Component 1: Improving core trade infrastructure and facilities in the border areas

The project finances improvements to core trade infrastructure and facilities at specific land border crossing points. In addition, provides support to ministries responsible for trade and commerce to finance the planning and construction of cross-border markets in the border areas.


11.1: Border infrastructure and facilities

The project supports improvements to infrastructure and facilities at priority border posts that were identified based on traffic volumes, importance to supply chains of goods traded most across the borders, relevance to conflict dynamics in the region and the poor state of infrastructure to support cross-border trade. The border posts selected for improvement through the project suffer from similar constraints, namely: • They are old, poorly maintained, and often inadequate to process and control cross-border traffic. IT equipment, when it exists, is insufficient, and systems are organized along institutions and not integrated. • Traders report abuse and ill-treatment by officials, even when they consider that they are following the rules. • Smuggling is rife with numerous instances where officials report spontaneous offers of donations or favors in exchange of turning a blind eye to the traffic. • Small shipments are often broken up into small loads and imported piecemeal by walking across the border line. Once cleared under a simplified taxation scheme, goods are immediately reconsolidated outside the border control area.

The project is addressing these constraints by applying several design principles even though each site has its own specificity, regarding traffic, population, culture, or history. Topography also obviously plays a role. The guiding principles are the following:

Developing integrated facilities. The concept of one stop border posts is widely accepted across the project countries. A common approach will be promoted where initially, different agencies of the same country, and eventually officials from different countries are housed in the same facility.

Phasing of development. A modular approach to development will be adopted, where feasible. Although it is difficult to predict future developments, a border facility must be flexible enough to evolve over time, taking into account new conditions.

Providing for channeling of traffic. Under current operations, there is an unending flow of pedestrians, trishaws and motor bikes, without much control. The basic principle of border operations is to separate different categories of traffic. The project will finance the provision of lanes to protect users, including fencing-off to a sufficient height, to enhance control. The lanes will provide for single-direction flow. Kasindi – Mpondwe The project is financing the renovation of the entire Kasindi-Mpondwe border post, in phases as follows: • Rehabilitation of the parking area and installation of an unloading bay and Customs storage areas. • Installation of two one-way and fenced-off pedestrian lanes, between the bridge and the border control facilities. This will prevent access to the inhabited area close to the border, for which an alternative access road should be planned. • Replacing the narrow bridge between the two countries. Two pedestrian lanes will be considered alongside the bridge. • New road design and construction to provide for one-way traffic flows (and thus resolve the turning radius and crossing issues). • Complement and to the extent that it is feasible, adapt the existing structure to introduce pedestrian control booths on its external sides. • New border infrastructure, facilities and systems at Mpondwe, the Uganda side of the border. Bunagana - Bunagana The project will finance interventions at the following border posts:

DRC: building new facilities and systems at Petite Barrière (Goma) and Ruzizi I (Bukavu); and improving Bunagana and Kasindi. At the latter two border posts the project will finance measures to improve security, the flow of traffic and to install surveillance and other systems for the border agencies.

Rwanda: limited improvements at Rusizi I border post. Subsequent to and based on the designs to be produced under Sub-component 1.4 below, the project will finance at Rusizi I limited works to improve traffic flow and handling, to complement the proposed interventions on the DRC side of the border. The works will be limited to those consistent with the broader design of the border post financed under Sub-component 1.4 of the project; and Uganda: building new facilities and systems at Mpondwe and improvements as above at Bunagana

21.2: Development of border markets and logistics
The project is financing the construction of markets to facilitate market exchanges of agricultural products in the borderlands. Border markets will facilitate the selling and buying of goods at locations close to the border and serve also as logistics platforms to allow consolidation and transportation of products. They will enable the small scale producers to reduce post-harvest losses and to engage more in cross- border trade without having to travel over long distances into neighboring countries.
31.3: Upgrading Infrastructure at Kamembe airport in Rwanda
Kamembe Airport is located in western Rwanda at the border to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The majority of passengers on the Kamembe and Kigali segment are Congolese (about percent, according to RwandAir), transiting in Kigali to take further international flights (mainly to Dubai and the regional cities, and more and more to China). They are mainly travelling for trade purposes, and carry large amounts of luggage and freight. The infrastructure at Kamembe Airport is in dire need for rehabilitation and improvement. The project will finance four main types of interventions: a) installation of modern navigational aids (GNSS and VOR/DME approach) and aeronautical ground lighting; b) weather and communications systems to improve predictability and air traffic management information; c) installation of new fencing around the perimeter; and d) construction of a storage warehouse for goods that are shipped or arriving by air.
41.4: Feasibility studies
Support has been provided to DRC and Uganda for feasibility studies and detailed designs of border posts in order to advance preparation of the second phase of the project (SOP2) or interventions by governments or other development partners. The studies and designs are on the following: DRC: two border posts, namely Kavimvira and Mahagi, two ports, Kalemie and Uvira on Lake Tanganyika and Kavumu airport near Bukavu; the scope of the study on Kavumu airport will follow, as appropriate, the recommendations of airport Strategic Plan that is under preparation under the Multimodal Transport Project. The Strategic Plan is for all airports in the DRC; Rwanda: Rusizi 1 border post. Subsequent to and based on the study and designs therein, some priority but limited works may be financed to improve traffic flow, consistent with the interventions on the DRC side (under Sub-component 1.1); and Uganda: Goli border post (counterpart of Mahagi in DRC).

Component 2: Implementation of Policy and Procedural Reforms and Capacity Building to Facilitate Cross-Border Trade in Goods and Services

The project includes policy and procedural reforms to improve the efficiency, capacity, and security of border operations at the border crossings. As a result, new border facilities will be designed to accommodate, possibly in a phased manner, procedural changes and inter-agency (and subsequently, cross-border) integration.

The reforms are essential to make border crossing procedures more transparent and predictable. This is of particular importance to small-scale traders, and especially women, who are typically more vulnerable given the asymmetry in power between the official and trader and the current lack of a functioning mechanism for addressing complaints and resolving disputes for small-scale traders. In addition, the reforms would contribute to increasing safety and reducing the scope for harassment at the border, especially for women, to reducing time to cross the border and to allowing improved control and revenue generation at key border crossings

1Sub-component 2.1. Support for implementation of policy and procedural reforms at the targeted border crossings
This Sub-component focuses on basic rights and obligations for both traders and officials and the consistent application of simple rules at the border. The Sub-component supports the 3 countries: (i) to implement the COMESA Regulations on the Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Small-Scale Cross-Border Traders (based on the Charter for Cross-Border Traders). The project will establish citizen engagement mechanisms, including through a toll-free hotline which will allow traders to report harassment and seek information on regulations and border procedures; (ii) to extend the COMESA Regulations to small-scale trade in services by simplifying and making transparent immigration and health related procedures for crossing borders to provide or consume services. Particular focus will be placed on streamlining procedures to allow Congolese travelers and air freight fast and smooth access to and clearance at Kamembe airport; and (iii) to implement the COMESA STR which provides for small-scale traders to qualify for duty-free entry for certain goods and for a more simple and reduced set of documentary requirements to cross the border. The Charter, which constitutes the basis for the COMESA Regulations, has been developed and tested by the Bank at a number of other border posts in Sub-Saharan Africa. It enshrines a set of basic rights and obligations for traders and officials and aims to improve behavior at borders and to promote the gradual formalization of informal cross-border trade. Initially developed to facilitate trade in goods, the current version of the Charter includes both trade in goods and trade in services. The COMESA Regulations based on the language and principles of the Charter will be tailored to reflect the specific challenges (including institutional reforms required in specific cases) faced by small-scale traders at targeted border crossings, and will be extended to trade in services. The project also facilitates cross-border trade in services including movement through Kamembe Airport. The project finances extension of the COMESA Regulations to services to simplify immigration and health related procedures for people crossing borders to provide or consume small scale services. Reforms will be designed and implemented to target informal trade in services with emphasis on sectors such as health and education services, construction, housekeeping, hairdressing and agricultural support services. The project focuses on streamlining procedures to allow Congolese travelers and air freight fast and smooth access to and clearance at Kamembe Airport. Extensive use of ICT technology is used to (i) inform traders about the requirements for cross-border trading; (ii) monitor the enforcement of the COMESA Regulations; and (iii) address issues such as corruption, sexual harassment and physical violence. The project supports the establishment or strengthening of Joint Border Committees (JBCs), the main forum for inter-agency cooperation and stakeholder consultation, at each of the border posts. JBCs are important vehicles to support implementation of the procedural reforms under this project including adoption and implementation of the COMESA Regulations and the Simplified Trade Regime. JBCs would also act as regular fora bringing together officials from each side, and sometimes from both sides, of the borders selected for project implementation, and would be primarily responsible for discussing and resolving common issues, with the ultimate purpose of promoting inter-agency cooperation, improving border procedures and enhancing overall security. JBCs play a major role in addressing concerns and complaints raised by traders through the ICT reporting mechanism, especially those that can be dealt with at border level and do not need to be escalated to HQs. Finally, the committees may be used to coordinate border officials attending trainings on the COMESA Regulations and the STR, and also be involved in the various awareness-raising activities for border officials planned under Component 2.
2Sub-component 2.2. Training and capacity building for traders and officials to support greater integrity and ethical behavior in trade processes
The project supports customized training to strengthen basic capacity and skills of agencies for better border management. The focus would be on a comprehensive program of training for officials at the border, including basic customer management, conflict resolution and gender awareness-raising among others, with the aim of supporting improved governance, drastically reduced levels of harassment and more efficient control and processing of goods and people. Training courses will also cover the key principles and mechanisms of the COMESA Regulations, including extension to trade in services, and include sessions on the COMESA STR. The project supports traders and traders associations by providing support on trade procedures, improving relations between traders and border officials, and access to market information and finance, among other things. Traders are trained in undertaking advocacy with their authorities to address issues related to harassment, insecurity, gender-related issues or other matters. Consultations with traders and association representatives suggest that there is a demand for increased training and information sharing on accessing market information/prices, understanding border procedures and documentation requirements, and developing and accessing credit/finance instruments. With the aim of building the capacity of those associations, traders’ representatives are involved in the delivery of dissemination and awareness-raising activities, as well as in the management of the reporting system to be used for responding to issues submitted by traders and to monitor the enforcement of the COMESA Regulations. Training of officials jointly with small-scale traders to build empathy and understanding. Earlier programs have shown this to be an effective way of decreasing incidents and increasing people’s trust in their authorities. Reverse role-playing is an efficient tool for this. Gender sensitivity and the particular needs of women will play a critical role in the trainings as well. These trainings will include a cross-border dimension, with traders’ groups from both sides of the borders brought together to exchange ideas and experiences. In turn, these groups may play an important role in the monitoring of border agents’ performance, and engage in a constant dialogue to increase cross-border solidarity and social cohesion.
3Sub-component 2.3. Support for regional coordination of the policy and procedural reforms at the targeted border crossings and regional training for traders and officials
To support the implementation of the STR, COMESA has established Trade Information Desks (TIDs) at a number of border posts in the region. These were intended to provide key information to traders on e.g. duty, documentary and other requirements, as well as to assist them in the clearance process e.g. in the filling of forms and other required documentation at the border. Under Component 2, this project will support the enhancement of existing TIDs, or the creation of new ones, at the border crossings selected for implementation. The effective implementation of the STR requires bilateral negotiations to agreeing upon a common list of STR-eligible products, and a threshold for STR applicability at each border post. The COMESA Secretariat will coordinate these activities through the TIDs that will be established or reinforced at each border. The project will enable the initial staffing/increased staffing of these STR Information Desks to provide on-the-spot information to traders and support in the clearance process (e.g. by helping them filling the required forms). The project will also support the creation of an ad-hoc position for a dedicated COMESA TID Coordinator, who would be based in the region and held responsible for overall supervision of all TIDs, as well as for regular collection of relevant data and statistics (to be then used for awareness-raising purposes). Given previous experience with TIDs, COMESA was considered the most suitable agency to lead in the implementation of all related activities. More generally, the decision to include a regional institution among the implementing agencies responds to the need of ensuring overall consistency, and of introducing regional oversight, in the implementation of certain project activities such as training of the trainers, monitoring of the TID officers and policy dialogue and dissemination on regional initiatives, among others. The reliance on the COMESA Secretariat as an implementing agency is also expected to allow for enhanced coordination in the collection of data and statistics on small-scale trade in the three countries, and to offer increased potential for dissemination of that data at regional level. COMESA will play a key role in ensuring regional coordination and communication regarding implementation of the COMESA Regulations and the STR. The project will support effective implementation of the COMESA STR. The project will raise awareness of the scheme among traders and officials, and clarify the applicable threshold per transaction for traders to benefit from the STR regime. The project will support dialogue on the list of common goods that can benefit from the STR to expand the list to include products of particular importance for small-scale traders and for poverty reduction – where possible, this policy dialogue will also be aimed at revisiting existing thresholds, and at ensuring overall threshold consistency between neighboring countries. There will also be support for consistent implementation of the STR at all border crossing covered by the project. Extensive communication campaigns will be put in place at the regional level by the COMESA Secretariat to support the dissemination and implementation of the STR. The project will support regional coordination of training programs for small-scale traders and officials including development of training materials, best practices and training of trainers. In addition, the project will support regional training for peer learning. The training will be implemented through the COMESA Secretariat. These regional trainings will be combined with a dialogue at the capital city level to formalize and institutionalize cross-border collaboration platforms, for information-sharing, troubleshooting and joint provision of security to traders and others. This would strengthen the already good (but ad hoc) interaction of border officials. Specifically, training sessions will be held at regional level (under COMESA coordination) for national trainers, who will then deliver country-specific trainings to traders and officials. The overall purpose of this exercise will be to ensure regional consistency on themes and subjects covered in the national trainings – similarly, regional training materials to be used in those sessions will be prepared beforehand as a result of border visits and local consultations. To sum up, at the regional level the project will support: • Regional communication to raise awareness on the STR, and the COMESA Regulations on Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Small-Scale Cross-Border Traders, including their extension to trade in services. • Strengthen Trade Information Desks (TIDs) to support and monitor implementation of the COMESA Regulations on Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Small-Scale Cross Border Traders. This will entail close monitoring conducted at border-level by an ad-hoc COMESA TID Coordinator, along with overall supervision and regional backstopping provided by dedicated officials within the COMESA Headquarters. • Regional training activities and coordination of national training sessions to support the policy and procedural reforms.