Border management crucial to intra-regional trade in Southern Africa

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“It’s about trying to get countries to reduce that border clutter, to allow people to move freely. It’s about access of information, visibility of information. Border control’s been made more electronic and access to that information is essential,” Barloworld Logistics’ executive in business development Mike Fanucchi told CNBC Africa.

Transport infrastructure has hindered significant economic growth in Africa and a change is needed to see development on the continent.  

Fanucchi also mentioned South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan’s recent implemention of a customs systems modernisation programme to improve border management in the country.

“I think that there’s a lot of initiatives in Africa at the moment in terms of looking at infrastructure projects in the Northern countries, and coming up the central corridor from South Africa,” Fanucchi explained.

“A lot of people have been working on trying to reduce that clutter. You hear of border delays, you get things right on one side of the border and the other country doesn’t do the same so you sit and wait. Notwithstanding that, it still does reduce the border crossing times.”

He stated that in order to see intra-regional trade grow from seven per cent to 25 per cent in Southern Africa by 2030, delays at border posts will have to be reduced.

“It’s about going beyond the resources draw on the continent and trying to create an infrastructure that enables people to trade between countries. If you look at that, to allow all the countries to start trading with each other is what Africa would need to get to, and that needs transport infrastructure to do that,” Fanucchi indicated.

“For investors, for transporters, for business people, that delay costs you money. It means more stock in the system, it means being unsure of what you need, how long your supply chain needs to be and continuative supply is a challenge – Africa needs to cut that down.”