IOM and FCDO assisting Government to support Informal Cross Border Traders to do business safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CHIRUNDU- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will today begin a series of visits, training sessions and goods distribution activities at key border posts that are part of the Supporting Informal Cross-border Traders in Southern Africa to do Business Safely during the COVID-19 Pandemic project. Informal Cross Border Trade which accounts for up to 40% of total intra-SADC trade, with an estimated value of US$17.6 billion has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because of border closures and travel restrictions throughout the region. These measures have had a negative impact on the livelihoods of Informal Cross Border Traders as they are unable to conduct their trade normally. The project managed by IOM Zambia, is implemented in conjunction with IOM missions in Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom, the initiative aims to contribute towards the enhanced protection of the health and economic rights of Informal Cross Border Traders through the facilitation of continued trade during the COVID 19 pandemic.
The field visits will provide stakeholders with a background on the project, provide refresher training on COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control and training sessions on trade facilitation which will be followed by a registration exercise for Informal Cross Border Traders in Chirundu and Beitbridge. The points of entry and border markets will be equipped with handwashing facilities and a waste management system will be implemented for safe disposal of used infection prevention and control materials. Border staff will be provided with PPE and thermometers and cross border traders will be provided with COVID-19 kits including sanitizer, masks, gloves. Participating will be officials from the ministries of Industry and Commerce, Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development, District Development and Medical officials, the Department of Immigration, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and representatives of Cross Border Trader organizations as well as officials from IOM and the funding partner FCDO.
Speaking to launch the visits, IOM Zimbabwe Chief of Mission Mario Lito Malanca said that reducing the constraints and challenges faced by Informal Cross Border traders operating during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to ensuring the livelihoods of the most vulnerable and ensures that they do not fall deeper into crisis because of the negative socio-economic impact of the pandemic. “With projections indicating that COVID-19 could be with us for a while longer, it is critical to equip those engaging in Informal Cross Border Trade with the tools to operate efficiently in the midst of it”, Malanca said.
For more information contact Fadzai (Penny) Nyamande-Pangeti
+263242704285 [email protected]