A free trade centre is earmarked for establishment at the new Luapula Border between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
ZANIS reports that Luapula Province Minister Nickson Chilangwa says the trade centre which will be created at Chalwe in Mwense District along the Kasomeno-Mwenda toll road and border crossing under construction, will bring sanity in cross-border trading.
“An investor has already expressed interest in investing in a special economic and trade zone that will change the way crossing border trading is conducted,“ he said.
The Minister was speaking when he undertook a benchmarking trip to Kasumbalesa to appreciate the challenges associated with informal trading.
Mr. Chilangwa who was accompanied by his Permanent Secretary Charles Mushota and MANSA Mayor Emmanuel Chungu said Kasumbalesa will provide lessons in the organization of the new trade zones.
“Cross border traders will conduct business in a non-congested, serene and conducive environment as opposed to the current situation at Kasumbalesa, “ he said.
The Chalwe free trade zone will resonate well with the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement Area (AfCFTA).
Mr. Chilangwa added that the trade zone will be developed into a world class regional hub for logistics, trade, finance and manufacturing support services.
Zambia is among African countries which have appended their signatures to the free trade agreement and duty-free trading of goods and services across borders despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new market, created under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is estimated to be as large as 1.3 billion people across Africa, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion.
This has a potential of lifting up to 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty, according to the World Bank.
And Mr. Mushota has directed the Mwense town council to take benchmarking trips and engage with their Chililabombwe counterparts on how best they can plan for the new border crossing.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chungu is confident that the Mansa Municipal Council will finalize modalities for collaboration with the Lubumbashi City Council in the DRC.