Zambia-Zimbabwe border post to save $486 mln: official


Zambia and Zimbabwe’s new one-stop border post will help to facilitate trade between the two countries and save about $486 million a year in logistical costs, a senior official at the agency in charge of the project said.

Trucks using the Chirundu post, about 136 km south of Lusaka, will take two hours to clear the post instead of the two to five days it used to take, Juma Mwapachu, secretary general of the Eastern African Commission, said last week, when the border post was opened.

The East African Commission, a part of the intergovernmental East African Community, managed the project to build the border crossing.
“The one-stop border post will lead to logistical efficiency and about $486 million will be saved annually in costs that would have been incurred due to prolonged delays at the border,” Mwapachu said.
“The transit time will become more predictable and this will enhance the trade competitiveness for the two countries.”

A World Bank study showed that the major contributor to the high cost of transport was lack of facilitation, such as the improvement of border clearance procedures, Mwapachu said.

Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who was at the opening ceremony for the crossing said the one-stop border post would promote the smooth and efficient flow of goods, resulting in increased inter-regional trade.
“If we facilitate trade and reduce the cost of doing business as well as improve the flow of foreign direct investment, the result will be increased growth and prosperity in our region,” Banda said.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told the launch ceremony that border post was a practical demonstration of regional integration and asked for investment in the congested border crossing between South and Zimbabwe.
“We are appealing for development and cooperation partners to join us in the development of Beitbridge into a one-stop border post to complement the efficiencies at Chirundu,” Mugabe said.

A report by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa in November showed service costs were high in sub-Saharan Africa due to poor roads, water and power networks and the region needed to double its infrastructure spending to $93 billion a year to improve it.