SADC, EU sign multi- million cross border agreement
As part of the on-going regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern African Development Community and the European Union have signed a new agreement worth Euro 3.6 million to facilitate cross-border transit of essential goods during the COVID-19 crisis.
The agreement was signed by the Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax and Jan Sadek, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Botswana and SADC.
The 3.6 million Euro for the tripartite transit and transport facilitation programme under the SADC Secretariat, is geared at developing a special corridor trip monitoring system to facilitate transit of essential goods that include food, fuel and medicines across the borders during the constraints of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Recently, SADC adopted revised regional guidelines on harmonization and facilitation of cross border transport operations across the region. These guidelines, will also facilitate the implementation of SMART corridor trip monitoring system for management of the registration of cross border trips through, recording, monitoring and surveillance of driver wellness; tracking of vehicles loads and drivers; contact tracing; queue management; as well as statistical analysis and reporting.
Ambassador Sadek said that the EU support will contribute to the easing of movements of essential goods and services across the borders within the SADC region.
On the same occasion, Ralf Andreas Breth, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Botswana launched the implementation of the German Government support to ‘measures on the prevention and management of the negative effects of COVID-19 in the SADC region’ worth EUR1.53 million, which will assist in the development of policy guidelines to harmonize and ease cross-border trade of professional medical services and strengthen the digital infrastructure of the SADC Secretariat and Member States.
“COVID-19 is a global challenge which calls for collective solidarity through strengthening existing partnerships amongst Germany, EU and SADC. This collective response will not only impact positively on short term regional response to the pandemic but will undoubtedly boost the long term availability of medical goods and services in the SADC region,” noted Ambassador Breth.