Border Posts, Checkpoints, and Intra-African Trade: Challenges and Solutions. Barka, H., B., 2012 (CORE2009)


Pan-African economic integration has progressed over past years, producing a broad range of regional trade agreements and economic communities that seek to harmonise policies, develop common infrastructure and remove barriers to intra-African trade. Against expectations, however, this increased integration has not translated into strong economic growth in Africa. This article discusses how sub-Saharan countries can overcome trade barriers that undermine the African economic integration. The article’s focus is on border posts and customs procedures that play a key role in facilitating cross-border traffic.

According to the article, the problems of international trade in Africa are largely explained by inadequate infrastructure that creates congestion and limits connectivity, delays that stem from complex and manual customs procedures, corruption and by illicit trade. One-stop-border-posts are a promising approach to streamline customs procedures and curb corruption. The joint border post may bring trade facilitation benefits as significant as costly investments on roads, ports, bridges and other transport infrastructure. The articles highlights the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post between Zambia and Zimbabwe as a successful case of border agency cooperation. Previous Observatory review (CORE2008, 20 January 2016) describes the Chirundu border crossing in more detail.

The paper concludes by suggesting One-Stop-Border-Post as a promising way towards higher trade facilitation and African integration. To organise one-stop-border-post, the first thing to do is to analyse roles and procedures of different border control agencies. The task of high-level governance is to define how responsibilities across the various border control agencies are harmonised, coordinated and delegated. Metrics and statistics should underpin the design, as numerical data into traffic flows and clearance times are likely to reveal the major bottlenecks in the cross-border traffic. Finally, the article proposes extended exchange of information and data across government agencies, domestically and internationally. The article is available at

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

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Full review

The discussion on one-stop-border-posts in the African context is closely related to the CORE project and its many work packages. Especially the WP12, the demonstrator Schipol, that deals with imports of fresh cut flowers from Kenya to the Netherlands, benefits from the insights into African bureaucratic practices at many African borders. The demonstrator should consider the set of recommendations for higher border agency cooperation that the article proposes. Besides the demonstrators, the article provides a concise and informative outlook on international in Africa. At least CORE’s WP19, should consider the African perspective on cross-border trade when developing training material.


Barka, H., B., 2012. Border Posts, Checkpoints, and Intra-African Trade: Challenges and Solutions. African Development Bank



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