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Zambia plans to boost DRC exports to $2 bln: minister

15 July 2010, Reuters

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia plans to boost its exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo to more than $2 billion this year from $1.2 billion in 2009, taking advantage of the flexible trade terms, Trade Minister Felix Mutati said on Thursday.


Mutati said exports to the DRC, Zambia's largest trading partner in the African trading bloc COMESA, had continued to increase because there were no restrictions on goods it could export to its neighbour.


"The advantage of the DR Congo is that the range of exports is from agricultural products through to processed items, machinery and literally anything we can produce in Zambia," Mutati said at a media briefing.


"All those complicated things which make it difficult to trade, particularly with Europe, do not apply with our neighbours and you could literally take live chickens across borders and they will buy," Mutati said.


Mutati said Zambia had started building a one-stop border at Kasumbalesa on the border with DRC to facilitate trade and speed up clearance procedures.


"We expect the buildings and related infrastructure to be completed by the end of this year because our colleagues in the DRC have already completed their structures," he said.


A report by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa in November showed service costs were high in sub-Saharan Africa due to poor roads, water and power networks and the region needed to double its infrastructure spending to $93 billion a year to effect improvements.

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