The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement to facilitate cross-border trade under the regional bloc Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Ministers from the two countries discussed a draft collaboration framework and action plan that has been developed with the aim of finding long-term solutions to challenges facing transporters.

DRC Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Interior and Security Peter Kazadi in opening remarks reiterated Congo's commitment to finding lasting solutions to the problems linked to the Kasumbalesa border point."The incessant calls from transporters in the SADC network about the difficulties they encounter daily in carrying out their activities have reached our ears,” said Kazadi.

Read: Continental free trade off to a sluggish start“DRC is concerned about this situation, which is hampering the smooth flow of trade between our two countries. We have agreed to work together with Zambia and find a lasting solution to this situation,” he added.

According to him, the meeting between the transport and trade ministers "is an important step in the realisation of the commitment of our two states, with the support of SADC, to overcome the obstacles hindering trade and cross-border traffic within our region".

Kasumbalesa is the second busiest land border crossing in the SADC region after Beitbridge, which is between South Africa and Zimbabwe. It is located at a point where several of the region's trade corridors converge.

These include North-South Corridors, Dar es Salaam Development Corridor, Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor, Beira development Corridor and Lobito development Corridor.

Several trucks often wait for long hours before crossing the Kasumbalesa border point.

Zambia's Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Jacob Jack Mwiimbu also stressed the need to implement effective border management between the two countries and SADC region as a whole, adding that Kasumbalesa border point serves the entire region.

In a statement issued on behalf of SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi, the bloc's Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration Angele Makombo commended the ministers for their efforts to find permanent solutions to the persistent problems at the border post.

Makombo echoed the strategic importance of the Kasumbalesa border post for easy movement of goods in the region.

Read: AfCFTA calls for removal of visas to ease logisticsMore than 300 lorries cross the border for imports and another 300 for exports everyday, according to tax expert Jérôme Sekana.

DRC mainly exports mining products while Zambia mainly exports cereals, manufactured goods and petroleum products.

The two countries agreed to put in place procedures to allow 24-hour border operations at Kasumbalesa, Sakania, Mokambo and Kipushi border posts, continue the modernisation of borders in order to resolve all border infrastructure issues, harmonise visa fees between the two states and implement advance customs clearance of goods in order to reduce congestion at the borders. © Copyright 2022 Nation Media Group. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (