ALL 'One-Stop-Border' posts (OSBPs) along borders separating the East African countries will be fully operational by next January 2018, An official at the EAC Secretariat confirmed here.
The East African region has identified 15 border posts in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania for conversion from 'two-stop' border posts into single premises entity or OSBPs to facilitate movement of people and goods across the region.
An official with the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat confirmed here yesterday that two mapped OSBPs in Longido, Tanzania and Kajiado in Kenya are scheduled for official launch by President John Magufuli.
Others posts like the Na manga border however still lack installation of modern equipment for speedy and smooth clearance. Ten years after the project initiation, works on 12 OSBPs are complete, with one on the final stage while two others scheduled for completion and full operations by early 2018, according to Senior Public Relations Officer with EAC Secretariat Simon Owaka.
He said the Mugina-Manyovu OSBP is awaiting funds for construction. The completed OSBPs so far are Namanga, Holili-Taveta, Lunga Lunga-Horohoro, Isebania-Sirare, Mutukula, Rusumo, Busia, Malaba, Nemba-Gasenyi, Ruhwa, Kagitumba and KoberoKabanga.
Of the 12 completed posts, eight are fully operational, with officers from adjoining partner states sharing facilities. The operational OSBPs are Holili-Taveta, Mutukula, Rusumo, Busia, Malaba, Nemba-Gasenyi, Ruhwa and Kobero-Kabanga.
Lack of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) connectivity, said Mr Owaka, is impeding the remaining four posts from going into full operations. The posts that still wait for the ICT connectivity are Namanga, Lunga LungaHorohoro, Isebania-Sirare and Kagitumba.
"It is expected that this issue will be resolved by December 2017 to enable the posts to operate fully by early 2018," said Mr Owaka. OSBPs so far apply to the five EAC member states since the idea was hatched in 2007 before South Sudan joined the block.
However, there are also unmanned border lines and socalled 'panya routes,' crisscrossing the entire region, that not only allow illegal movements of goods and people but also may subject the region to terror attacks.
"We are aware of (the panya routes) and EAC, through the Police Chiefs' Forum, has a structured framework for information exchange, joint operations, patrols and engagement with transboundary communities, which mitigate the risks associated with long porous borders in the region," said Mr Owaka.
He added, "Additionally, the region continues to adopt other modern technologies through bilateral engagements that complement and reinforce joint efforts."