As the rest of the world is working to promote integration at various levels, traders at Lusaka’s COMESA market, a renowned place in Zambia, are already culturally integrated.
The market, which is situated behind the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat buildings in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, is home to over 3,000 cross-border traders from COMESA member countries who are involved in the selling of a range of household goods and wearable items.
The first thing that one notices once at COMESA market is the cultural diversity of traders that is usually evident in the language and apparel. However, the activities of these traders are well-coordinated and they go about their business freely and mingle effortlessly.
“Words like foreigner are not part of our vocabulary. There is no foreigner here, only brothers and sisters working hard to better their lives and those of their communities,” explained Kondwani Zulu, a Zambian trader.
And Moses Kayanda a cross-border trader from Tanzania, said trading at COMESA market has enabled him to be open-minded and more appreciative of other cultures, adding that this has helped him to maintain both social and business connections.
Kayanda further said initiatives such as COMESA market should be encouraged all across Africa because they provide opportunities for greater intra-Africa trade.
And COMESA Traders’ Trust, which manages COMESA market, notes that the concept of integration has long been the bedrock of the market and one that traders at the market fully appreciate.
“Even the composition of the board of COMESA Traders’ Trust is a reflection of the diverse cultures and nationalities at this trading place. The chairperson who happens to be me is Zambian, my vice is from Tanzania, the secretary is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the treasurer is from Uganda,” said Misheck Musonda.
Musonda added that integration at all levels will help to turn Africa’s economic fortunes and with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement now in place, Africa is poised to become one big prosperous village. Enditem