By James Kunda
LUSAKA, Zambia (AA) - Zambia, Angola and Congo (DRC) signed a tripartite agreement Friday to ease trade among the three Southern African Development Community (SADC) nations.
The Lobito Corridor Transport Facilitation Agreement will help accelerate growth in domestic and cross-border trade along the Corridor and help the countries leverage opportunities for exports to Europe.
Zambian Transport and Logistics Minister Frank Tayali said he is optimistic that the signing will unlock the business potential along the Corridor.
"This will be achieved through the effective participation of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the various value chains and boost private sector investments, create jobs and foster economic growth in the three-member countries," he said in a statement.
Tayali’s DRC counterpart, Kalaba Mayiba Constantin, said the deal will ease the movement of people, goods and services and improve and stimulate regional connectivity and integration through the implementation of harmonized trade facilitation instruments.
Angolan Transport Minister Ricardo Viegas D'Abreu said the Corridor provides the three countries with a strategic outlet for goods to the Western and European export markets through the Atlantic Ocean.
Preceding the signing ceremony, SADC hailed the three member states for the agreement which was cardinal for regional integration.
"The agreement will accelerate growth in domestic and cross-border trade along the Corridor through the implementation of harmonized trade facilitation instruments, strengthening coordination of joint corridor development activities, and fostering effective participation of SMEs in value chains," the regional bloc said in a separate statement.