Transit times in Burundi set to tumble with construction of $6.4M Kobero One Stop Border Post

Kobero, Burundi – 14 November 2014.At a colourful ceremony at Kobero, a border town west of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, H.E President Pierre Nkurunzinza laid a commemorative stone to signify the commencement of the construction of the Kobero One Stop Border Post (OSBP). In attendance was Burundi’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development Planning, Tabu Abdallah Manirakiza, TradeMark Africa CEO, Frank Matsaert, Commissioner General of the Burundi Revenue Authority, Domitien Ndihokubwayo and governor of Muyinga among others. The Koberoone stop border post is a $6.4 million investment by TradeMark Africawhich will contribute to cutting down transit costs by 30%across East Africa borders
Speaking at the ground breaking event, H.E Pierre Nkurunzinza, President of Republic of Burundi said:

“As East Africa moves towards total integration, TradeMark Africa is facilitating the process for partner states through various initiatives like this OSBP aimed at reducing the high transit costs which make the region uncompetitive. Once the OSBPs are operational, delays at borders will be significantly reduced, thus benefitting businesses and easing cross border trade within the EAC”.

TradeMark Africa (TMA)is funding 13 OSBPs in East Africa, including the Kobero OSBP located at the Burundi/Tanzania border – the pilot post that is proving that the system works. Each post consists of an office building for the border agencies, parking for trucks, a ramp for offloading goods, an inspection/verification warehouse and other facilities that are required at every border post.

TMA CEO Frank Matsaert emphasized on TMAs continued investment in Burundi.
“The EAC trade corridors have recorded a 23% time reduction over the last 4 years, which 50% is attributable to TMA interventions. TMA remains committed to support Trade Facilitation efforts in Burundi geared to realise the regional Customs Union and Common Market including modernisation of the Office Burundais des Recettes (Electronic Single Window, ASYCUDA World & authorised economic operator scheme) and the Bureau Burundais de Normalisation (BBN) to improve revenue collection, traders’ competiveness and the health of Burundians”.

A pilot of the OSBP operations has been in operation at the Kabanga/ Kobero OSBP since 30thJune, 2014 whereby Immigration and Revenue Authorities staff of both Burundi and Tanzania, relocated to the two border stations. Other agencies are keen to follow suit. Initial findings are showing that stakeholders have experiencedincreased efficiency in clearance of goods and passengers. The efficiency is being brought by trucks and passengers coming from Tanzania not being required to stop at Kabanga border post for formalities.

The Kobero border post handles 70% of all cargo transport by road to Burundi, making it the most important border crossing for trade in Burundi. The Kobero/Kabanga border crossing is currently characterised by outdated infrastructure, uncoordinated procedures by multiple border agencies working in isolation and low border agency capacity. Low levels of understanding of import and export procedures by traders and border staff results in delays, which increase transportation costs for traders.

The concept of the one stop border post (OSBP) is that traffic crossing the border need only stop at one border post. Traders are set to gain benefits in reduced time, which could mean saved money/costs. Take the case ofAbdul Mohamed, a small business owner based in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. Abdul owns and drives his own truck to export plastic chairs to neighbouring Burundi, heading inland to Burundi, what this innovative OSPB means is that he skips the Kabanga post and goes straight to Kobero, where in a spacious temporary building,officials from Tanzania and Burundi work together to clear his goods. On the return journey, Abdul will go straight through Kobero and stop at Kabanga on the Tanzanian side of the border. Thus each border post handles incoming traffic only, with exit and entry procedures completed in the same building.

With an average of 100 trucks crossing into Burundi every day the OSBP is big on time saving. Along with other innovations, (like advanced electronic customs systems, an electronic cargo tracking system that monitors a truck’s journey from start to finish, and the elimination of unnecessary non-tariff barriers), the OSBP is designed to increase business competitiveness, which will ultimately lead to increased wealth and reduced poverty in East Africa.

Source: TradeMark Africa (TMA)


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.