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Africa: Borders

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to facilitate trade across borders in southern Africa. (211809)

DFID works in southern Africa to make it easier, quicker, and cheaper to trade across borders through its Regional Trade Facilitation programme (RTFP). This is helping to raise economic growth rates, create jobs and reduce poverty in southern Africa. The RTFP, together with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC), is implementing the following specific measures:

1. Opening three one-stop border posts in the region, between: Zambia and Zimbabwe; Mozambique and South Africa; and Lesotho and South Africa. These will reduce transit times for exports and imports, and bring down transport costs which will make Southern African producers more competitive.

2. Providing technical and financial assistance to address transport and transit bottlenecks in the region, particularly focusing on improving infrastructure and reducing unnecessary red tape.

3. Supporting COMESA, EAC and SADC to simplify and modernise customs procedures and legislation and to introduce a single administrative document for Customs.