalesa, Sakania, Mokambo and Kipushi Border Posts;
  2. continue with border modernisation to address all border infrastructure challenges to mitigate trade and traffic-related challenges at Kasumbalesa Border Post;
  3. expedite the process of establishing One Stop Border Posts at all border posts starting with Kasumbalesa;
  4. harmonise visa fee policy regime on a reciprocal basis;
  5. strengthen security measures both at the border and behind the border of the two adjoining Member States;
  6. implement pre-clearance of goods to reduce congestion at the borders;
  7. ensure that adequate notification is given to either Party before implementing any major changes that may affect the flow of traffic across borders; and
  8. engage with regional bodies to facilitate the development of modalities for insurance coverage solely for drivers undertaking cross-border operations.

The Ministers of the Republic of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo expressed appreciation to the International Cooperating Partners for the support rendered towards finding a solution to the challenges experienced at the Kasumbalesa Border Post and to the implementation of SADC Regional programmes.

The Meeting produced an Outcome Statement as a significant commitment to addressing the challenges faced at the border post and as a step towards that shared vision by both the DRC and Zambia to enhance regional competitiveness. Both parties are signatories to the Outcome Statement.