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Africa: Trade

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the Answer of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1166W, on Africa: borders, what steps are being taken by his Department to facilitate trade across borders in parts of Africa other than southern Africa in 2008-09. (223687)

Outside Southern Africa, the Department for International Development’s (DFID) work to facilitate cross-border trade is focused in East Africa (the East African Community (EAC)—Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi). DFID is preparing a major new regional programme to facilitate trade by EAC member states. It will focus on expanding intra-regional trade through reducing the costs of trading across borders by supporting one stop border posts, customs reforms and the development of revenue sharing arrangements between countries.

DFID has already been helping the Government of Uganda to implement its EAC commitments and has supported the East African Business Council to undertake a study of the EAC Customs Union implementation. This highlights the major reforms necessary to reduce the barriers to trade across East Africa. As a result of this work, a notable success is the 24 hour opening of Mombassa port to allow for more efficient processing of containers.