Netherlands Commits $6.7m to Enhance DRC’s Trade Links with EAC States
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with regional trade facilitator TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to improve cross border trade and enhance trade links between the country and East Africa Community (EAC) member states.
The government of the Netherlands has committed $6.7 million to kick-start the projects.
TMEA will invest in projects involving already available resources such as water transport, simplifying trade processes through training and facilitating adoption of ICT around Eastern DRC.
They will comprise dredging and rehabilitation of Kalundu Port on Lake Tanganyika; capacity building and implementation of Integrated Border Management Systems on the border crossings in Rusizi between Rwanda and Bukavu; rehalibitation of the Ports of Kasenyi on the DRC side and Ntoroko in Uganda; as well as infrastructure work at the border crossing at Goli, Uganda and Mahagi, DRC.
“Trade is a way to reduce conflict and unemployment. The agreement will contribute to the training of cross border traders in trade issues, exporting and tapping into regional markets. This will especially benefit our youth,” Prof. Nehemie Wilondja, DRC Directuer du Cabinet noted.
TMEA Director General David Stanton said they are seeking to replicate the success of similar initiatives between EAC governments and businesses to drive down the costs of trade along the key transport corridors, which include the border with DRC, in the country.
The institution has facilitated projects along the Northern Corridor from Mombasa Port, Kenya linking Uganda, Rwanda, DRC and South Sudan; and the Central Corridor connecting Dar es Salaam Port, Tanzania to Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC by road and lake transport.
Such projects have not only promoted cordial relationships and built trust among the players in cross border trade but also helped identify and tap into local markets and submission of requirements at border points effectively.
They reduce transit time across transport routes, enable businesses to diversify their products, supply market needs and create jobs.
Stanton added, “We aim to ensure that Congolese businesses are competitive and that the benefits of trade along these corridors spill over to DRC.”
Source: Footprint To Africa/TMEA
Tanzania: Yara Invests 80bn/ – At Dar Port to Aid Fertiliser Imports
IN a bid to ensure production and supply of fertilisers in the country, the Norwegian YARA
International company, which produces fertilisers has announced to invest 80bn/- at the Port of Dar es Salaam so as to improve the business.
The idea is likely to improve agriculture production in the country, since majority farmers will benefit from the huge investment. The Norwegian ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Hanne-Marie Kaarstad said his country is committed to boost agriculture sector in the country.
“The Norwegian government has provided 30m/- US dollar in a form of loan for expansion and strengthening of fertiliser section at the Port of Dar es Salaam, our aim is to see YARA improving its performance and ensure fertilisers reach farmers on time and at affordable price,” she said. She was speaking during her visit at YARA Tanzania Ltd headquarters in the city
She said the company is the main stakeholder of Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) programme. The company’s Executive Director, Mr Alexandre Macedo said the port’s fertiliser section is capable of offloading 422,400 tonnes of fertiliser per year.
“Many farmers need fertilisers, and YARA has been doing everything in its powers to reach them,” he said. He added that farmers need education on the importance of using fertilisers so that they can benefit from agriculture practices.
He said the company uses 3m/- US dollar annually in various activities that aim at improving agriculture production in the country. He said the company has employed 33 extension officers and has helped the establishment of 1,500 farmers’ learning centres.
In October, last year, the YARA announced between 35 and 40 per cent reduction of fertiliser transportation cost following the launching of railway transport services. Mr Macedo told reporters that inland transport cost has been contributing to the increase of fertiliser prices in various regions. He said transporting fertiliser from factories in Europe to Dar es Salaam port cost only 40 US dollar per tonne, but it cost 100 US dollar to transport the same from Dar es Salaam to Tabora by using road transport.
Source: All Africa
Race to build ports in Africa is turning out to be too costly
African governments have been challenged to identify unique opportunities which they can pursue for growth of their ports instead of engaging in duplicate expansion projects that do not add value to their competitiveness and growth.
Speaking during the African Ports Expansion Conference in Mombasa, leading world port and maritime sector managers said that many of the ports were duplicating what others were doing instead of trying to curve a niche for themselves so as to remain relevant.
Tessa Major, a representative of the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, said by working together African countries can supplement each other instead acting as competitors so as to ensure growth in their maritime industry.
She noted that many African countries had embarked on huge expansion projects of their ports so as to keep up with the increase in cargo volumes without focusing on future trends of the shipping industry.
The conference brought together major stakeholders in the maritime industry including government officials, port authorities, contractors, techonology providers, suppliers of port equipment and consultants.
“When you look at majority of the expansion projects in African ports, most of them are similar. When we were expanding our Port in Antwerp, our biggest competitor was the port of Rotterdam in Netherlands but we realised the Port of Rotterdam deals more in liquid cargo,” said Tessa.
The port of Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe after the Rotterdam port in the Netherlands which handles approximately 200 million tonnes of cargo in an year.
Her remarks come just as the race for construction of the largest port in East Africa begins with Tanzania expected to begin construction of the Bagamoyo port and Kenya beginning the construction of the first three berths of the Lamu port; which is expected to ease cargo delays at the port of Mombasa. The conference brought together more than 50 delegates from different countries among them Belgium, South Africa , India and Tanzania.
Source: TMEA Website.
Cargo Tracking System in Rwanda goes electronic
The Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA} has today commissioned the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS), joining its partners in Kenya and Uganda. The system connects the three countries electronic cargo tracking systems, enabling them to jointly track cargo from port to destination on a twenty-four-hour basis.
The RECTS is expected to enhance cargo security and curb diversions which will ultimately reduce transit time, cost of cargo transportation and enhance transparency as all stakeholders will have access to the system. The commissioning of RECTS follows a July 3rd 2014 directive by the Northern Corridor Heads of State Summit in Kigali, compelling Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to embrace joint e-monitoring of transit cargo along the corridor through a harmonized system to enable seamless flow of cargo.
TMEA Rwanda Country Director Patience Mutesi said RECTS encourages better cross border coordination and transit monitoring, improved voluntary compliance with transit laws and regulations. It also ensures that minimal costs are used in enforcement hence better revenue collection.
Source: TMEA Website.
SWEDISH DELEGATION TOURS TRADE FACILITATION PROJECTS IN SOUTHERN TANZANIA
A Swedish delegation led by the Director General for Trade in the Swedish Ministry Foreign Affairs, Ms Karin Olofsdotter, and the Director General for International Development Cooperation, Johannes Oljelund and the Swedish Ambassador to Tanzania, H.E Katarina Rangnitt visited the Tunduma One Stop Border Post (OSBP) currently under construction. The border lies between Tanzania and Zambia. The visit was organised by the Swedish Embassy in Tanzania in collaboration with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).
The visit provided an opportunity to assess the impact of different trade facilitation initiatives being supported by the Swedish government and other development agencies aimed at improving the lives of Tanzanians by strengthening the business environment. TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is providing funding to the Government of Tanzania through the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) for the construction of the Tunduma OSBP and is working with border agencies in Tanzania and Zambia to set up mechanisms for integrated border management and harmonization of customs procedures. This aims to reduce waiting times at the border post by 30% within 18 months.
Congestion at Tunduma, the busiest border in Tanzania in terms of volume of cargo, makes Dar es Salaam Port unattractive to importers in East and Central African countries. Transit cargo traffic represents about one third of total cargo handled by Dar es Salaam but this could drop if urgent action to decongest the border town is not taken. Deficiencies in the existing regulation, management and administration and the poor state of physical facilities at the border also contribute to the congestion.
It takes 45 days (to and fro) to deliver goods to Zambia, 15 of which are spent at Tunduma. 80 per cent of all transit containers destined to Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia are charged demurrage by shipping liners for the delay to bring empty containers to the Dar es Salaam Port. The demurrage charges are estimated to cost the Tanzanian economy about $10million annually.
TMEA and its partners have worked very successfully to reduce the costs of transport across East Africa, which has reduced the costs of imports and increased commerce and government revenues.
In his speech, TradeMark East Africa Country Director, Mr. John Ulanga remarked ‘’the support being provided by Sweden in supporting trade facilitation in areas of standards harmonisation and support to cross-border women traders is vital promoting cross-border trade and reducing poverty in Tanzania”.
The Director-General of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) David Stanton noted that TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) in conjunction with Sweden and other development partners will replicate the success of other one-stop border posts in the region. He added that TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) will work with the government especially to improve the treatment of women cross- border traders so they can trade without hindrance, and generate greater incomes for their families. Tanzanian women traders interviewed by the Swedish delegation were trading in Zambia and DRC.
Sweden has a long tradition of generous and ambitious development aid. In her speech, Karin Olofsdotter, the Director General for Trade noted, “Delivery of these trade facilitation projects including the construction of the Tunduma OSBP is expected to promote cross border trade which is vital for the many women cross border traders working in Southern Tanzania. A key outcome of these projects is increased Incomes, creation of jobs and sustained livelihoods for the people of Tanzania”
Earlier in the day the Directors General and the delegation paid a courtesy call to the Mbeya Regional Commissioner, Mr Amos Makalla. Ms Makalla briefed the delegation on the economy in Mbeya and key development projects undertaken in collaboration with development partners, including Sweden. The delegation noted with satisfaction the impact they have had in building small business and improving the welfare of clients.
Sweden through Financial Sector Deepening Tanzania (FSDT) has supported The National Microfinance Bank (NMB) to develop a mobile banking service which has made it less costly for traders especially women in rural areas to gain access to financial services.
Tanzania is one of Sweden’s long-standing partners in development support, celebrating 50 years of cooperation in 2013. One goal is to reduce Tanzania’s dependency on aid. The focus of the strategy is to achieve concrete results in the following areas, where women, children, young people and entrepreneurs are the main target groups.
Tanzania-Zambia ‘one stop center’ to boost cross-border trade
The newly established Tanzania and Zambia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) which is to start operation on February 1 at the Tunduma-Nakonde border will ease and boost trade between the two countries, senior officials said Sunday.
The two countries have already signed an agreement on how the OSBP will be operating. The decision to establish the OSBP came as part of implementing orders issued by the presidents of the two countries, John Magufuli and Edgar Lungu. The two leaders issued the order in Dar es Salaam when Zambian President Lungu visited the East African nation last month.
The signing ceremony of the key document was held at Vwawa town few kilometers from the Tunduma-Nakonde border, whereby Tanzania was represented by Amina Khamis Shaaban, Finance and Planning Deputy Minister and Adolf Mkenda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Zambia was represented by Kayula Siame, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry. Tanzania’s Amina said that the Tunduma-Nakonde OSBP combines two stops for national border control processing into one and consolidates border control functions in a shared space for exiting one country and entering another.
She explained that the post will be using simplified procedures and joint processing wherever appropriate. She further disclosed that the border facility is aimed at reducing transit costs incurred in cross-border movement by combining the activities of both country’s border organizations and agencies.
According to the Tanzania’s deputy minister, the post will easy trade between the two nations, as goods will be inspected once as all authorities will be operating under one roof. “This will also boost revenue collections,” the official said, adding: “The facility will also address all key challenges that have been thwarting trade between the two nations. It will encourage people to do the cross-border trade.”
She is optimistic that the new drive will also help to address the smuggling of goods at the Tanzania-Zambia border. “The center will bring on board institutions from the two countries to work as one team, something that makes them exchange their experiences, which will improve their day-to-day operations,” she said.
Tanzania’s Mkenda explained that to improve services at the border will increase transport business for cargo from Dar es Salaam Port to Zambia and other neighboring countries. Charles Kichere, Deputy Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), said the center will be equipped with the information communication and technology (ICT).
Zambia’s Siame said that citizens of the two countries will take advantage of the existence of facility to achieve their business and use its export and import goods from either of the two sides. The Tunduma-Nakonde OSBP becomes the fifth one after the completion of four others in the borders of Tanzania and neighboring countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Source: News Ghana