4 reasons why the $12million Kenya-Uganda one-stop border is a game changer

The facility comprises offices and space for immigration processes and verification; warehousing and cold rooms for the goods traded across the border.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Uganda counterpart, Yoweri Museveni on February 24 officially opened the customs facility, straddling the border of Kenya and Uganda.

Speaking at the event, President Kenyatta commended East Africa leaders and said the integration effort was bearing fruit as substantial progress had been made.

“I am glad that the people and the leadership of the East African Community have taken this point to heart: wherever I go in the region, I find a new appreciation of the importance of integration, and a new commitment to bringing the people of East Africa together,” said President Kenyatta.

Museveni echoed Kenyatta’s sentiments and said the facility was long overdue and would ease trade in the region.

“We are brothers and sisters but unfortunately, colonialists came and divided us but what God put together, no man can temper with it,” he said.

The border post worth $12 million (Shs44 billion) was constructed by Cross –border business advisory organization, Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) with funding from UK Department of International Development (DFID) and the Global Affairs, Canada.

Busia one Border Post on top of East African countries earlier adopting polices allowing their citizens to travel freely across the region with just their national Identity cards puts East Africa firmly back on the road of integration just like the organization founded in 1967 had intended.

There are many benefits that come with having a single border post but the most obvious ones are trade, time, cost and integration

#1. Trade

The one-stop border facility is part of East Africa Community efforts to ease the movement of goods and people within the region.

Regional trade integration is the cornerstone of EAC and Busia one border post would play a crucial role in achieving this.

Busia border is one of  of the busiest in East Africa and Uganda’s second busiest point after Malaba, with an average of 894 vehicles crossing per day (TMEA, 2011).

The border handles human and cargo to and from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DRC.

With plans in the offing to set up similar facilities in all border points all across the region, accessing EAC’s 146 million consumers and over 460 million consumers found on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) would now be a reality.

#2. Saves time

The opening of one-stop border posts and other projects aimed at easing trade in the region has reduced the time it takes to move goods across the EAC.

The One-stop border post concept combines two national border controls into one thereby reducing the time it takes to clear goods and people across the shared borders.

While in the past it took a minimum of 27 days to move a container of goods from Mombasa to western side of EAC, it now takes a maximum of five days.

The facility comprises offices and space for immigration processes and verification; warehousing and cold rooms for the goods traded across the border; and facilities for expediting trade

#3. Reduce cost

Due to the short time used to clear goods and people, firms would no longer need to spend a fortune on housing drivers for days as they wait to be cleared by custom officials.

Busia one border post will reduce costs and overall time it takes to transport goods from one point in the region to another.

#4. Promote integration

This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of the facility.

The first one-stop border post to be commissioned under the EAC integration plan was at Taveta/Holili on the Kenya-Tanzania border.

Drivers and humans can longer complain of being harassed by custom officials of specific countries after being cleared by another official of a different country.

Busia one border post would see both officials working in one space and reduce mistrust between East Africa countries.

Busia one boarder post goes to show East Africa may finally be ready to take on economic giants like European Union, India, China and USA.

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