Zimbabwe, Botswana plan seamless border services
Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE and Botswana are set to establish a One-Stop Border Post, which will see traders from both countries enjoying seamless border immigration processes and improved trade prospects with wider economic impact on the region at large.
Botswana is one of Zimbabwe’s traditional trading partners and local companies, especially from Bulawayo, which is the country’s industrial hub, could take advantage of the proximity between the two countries to export to the neighbouring country at competitive prices. Francistown, which is closer to Zimbabwe than the capital, Gaborone, can be used as an entry point into the market, experts say.
Zimbabwe’s trade with Botswana has in the past three years shown steady growth with Zimbabwe’ exports moving from US$19,2 million in 2017 to US$43,3 million in 2019.
It is in this context that the two governments are discussing possibilities of establishing a One Stop Border Post at Plumtree/Ramokgwebana entry/exit point. The move is expected to significantly reduce time taken to clear goods and passengers at the borders.
This was revealed by Zimbabwe Ambassador to Botswana, Mr Batiraishe Henry Mukonoweshuro during a Virtual Trade Mission organised by ZimTrade and Botswana Investment and Trace Centre recently.
Ambassador Mukonoweshuro said the planned One Stop Border Post which is in line with Southern African Development Community (Sadc) plans, will go a long way in facilitating improved intra-regional trade in Southern Africa.
“With regards to the issue of trade facilitation, the Governments of Zimbabwe and Botswana are discussing the possibility of establishing a One Stop Border Post at Plumtree/Ramokgwebana,” he said. “This will enhance trade facilitation and lead to expansion of trade, not only between Zimbabwe and Botswana but intra-regional trade in goods and services, contributing towards Sadc’s regional integration objectives.”
At the moment there are only two functional One Stop Border Posts in Sadc which are Chirundu Border Post between Zimbabwe and Zambia and Nakonde-Tunduma Border Post between Tanzania and Zambia. The third one, Kazungula border post between Botswana and Zambia is under construction. The first one to be established was the Chirundu One Stop Border Post between Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2009.
The Sadc One Stop Border Post initiative was launched in November 2009 in line with the Sadc Protocol on Trade signed in 1996, which advocates for the elimination of barriers to trade as well as the easing of customs and transit procedures.
Under this scheme, immigration and customs procedures are carried out just once in each direction, in contrast to the situation at most border posts in the region where paperwork must be completed on both sides of the border. The country’s trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, believes that efficient paper work at the country’s borders promotes crossborder trade.