The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Committee of Ministers of Transport have endorsed Beitbridge, Kazungula, Kasumbalesa and Chirundu One-Stop Border Posts for the piloting of the NEPAD Agency MoveAfrica’s Traffic Light System (TLS), as well as the roadmap for implementation of the TLS on the selected pilot border posts.
The SADC Committee of Ministers meeting which took place in Lilongwe, Malawi from 30 October to 3 November, endorsed the selection of four one-stop border posts to pilot the Traffic Light System. The piloting will look at performance ranking and take necessary corrective action where applicable. It will also contribute to the documentation of lessons learnt to enable the development of good practices which can be replicated to other border posts in the movement of goods, people and services.
L to R: Minister of Transport and Public Works for Malawi, Hon Jappie Mhango; Deputy Minister of Transport for South Africa, Hon Sindiswe Chikunga and Mr Phera Ramoeli, SADC Director for Infrastructure
This phase of the MoveAfrica’s Traffic Light System completes the Institutionalisation Process which began in January 2017, with the first milestone being met in July 2017, when the SADC Ministers of Transport for the Beira Development Corridor and North South Corridor countries, endorsed it as the tool to monitor and evaluate the performance of trade corridors. This is in a bid to unlock the transport and logistics bottlenecks identified in various reports that look at logistics and trade in Africa.
Following the endorsement of the TLS in Beira, Mozambique, a technical meeting was held with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the SADC Secretariat and private sector to develop the roadmap for piloting the tool. The technical team selected four border posts (Beitbridge – between South Africa and Zimbabwe; Kazungula between Botswana and Zambia; Kasumbalesa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia; and Chirundu between Zambia and Zimbabwe) for piloting. The four border posts were selected based on volumes and their high levels of activity, as well as their strategic locations in the region.
The roadmap for the implementation of the TLS on the pilot border posts will be done in a 3-phase approach as follows:
- Phase 1, will look at the reporting of different indexes and sources.
- Phase 2, will look deeper into the market dynamics, investment potential vis-à-vis risk assessments to ascertain the type and level of effort needed in a particular corridor by classifying the One-Stop Border Posts into A, B or C categories.
- Phase 3 will give the overall ranking based on the variables in the first two sections to arrive at the traffic light categories of Green, Orange and Red.
With all its potential, the continent of Africa is challenged by inadequate and under-developed infrastructure. This limits intra-regional trade by driving up import and export costs.
Congestion at border posts that Move Africa’s Traffic Light System aims to alleviate
The unavailability of adequate capacities and technology, coupled with much slower than anticipated private sector participation, has also hindered infrastructural development. This in turn slows down the movement of goods by road, rail, air and sea. However, logistical bottlenecks do not only affect trade, but also have an impact on the humanitarian sector.
It is against this backdrop that the NEPAD Agency convened a high level dialogue in New York during Africa Week, on the role of the development community and private sector investment for easy movement of humanitarian goods.
Strengthening collaboration between the public and private sectors in all aspects related to the movement of goods and people, including the development of policy frameworks and the structuring of public-private partnerships is a way to overcome these challenges.
At the event, which was attended by over fifty delegates from the public, private and development sectors, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Thomas Kwesi Quartey, reminded participants that, “It is important to look back at the challenges of integration on the African continent in order to move forward towards the Africa We Want. Infrastructure, good governance, transparency and rule of law are the development pillars needed in this sector.”
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency stated that, “Combining the synergies that exist between the development and private sectors in easing the movement of humanitarian goods, will help to address the underlying factors in the bottlenecks faced.”
“The Traffic Light System in the Move Africa initiative, as well as its implementation tools look at improving transport corridors for economic activities and movement of humanitarian goods, which are critical to attaining goals in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030,” Mr David Mehdi Hamam, Acting Special Adviser on Africa remarked.
In the NEPAD Agency’s MoveAfrica Initiative, the organisation has partnered with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to reduce processing inefficiencies and delays at borders through One-Stop Border Posts, which will be monitored in its Traffic Light System.
Piloting of the Traffic Light System will be along four selected border posts in Southern Africa – Beitbridge, Kazungula, Kasumbalesa and Chirundu.
Following the high level dialogue, alignment of the functions and activities of the humanitarian sector in the Traffic Light System will take place in the emergency and humanitarian response sector. The system received input in the following areas: Transit Guarantee schemes; Centre Attractiveness, and; Risk Management.
Mr Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head of NEPAD’s Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme reiterated that land borders present some of the biggest bottlenecks with regards movement of humanitarian goods. He therefore made the call for stronger public-private partnerships and business models that embed corporate social responsibility in logistics to find solutions to ease these hurdles. He also reiterated that MoveAfrica’s traffic light system will be redressing some of the border challenges across Africa.
The high level meeting looked at the parameters that serve the humanitarian sector in facilitating the smooth flow of humanitarian aid and tailor made solutions to that effect.
The meeting also discussed models such as the vision of Uganda in the logistics space, in view of the Uganda Model of Refugee Management, enabling the NEPAD Agency to make necessary interventions as the development agency of the African Union.
The design of the Traffic Light System will be completed by the end of November 2017. Therefore the piloting of the system will factor in outcomes of this meeting on the selected border posts. The piloting is scheduled to commence in January 2018.
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