ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has signed on Monday a 5.6 million Euro sub-delegation agreement with COMESA to improve coordinated border management, trade and transport facilitation at its two major border posts.
The finance will bolster works at Moyale and Galafi borders that link Ethiopia to Kenya and Djibouti, respectively.
The project will assist Ethiopia to upgrade the single window service system, to increase inter- agency connectivity and to improve the connectivity of the two customs systems. The project is funded by the European Union under the COMESA Trade Facilitation Program.
Ethiopia’s State Minister of Trade and Industry, Mesganu Arga, and COMESA Secretary General, Chileshe Kapwepwe, signed the sub-delegation agreement.
The EU will also finance the construction of the main building of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at the Ethiopian Galafi border post. Other components of the project include capacity building, training of the agencies’ staff present at the borders and holding of sensitization workshops.
State minister Mesganu has appreciated COMESA and the European Union for the support, calling it “timely”.
The support came “as the Ethiopian government desires to build on the current trade facilitation effort that will enhance the efficiency and ultimately reduce the cost of doing business as Ethiopia grapples with the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”, he said.
Explaining the modalities of implementation of the sub-delegated activities, Secretary General Kapwepwe said it is envisaged the Ethiopian government will take ownership and lead in the implementation of the activities.
She added that COMESA is committed to ensure that all borders are assisted to become more efficient and operate smoothly to deepen regional trade, which will lead to enhanced regional integration.
The Ethiopian government will proceed with the implementation of the sub-delegation agreement, which includes managing contracts, supplies and services, while COMESA will provide technical guidance.
This is, according to COMESA, to ensure that implementation takes place in line with European Union procurement procedures, stipulated under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
The funds will also support capacity building for stakeholders on improved border operations and the implementation of a border information awareness campaign on customs cooperation and trade facilitation instruments.
The measures will lead to less bureaucracy, as traders will only have to submit their documentation once, and shorter clearance times will reduce the overall cost and time of transport.
Likewise, non-tariff barriers, corruption and harassment along the two-border post are expected to reduce, with notable an increase in revenue collection through enhanced trade flows, according to COMESA.
Featured Image: Boarder post at Moyale [Photo File]