The African Development Bank has provided a grant of U$8.1 million to finance the Lobito Corridor Trade Facilitation Project to map out a strategy for its development.
The Corridor traverses four Provinces in Angola namely Huambo, Benguela, Bei and Moxico, four Provinces in The Democratic Republic of Congo namely Kantanga, Tanganyika, Lomami and Lualaba as well as two provinces in Zambia namely, Copperbelt and Northwestern.
The Financing will go towards Capacity Building for Trade facilitation and Corridor coordination, Technical Assistance for Value chains development and economic Cluster development and project Management to meet part of the investment requirements on the Corridor over the next three years.
Ministry of Commerce Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame said the three components of the Project will target basic Infrastructure development in form of a Pilot Border Market at Jimbe and two Trade Information Desks at Kipushi and Jimbe respectively.
Mrs. Siame said the Project will also support the development of Conceptual designs of One Stop Border Posts, but the actual construction of the infrastructure will require the additional funding mechanism and will be implemented at a later stage.
Speaking at the trilateral meeting between Angola, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia facilitated by the Southern African Development Community on the Lobito corridor trade facilitation project, Mrs. Siame said government is still exploring the various ways in which to finance the infrastructure including through Public Private Partnerships.
“The Lobito Corridor Trade Facilitation Project will also help to empower SMEs in agriculture, basic manufacturing and construction with skills for value addition and ability to take advantage of existing and future Corridor value chains including the vibrant Mining sector, multinational retail organizations and others”, She said.
Mrs. Siame said one of the areas of focus will be the cassava value chain that constitutes a huge potential for growth, creation of employment, wealth creation and improve the income especially for women and youth.
She has expressed hope that the meeting will address among others, poor Infrastructure on the corridor, harmonization of laws and Regulations related to intra- regional trade, cumbersome clearing processes and variances in documentation and standardization of products and recognition of certification processes by standards bureaus or authorities.
Mrs. Siame said other challenges are burdens on cross border transactions and smooth movement of proceeds of goods and people and market Intelligence surveys, trade information systems and trade mark infringements.
“I believe that with targeted interventions we can move forward the agenda for operationalizing the Lobito Corridor to its full potential and increase the usage of the port from the current 25% to 50%.