UK and TMA support safer and smooth cross-border trading during COVID-19 pandemic

Mchinji, 7th May, 2021

The UK Government in partnership with TradeMark Africa on Friday 7th May 2021 officially handed over quarantine and screening facilities in key border posts of Mwanza, Dedza and Songwe and Mchinji borders to the Malawi Ministry of Health to support its capacity and fight against COVID-19.

These facilities will meet the needs of hundreds of travellers at key Malawi border stations and border officials to include: Port Health staff, Malawi Revenue Authority staff by providing safe COVID-19 screening and isolation areas. The facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art supplies that will help in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health challenges at the border stations, thereby ensuring safety of border users and frontline personnel during the pandemic and beyond but also ultimately enabling undisrupted flow of goods and services across the key borders.

The symbolic handover ceremony of all facilities took place at Mchinji border post and was graced by Malawi’s Minister of Health Hon Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, British High Commissioner David Beer and TMA Malawi Ag Country Director, Myra Deya.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is funding Malawi’s component of TMA’s Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) programme with a contribution of MWK 400m (GBP 0.5m). It’s under this programme that the quarantine facilities handover has been made as part FCDO’s wider support for mitigation against the spread of COVID-19 and promotion of continuous safe trade in Malawi. Other interventions conducted under the Malawi STEF Programme included distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth GBP 150k composed of Reusable masks, Hand sanitisers, Hand washing points, Disinfectant spray, Infrared Thermometer, Reusable Safety Boots, Full protective PPE for front line health workers, N95 face masks and face shields, as agreed with the Malawi Ministry of Health.

British High Commissioner to Malawi, H.E Dave Beer said:

 “From informal traders to big businesses, cross-border trade drives regional business and investment into Malawi, as well as being a vital source of income for many people. The UK is helping traders to do their business legally and safely, so they do not just survive the economic consequences of COVID-19, but can thrive.” 

 Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda said:

“The timely support from the FCDO through TMA is appreciated. This compliments government efforts as we fight this war against the COVID-19 pandemic.  The quarantine facilities set up in 4 of our busiest borders will strengthen capacity for our points of entry to manage suspected cases of COVID-19  and other emerging infectious diseases among travellers.”

On her part, Malawi’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Christina Zakeyo, commended MRA and Border Agencies for measures put in place to ensure key border stations are safe for trade. She thanked the United Kingdom for promoting safety at other Malawi border crossing points including Mwanza, Dedza and Songwe.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Christina Zakeyo, said:

The four Quarantine Facilities that have been installed at targeted border stations of Songwe, Mchinji, Dedza and Mwanza under the Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) with support from FCDO will surely go a long way in containing the spread of the disease while at the same time facilitating smooth trade flows across our four main borders and corridors.

TMA Malawi Country Representative, Myra Deya, said: 

 TMA is committed to supporting the border authorities and the border users, to ensure health compliant trade between adjoining States and the region. The support is critical to facilitate the safe continuation of trading activities and especially protecting livelihoods”

The Safe Trade Emergency Facility, is a US$ 23 million emergency program rolled out by TradeMark Africa in the Eastern and Southern Africa region in the aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic that seeks to ensure regional economies continue to trade in a safe way, while curbing cross-border infections. The Trade Agency is also supporting several trade infrastructure projects as well as inclusive trade programs in Malawi. END

Download file