DRC, Zambia Vow to Resolve Customs Delays for Vans Hauling Copper, Cobalt

The presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia have vowed to resolve customs delays for vans transporting copper from the 2 high producers in Africa. The rising demand for electrical automobiles has fueled a race for the copper and cobalt used of their batteries, however truckloads of the important thing metals have been caught on the border.

Offended truck drivers name for customs to hurry up clearances on the border after a gathering this month amongst officers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

A number of the drivers, from southern and japanese Africa, have been parked in a kilometers-long line on the border for weeks.

They’re ready to ship items into the DRC or to take invaluable metals out.

Driver Ediwn Kalaba is hauling copper to South Africa for export however has been caught on the border for greater than every week, sleeping in his truck.

He mentioned it’s harmful as a result of thieves can break in or steal gasoline or components from their vans.

“We’re being robbed or attacked now and again, extra particularly on the diesel difficulty and battery. Items will not be secure. No bathrooms; only a bush,” mentioned Kalaba.

Peter Mumba is president of the United Truck Drivers and Allied Staff Union of Zambia.

He mentioned the federal government wants to deal with the state of affairs on the border urgently.

“The lifetime of a truck driver, it has grow to be so tough … as a result of only one journey or one journey from South Africa, even Tanzania, to enter DRC takes somebody even perhaps greater than a month for him to return residence,” mentioned Mumba.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi mentioned the border downside Saturday on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Zambian media quote Hichilema saying Tshisekedi agreed to take care of the difficulty.

Zambia’s transport and logistics minister, Frank Tayali, informed VOA they won’t tolerate any additional delays. He blamed poor customs companies on either side.

“This impacts instantly on authorities ‘s capacity to gather income, which is so wanted for the various issues that we’ve lined up as a authorities to try to put this financial system again on monitor. We’re giving officers right here six days to deliver the state of affairs again to regular earlier than heads begin to roll,” he mentioned.

Zambia in 2021 turned the primary African nation within the COVID period to default on its debt and has since been negotiating with collectors.

The DRC can be affected by the border congestion, says its vice consul, Nkulu Ndala, in Ndola, Zambia.

He estimates each Zambia and the DRC are dropping greater than half one million {dollars} monthly from the border delays.

“Our financial system goes down in Congo. It’s a critical difficulty that must be resolved very quickly between Zambia and Congo by means of our bilateral relations,” he mentioned.

Ndala mentioned the DRC produced 2.2 million metric tons of copper final 12 months.

Zambia’s Chamber of Mines says the nation produced slightly greater than one-third of that quantity.

Zambia and the DRC produce 80 % of the world’s copper and two-thirds of its cobalt – important parts of electrical automobiles which might be seeing a leap in international demand.

Mining skilled John Musonda from Zambia’s Copperbelt College mentioned creating the railway system might ease the issue.

“The railway techniques which have been created to get copper to the coast are dilapidated with trains transferring at lower than 35 kilometers an hour. This has seen bulk cargo spilling over on to the roads, we have now seen extra funding within the highway sector, however these roads will not be lasting they get broken day in, time out regardless of billions of {dollars} being spent on these roads as a result of bulk cargo shouldn’t be designed to be moved on these fragile roads.”

The DRC and Zambia final 12 months agreed to open the border posts 24 hours a day to permit for quicker processing.

However drivers say, thus far, customs officers are solely working 10 hours a day.