from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS, (CAJ News) – NEIGHBOURS Botswana and Zimbabwe have intensified efforts to establish a one-stop-border post (OSBP) between the two countries.
Such a facility to be set up at the Plumtree/Ramokgwebana port of entry will bring a lot of benefits, including enhanced movement of people and goods between the two nations, tackle border jumping and human trafficking as well as boost tourism.
Botswana and Zimbabwe seek to sign Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that will lead to agreements towards setting up of the OSBP.
A similar project is underway on Beitbridge, in the Zimbabwean boundary with South Africa.
The project has been topical at the Third session of the Bi-National Commission between Botswana and Zimbabwe, held in Victoria Falls.
“We have an obligation to facilitate the smooth flow of goods and services between our two countries,” said James Manzou, Zimbabwe’s Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
“In this respect, I welcome the information that the MoU on the Promotion of Cooperative Development and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development is ready for signing,” he said.
Manzou said the smooth flow of people, goods and services will remain hamstrung without the establishment of the OSBP.
“This one-stop border post will address the bottlenecks that our people have been complaining about for far too long,” he said.
“I therefore urge the ministries charged with this important responsibility to redouble their efforts in implementing this decision.”
Botswana and Zimbabwe, with a significant share of tourism and wildlife activities especially as members of the Kaza-Zambezi Transfrontier Area, have continued to enhance bilateral cooperation and collaboration through regional organisations.
This is mainly through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc.
“The one-stop port will enhance cooperation between the two nations,” said Gladys Mokhawa, Botswana’s Secretary for the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation.
Besides Plumtree, Zimbabwe also has Kazungula, Pandamatenga, Maitengwe and Mphoengs border posts with Botswana.
Botswana and Zambia last year commissioned the multi-million Kazungula bridge north of Victoria Falls.
The facility is viewed as a connection into the SADC region, particularly linking trade between the regional powerhouse South Africa and the bloc.
OSBPs are central to enhanced interconnectivity of markets as well as regional integration on the continent.
The Chirundu OSBP – serving Zambia and Zimbabwe – is considered the first fully functional OSBP in Africa. It was initiated by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) bloc and launched in 2009.
– CAJ News