ZIMBABWE and Botswana are set to establish a One-Stop Border Post, enabling traders from both countries to enjoy seamless border immigration processes and improved trading which economically impacts the whole region.
Botswana and Zimbabwe are longtime traditional trading partners such that Zimbabwean companies, especially from Bulawayo takes advantage of the closeness between the two countries to export to the neighbouring country at competitive prices. 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, a move 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 the two countries.
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 with Chirundu Border Post between Zimbabwe and Zambia being the first to be constructed in 2009 followed by Nakonde-Tunduma Border Post between Tanzania and Zambia while the third, Kazungula border post between Botswana and Zambia is still under construction.
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 gave birth to the One Stop Border Post initiative launched in November 2009.
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. Zimbabwe’s trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, believes that efficient service at the country’s borders promotes crossborder trade.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News