One-stop Beitbridge border ‘imperative’ to unlocking further trade, investment
3 May 2012
Creamer Media's Engineering News - 3 May 2012
Implementation of a one-stop border post at Beitbridge, the congested crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe, is “imperative” to reducing trade-restricting transactions costs that are currently estimated to be as high at $35-million a year, African Development Bank chief economist Professor Mthuli Ncube argues.
In a paper entitled ‘Border Posts, Checkpoints and Trade in Southern African Development Community (SADC) Countries’, Ncube says chronic delays, congestion and inefficiency at Beitbridge are costly in both time and money. Waiting times range from 33 hours to 45 hours, while yearly transaction costs are estimate to be between $29.3-million and $35-million.
By implementing a one-stop solution, similar to the one that has already been deployed at the Chirundu crossing between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Ncube believes the flow of commercial goods and services, as well as the movement of people, will improve significantly, helping to facilitate further trade and investment.
At Chirundu, northbound trucks are inspected and cleared by the Zambian authorities, while Zimbabwean officials clear southbound vehicles, reducing the duplication associated with two checks. Average waiting times have reportedly fallen from around two days to two hours, while those using the fast-track preclearance procedure are now crossing within 15 minutes.