The East Africa Community (EAC) Secretariat and its Partner States have rolled out a system named Regional Electronic Cargo and Driver Tracking System (RECDTS).
RECDTS is designed as a mobile phone application and will enable the issuance of the EAC COVID-19 digital certificates that are mutually recognised by Partner States, thus eliminating need for multiple testing as well as contributing to alleviating ongoing congestion at East Africa border crossing points. The system provides a surveillance system to monitor long distance truckers crew health and enable contact tracing.
The reliance on manual certificates and delayed test results at the borders has been reported as one of the main reasons for costly long delays at border points, such as those witnessed in Busia, Malaba, Nimule and Elegu. Some of the delays have caused tail backs of trucks measuring tens of kilometres in some cases.
RECDTS is expected to resolve some of the challenges that were being experienced in execution of health protocols including: Multiple testing of truck drivers at border crossing as there lacked a framework of mutual recognition; Documentary fraud; where truck drivers would forge national certificates and use them to cross borders. Conflicting test results – this would happen when the same driver tested in one country having negative results, would be declared positive after being tested again in another country.
EAC developed the app with funding from European Union, Global Affairs Canada, Danida, Finland, Netherlands and United Kingdom through TradeMark East Africa and in accordance with the directive given by the 1st Joint Ministerial meeting of EAC ministers responsible for Health and EAC Affairs. RECDTS will be in use in all partner states and will eventually be extended to EAC neighbouring countries, particularly Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
EAC Deputy Secretary General in-charge of Productive and Social Sector, Hon Christophe Bazivamo, had this to say, “Today’s roll out proves that coordinated action at the regional and even continental level is possible, especially as we start implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade area. This kind of coordination is evidence that we can regulate flow of trade, safeguard livelihoods and achieve competition and quality.”