OSBP introduced in Europe in the 1920s and implemented in Africa in the 2000s. In line with the COMESA Council of Ministers decision of 2005, an OSBP project was launched at Chirundu between Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2009, which became the first fully functional OSBP in Africa.
The OSBP concept provides for processing of border clearance under one roof thus drastically cutting down on the duration it takes for transit goods and traders to cross borders. The concept has been runaway success as demonstrated at Chirundu border post. For about two years now, waiting time at the border for trucks has reduced from up to nine days to a mere 20 minutes for accredited clients or two hours for importers that use the advance declaration system, and not more than two days for others.
During the review workshop held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, last month, the participants discussed on how to use the Sourcebook to operationalize OSBPs and shared experience and lessons learned. They also addressed the role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Development Partners / International Organizations in the promotion of the OSBP concept and the approach to regularly update the Sourcebook.
The forum also underscored the need to build a community of practice in developing policies, rules, regulations, standards, and procedures can participate, probably on a web-based platform which, if properly structured, could become a vehicle for updating the Sourcebook.
The major outputs of the workshop was an in-depth understanding of the reviewed Sourcebook and experience sharing among experts from RECs and other international organizations. The forum agreed on the updating mechanism of Sourcebook besides strengthening partnerships and networks.
The 1st edition of the Sourcebook was published in 2011 to support policymakers and implementers continent-wide in operationalizing the OSBPs. In 2012, the African Union (AU) adopted the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and its Priority Action Plan (PAP) for 2020, which was formulated by the AU Commission (AUC), the New Partnership for Africaâ€™s Development (NEPAD).
PIDA-PAP includes 21 priority transport programs/projects, which were broken down into 273 subprojects in an AfDB study in 2014. A total of 73 of the 273 subprojects involve OSBPs. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2014 and 2015 identified about 80 OSBPs/Joint Border Posts (JBPs) at various stages of implementation in Africa.
The 2nd edition of the OSBP Sourcebook was prepared to improve efficiency in operationalizing OSBPs. It is expected to be completed and ready for use by end of May 2016.
COMESA was represented in the meeting by the Director of Infrastructure, Dr. Abu Sufian E Dafalla, Senior Customs Affairs Officer Mr. Zerezghi Kidane, Senior Transport Economist, Mr. Bernard Dzawanda, Immigration Expert Mr. Houssein Guedi Absieh.