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The EU funds a new cross-border market in Chipata

 The European Union’s recent allocation of over €900,000 for the construction of the Mwami Traders Market in Chipata, Eastern Province, marks a significant milestone in the advancement of regional trade and economic integration. This ambitious project, once completed, is poised to serve as a vibrant cross-border marketplace, fostering commercial exchanges between traders from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. The ceremony commemorating this initiative, attended by dignitaries including Lillian Bwalya, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, showcased the collective commitment towards enhancing trade operations and reducing post-harvest losses for small-scale traders.

Bwalya’s focus on the market’s capacity to spur trade expansion highlights the revolution in the local economy that is anticipated. With its ideal location and cutting-edge amenities, the Mwami Traders Market has the potential to develop into a thriving center of business activity that will streamline transactions and create new expansion opportunities. Furthermore, the market is well-positioned to foster closer relationships and more regional cooperation by acting as a primary hub for cross-border trade.

Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Zambia, Claudio Bacigalupi, reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to supporting small-scale cross-border commerce, acknowledging the critical role that programs such as the Mwami Traders Market play in helping people make the shift from unofficial to official trade practices. The statements made by Bacigalupi highlight the EU’s dedication to fostering local communities’ economic growth and enabling them to prosper in the global economy. The EU seeks to establish a favorable climate for regional poverty reduction and sustained economic growth through focused investments and strategic alliances.

Project manager Christiane Haziyo further elucidated the project’s objectives, highlighting its efforts to address critical infrastructure gaps and provide gender-sensitive trading spaces. The construction of the Mwami Traders Market represents more than just a physical structure; it symbolizes a new era of inclusive and equitable economic development. By incorporating gender-sensitive design principles and promoting the participation of women in trade, the market seeks to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all members of society.

The significance of this endeavor lies in its contribution towards creating a secure trading environment, particularly advantageous to the majority female trader demographic. This aspect not only aligns with the EU’s broader objectives but also demonstrates its commitment to supporting trade facilitation within the COMESA region’s vital corridors. Ambassador Dr. Mohamed Kadah of COMESA commended the EU’s substantial financial contribution, acknowledging its role in fostering economic integration and enhancing Zambia’s connectivity with neighboring countries.

In essence, the creation of the Mwami Traders Market is a critical step toward fulfilling the common vision of a more inclusive, resilient, and linked regional economy. As things evolve, this effort has the potential to become a symbol of cross-border cooperation as well as a stimulus for the region’s long-term prosperity and development. With its revolutionary potential and unwavering dedication to promoting economic success, the Mwami Traders Market exemplifies the power of international cooperation in creating a better future for all.

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