Zanzibar Enhances Fight Against COVID-19 Through Secure Entry Points

Zanzibar, 28th September 2021: The Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development, in partnership with TradeMark Africa (TMA), delivered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be distributed to frontline workers in Zanzibar.

This is part of TradeMark Africa’s wider support for mitigation measures against the spread of COVID-19 and continuous trade in Eastern and Southern Africa borders under its Safe Trade Emergency Facility Programme. Today’s symbolic handover will cover the needs of customs, immigration, security, and port health officials in Zanzibar for a period of 6 months.

On his part, Principal Secretary Dr. Islam Seif Salum thanked TradeMark Africa for their support to the government’s efforts to fight COVID-19, further saying; “. The PPEs being handed over to the border officials will strengthen our government’s measures of making our borders safe and open for trade. Given the vulnerability and exposure of the frontline workers to the virus, protection of all border personnel is paramount in ensuring they work in safe and optimal working conditions so that trade continues uninterrupted.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Ireland and Norway are funding Tanzania’s component of the TMA Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) programme with a contribution of TZS 208,350,000(USD 90,000).

Distribution of PPE is a key component of TMA’s Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) programme, that was launched to respond to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit Eastern and Southern Africa’s border crossing points, causing some of the worst disruptions in history. The usually busy land borders are a main vector of human transmission from one country to another. In response, governments have adopted mandatory testing of border users at crossing points. Yet, crossing points have shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for front line staff and there are frequent reports of border officials contracting the disease. Inadequate or no PPEs for frontline officers, especially for port health and security personnel, is causing delays in border clearance processes. The PPE provided include key items agreed in consultation with governments, port health authorities and advice from medical agencies at regional and international levels.

Other interventions under the Safe Trade Emergency Facility include:  technology to enhance truck driver testing and tracking; the development and implementation of relevant protocols to enhance efficient and safe trade; supporting trade policy, standards and SPS; policy advocacy and improving e-commerce; and the development of safe trade zones to support formal and informal traders at the borders.

TMA Country Director for the Tanzania Country Programme, Monica Hangi  said, ‘’TMA is committed to supporting staff working at entry points and the border users, to ensure medical compliant trade in the region. She noted that the support is critical to facilitate the safe continuation of trading activities and especially protecting livelihoods.’’

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