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Zimbabwe - South Africa agree on one-stop border

by Staff reporter
06 Oct 2023 at 06:34hrs | Views
President Mnangagwa and his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, convened at the Beitbridge Border Post to address logistical matters concerning the construction of a third bridge over the Limpopo River, aiming to bolster regional and international trade.

The two leaders also committed to fully implementing the One-Stop-Border Concept, a joint initiative to streamline border procedures and facilitate ease of doing business between the two countries.

This meeting followed their exchange of notes during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The proposed bridge project will be financed by Zimbabwe using its own resources, and Cabinet has already given approval for its construction. Zimbabwean technocrats are actively working on the necessary legal frameworks, while the chosen contractor is finalizing feasibility studies.

Beitbridge Border Post has undergone a $300 million refurbishment, resulting in three terminals for freight, buses, and private cars/pedestrians.

President Mnangagwa emphasized the government's commitment to provide adequate infrastructure to accommodate the growing volume of regional and international trade.

The construction of a second road bridge aims to facilitate the seamless flow of commercial cargo through the Beitbridge Border Post, thus promoting regional and international trade.

President Mnangagwa stated, "We met in New York and had a chat with my brother, and he told me he was coming to Musina, and we agreed to come and meet. When he said he was coming to the border, I said you can't come to Musina and not visit the border. We are here, what else would we want when two brothers meet and break bread? So, we have exchanged notes on what we need to do to enhance the ease of doing business, including the construction of the relevant infrastructure on both sides of the border."

Zimbabwe sought landing rights from South Africa for the third bridge after completing the new border post. The new bridge will run parallel to the New Limpopo Bridge.

The original Alfred Beit Bridge, funded by the Beit Trust, opened in 1929. Traffic increased over the years, and in the mid-1970s, the railway line was integrated into the bridge when the Rutenga-Beitbridge link was constructed. In 1995, the second bridge, the New Limpopo Bridge, was opened to relieve the strain on the old Alfred Beit Bridge. The old bridge subsequently became dedicated to rail and pedestrian traffic.

President Ramaphosa commended President Mnangagwa for modernizing the border post and stressed the importance of matching infrastructure development on both sides of the Limpopo River, a shared heritage. He emphasized that the construction of a new bridge would boost trade, especially with the advent of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

President Ramaphosa highlighted the significance of infrastructure development in facilitating trade and investment growth in the region, particularly under the One-Stop-Border-Post concept, which simplifies border procedures and clearance processes for travelers and cargo.

Under this regime, operations are harmonized, and clearance is conducted only once for passage into either country, eliminating duplication of processes at both borders.

Source - The Herald