THE modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post through a private-public-partnership arrangement at a cost of US$300 million has the ultimate goal of facilitating a one-stop border post, reducing congestion and monitoring leakages and smuggling making it a preferred and efficient port of entry, an official has said.
In an interview, Matabeleland South Province’s Director in charge of Economic and Investment, Mr Richmond Ncube, said the Government was pursuing the idea of a wholesome one-stop border post at Beitbridge after its modernisation was complete.
The border is one of Africa’s busiest land ports with an estimated 25 000 people and 500 trucks passing through it on a daily basis.
“We are seriously pursuing the idea of a one-stop border post to enhance efficiency in the movement of goods and services as well as plug leakages and smuggling. But the ultimate goal is to improve the travellers’ convenience and experience by removing all the bottlenecks to trade and commerce as well as tourism,” he said.
He says the upgraded Beitbridge border post has already unlocked major spinoffs in trade and tourism. It has enhanced greater regional integration and co-operation, as outlined in the Regional Infrastructure Development Strategy.
The project is seen as a milestone achievement in the operationalisation of the Integrated Beitbridge Development Master Plan and stands out as one of the key infrastructure projects that has been implemented by the Second Republic.
Since its upgrading which is done at a cost of US$300 million, it has facilitated the efficacy in the discharge of statutory functions of various border stakeholders as well as link seamlessly with the regional economies along the North-South Corridor.
The modernisation project took off in 2018 and it encompasses construction and upgrading of terminal buildings, vehicle inspection and parking bays, 220 housing units for staff members and a fire station.
Additionally, office space, information and communication technology, surveillance technology, as well as truck and baggage scanners have also been modernised as part of the project. The project, Mr Ncube says, has proved its potential to unlocking endless innovative economic opportunities for the province and the country.
“Besides smooth movement of goods and people in the Sadc region through the upgraded Beitbridge Border Post, it has contributed significantly to the overall industrialisation agenda and economic growth of the province. The developments have transformed the border town tremendously creating a lot of opportunities for the enterprising locals,” he said.
The one-stop border concept was successfully implemented at the Chirundu Border Post and travellers testify to its convenience. It has also enhanced the already cordial diplomatic relations between Zambia and Zimbabwe.