The Guardian news article summarizes benefits and challenges of the African first one-stop border post, located at the Chirundu border crossing across the Zambezi river between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At the border post, officials in both countries inspect only inbound traffic, for example Zambian authorities control only incoming traffic from Zimbabwe. Thanks to this one-stop arrangement, trucks and barges are obliged to stop only once and undergo only one set of border formalities. The one-stop system has accelerated border crossing times tremendously, from a two or three day wait down to a thirty-minute rest. Moreover, the faster border formalities have translated into higher traffic at the border post (from earlier 2000 to today’s 14000 trucks per month) and associated larger tax and duty revenues. But most importantly, the faster and simpler border formalities have facilitated trade of many small-scale merchants, who commonly trade small amounts of food, clothes, and other everyday commodities. Today, these small merchants face less delays, cumbersome formalities, and arbitrary duties and facilitation payments that dishonest customs officials may impose on their goods. This progress has brought many of the informal merchants, who used to smuggle their merchandise before, back into the sphere of the formal economy. Even so, the smuggling is still a major problem in Africa: the article suggests that there are smuggling routes so established that 30 tonne trucks use them to evade customs controls, and that this informal smuggling economy accounts for a staggering one-third of the African gross domestic product (GDP). The article implies that the share of the informal economy could be further reduced through consolidation of African trade blocks (there are several), harmonization and simplification of border formalities, and enhanced border agency cooperation. The news report is available at: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2012/may/29/zambia-zimbabwe-intra-african-trade
Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)
This Guardian article showcases a great example of successful border agency cooperation in Africa. The CORE WP12, the “demonstrator Schipol” focusing on shipping of fresh cut flowers from Kenya to the Netherlands, might choose to study this African one-stop border concept in more detail. Closer analysis may reveal key success factors and obstacles that characterize the border agency cooperation in Africa. Also CORE’s WP19, that produces material for training and education, may use this African one-stop border as an illustrative example of border agency cooperation in developing countries. The CORE’s risk and IT clusters might need to explore this case in more detail to understand technical aspects of this one-stop border post concept.
The Guardian, Zambia and Zimbabwe’s single-stop solution to boosting intra-African trade, the Guardian, 29. May, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2012/may/29/zambia-zimbabwe-intra-african-trade