25 December 2012

East Africa: TradeMark Invests U.S.$75 Million in Border Posts

Arusha, Tanzania — TradeMark East Africa is investing a total of $75m for the development of one stop border posts between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, an official has said.

"TMEA is investing around $75m in seven one stop border posts (OSBPs) across the region starting with the Northern Corridor where we are providing financing for the Busia-Busia (Kenya/Uganda) and Kagitumba-Mirama Hills (Rwanda/Uganda) border crossings," said organizations Director for the One stop Border post project Sjoerd Visser.

He told East African Business Week that in addition, the organization is also financing the construction of the Taveta-Holili (Kenya-Tanzania), Mutukula-Mutukula (Tanzania/Uganda), Kobero-Kabanga (Burundi/Tanzania) Tunduma (Tanzania/Zambia) and Elegu/ Nimule (Uganda/South Sudan) border crossings across East Africa.

Ms Visser said that the construction of three one stop border posts between Kenya and Tanzania (at Taveta/Holili), Tanzania/Uganda (Mutukula) and Kenya/Uganda (Busia) have started and will be delivered between early 2013 to end of 2013.

"The designs of the two posts located between Rwanda/Uganda (Kagitumba/Mirama Hills) and Burundi/Tanzania (Kobero/Kabanga) have been finalized with construction starting in early 2013 and ending in 2014," said the director.

The director added that the design for the two posts between Tanzania/Zambia (Tunduma/Nakonde) and between Uganda/South Sudan (Elegu/Nimule) will start beginning of 2013, construction will end in 2014/2015.

Visser however pointed out that in order to make the border posts operate more efficiently, it is crucial that investments are made in implementing Integrated Border Management (IBM).

"The mention of the integrated border management often conjures up an image of complex information technology systems complete with sophisticated software to manage borders," said the director adding that what integrated border management really means, on the other hand, is the process employed to get all border agencies to work together.

"To do this requires getting these agencies involved in the implementation of the one stop border post that includes the design and construction phase as well as in the implementation or operationalisation phase."

Visser further explains that implementation of integrated border management involves establishing the clearance processes that need to be followed and deciding if the sequencing of these processes can be re-engineered to increase efficiency at borders.

It also involves sharing of border resources by the partner states that could include but not limited to inspection and verification sheds to foster a work culture of information sharing and cooperation among border agencies as well as between border agencies from adjoining countries.

Ms Visser adds that to ensure success, IBM must operate under legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks to allow interagency and bilateral cooperation at borders.

However, it is neither a complex concept nor an unattainable one. IBM can be implemented with or without new infrastructure although new infrastructure significantly improves traffic flow management, which is at the fulcrum of the OSBP concept.

The director promised that TMEA will continue to prioritise integrated border management as the overarching concept guiding the implementation of One Stop Border Posts to support EAC Partner States' efforts to boost economic growth in the region by ensuring faster clearance at border crossings and ultimately a reduction of transport time and costs.

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