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One stop border post on the way

Windhoek: Namibia will implement the one-stop-border post (OSBP) concept at all its entry and exit points with Angola, Botswana, South Africa and Zambia in a move meant to open up the country to trade with its regional neighbours.  Namibia, emerging as a major trade artery into southern Africa because of its deep water port of Walvis Bay, is planning to implement the OSBP concept at all border posts.  The government said in a statement that the Ministry of Finance will drive the one-stop-border-post concept as countries battle to scrap non-tariff barriers to trade.

Eliminating non-tariff barriers to trade has been one of the major challenges facing countries as they fight to accelerate regional integration programmes.

'The One Stop Border Post concept is critical for increasing trade economic development and regional,' the Namibian Cabinet said in a statement.
The OSBP concept has become popular amongst southern African countries. Under an OSBP, people and goods can exit one country and enter another through a single facility staffed and operated jointly by the neighbouring countries.

'The main advantage is the quicker border clearance and limited duplication of border agency interventions, which in turn improve trade competitiveness,' the Cabinet release said.

The OSBP concept has proven a success in Europe, USA and Canada and in Asia and South American states.  In the region, South Africa and Mozambique established an OSBP at Lebombo/Resano Garcia while Zimbabwe and Zambia launched an OSBP at Chirundu border post last year.

Namibia carried out feasibility studies in 2007 and 2008 for the establishment of an OSBP at Wenela/Sesheke border post with Zambia, Oshikango/Santa Clara at the border with Angola and Trans Kalahari/Mamuno border with Botswana.

'These studies provide a legal framework for authorizing extraterritorial border control operations within a common control zone in adjoining state and for foreign hosting within the zone and for overall operation of juxtaposed border facilities. The concept should be extended to include border posts between Namibia and South Africa,' the Namibian government said.

All neighbouring countries will share costs related to structural adjustments and maintenance of existing buildings, general management of the border posts, among other issues. However, there is need to review and amend immigration and customs legal instruments to clear the way for the setting up of the OSBP.

'Alternatively, a national law that will facilitate the establishment of OSBP as well as legitimizing joint operations by officers of both countries may be considered,' the government said. Cabinet also said Angolan authorities have indicated that they want to establish an OSBP at Santa Clara and Katwitwi border posts.

7 December 2010
Southern Times
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