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January 24, 2018

Facilitation of border procedures in Africa: When transport and logistics between countries change, so do people’s lives

There are 15 landlocked countries in Africa. In such countries, every time a truck or freight train crosses a national border it has to go through inspections, customs and quarantine procedures on both the departing and entering sides, which requires a lot of time and expense. In the process of doing trade, this leads to problems including longer time consumed for goods to reach their destination, reduced freshness of agricultural products and increased shipping and labor costs, resulting in higher prices of goods.
One stop border posts (OSBPs) are getting attention as a solution to these issues. OSBP is a method of customs clearance that brings efficiency to entry and departure procedures. It can consist of integrating the border facilities of two countries into one or creating a place for completing these procedures in only one of the two countries. The two adjacent countries together examine the best methods for each of them and then adopt them.
For example, though it has only been a short time since the Rusumo OSBP began operating in 2016, the customs clearing time has already been reduced to one-third and the amount of traffic has doubled. While increasing the amount of trade, it has contributed to invigorating transport and logistics in the East Africa region.

"Landlocked countries have much higher transport costs than coastal countries, which hinders intra-regional trade. The introduction of OSBPs into Africa, which has many landlocked countries, can be expected to have many effects including reduced transport costs, lower consumer prices, increased trade volume and an improved business environment in each country. The process of OSBP introduction is for government agencies of two countries with a common border using a single facility to integrate their ways of working through doing together such work as managing entries and departures, customs clearance and quarantines. It is a symbolic endeavor that encourages regional integration from the field. I want to further expand this initiative the stakeholders have cooperated to get off the ground," said JICA expert Eisuke Tachibana, who has been working at the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) since 2015. NEPAD has been playing a leading role in promoting OSBPs, with Mr. Tachibana's cooperation.

Since knowledge and experience related to OSBPs have been accumulated through their rapid development in Africa, NEPAD has created the “One-Stop Border Post Sourcebook” with the relevant stakeholders and released it at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016. NEPAD has been playing a central role in promoting OSBPs, including holding two regional workshops for 19 countries in Rwanda and South Africa, in 2017.

Since TICAD IV in 2008, JICA has been supporting regional infrastructure development across national borders along with the African Union and NEPAD, its executing agency. As part of that work, JICA has supported 14 OSBPs in Africa and jointly contributed to the creation of the OSBP sourcebook.

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