Maize exports lift Zambian trade volumes to Great Lakes

Zambia’s trade volumes to the Great Lakes Region have increased to more than 15 000 tons, following the decision to lift the maize export ban, says Zambian Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba.

The minister says the modernisation of Mpulungu Port, the gateway to the region,  will further bolster trade.

“Since lifting the ban on the export of maize, there has been an increase in trade volumes from Zambia to over 15 000 tons every month from the average 11 000 tons when the ban was in place,” Mushimba says.

The Great Lakes Region is made up of Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, Kenya and Sudan.

Following the lifting of the grain export moratorium, Zambia secured US$100m million worth of maize export deals to the east African region, which battles with a serious grain deficit.

However, exports are slow due to logistical challenges and the recent strong performance of the kwacha which made Zambian grain uncompetitive.

Mushimba says increasing the capacity of Mpulungu port from 30 000 tons to 60 000 will help improve transport of commodities to the region.

“The expansion of the port will provide a efficient transport model along regional corridors as waterways’ transport is costly,” he says.

Other Zambian exports through the port to the Great Lakes Region include sugar, cement and steel.

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