The East African Business Council (EABC) is calling upon East Africa Partner States to prioritize the improvement of infrastructure at Border Posts, to facilitate seamless flow of goods and movement of persons, as cross border business rebounds.
Poor infrastructure has been mentioned to be a huge trade barrier in East Africa and a major constraint to regional integration and development.
Following a recent visit to the Busia One-Stop Border Post (OSBP), EABC noted that the OSBP is efficiently operating with only a 1km truck traffic holding an average of 55 trucks. Nearly 1,000 trucks were mobbing goods through the border on weekdays with the number increasing to 2,000 trucks on weekends.
EABC CEO Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki recommended the improvement of the infrastructure at the Busia One-Stop Border Post via the construction of a four-lane road to ease cargo clearance.
“The first lane should be to transport general cargo. The second lane to be used by passengers. The third can be for fresh produce and the fourth for hazardous products,” Dr. Mathuki emphasized.
Dr. Mathuki also reiterated the need for parking spaces to be built for cargo trucks near the Busia OSBP. “Insufficient Parking Space for cargo trucks along the northern transport corridor trunk routes still pauses a safety challenge for the traders and border communities,” he said.
EABC also urged revenue authorities to install cargo scanners at border points to facilitate trade.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the East Africa region is projected to recover to 3.7% in the baseline scenario and 2.8% in the worst-case scenario this year, under the assumption that COVID-19 would be contained in the short-to-medium term.
In October 2020, truck traffic snarl-up to the Busia border exceeded 15 kilometers, disrupting cross-border trade and escalating the cost of doing business. This saw EABC call for mutual recognition of Covid-19 tests across the region.