Malawi on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Zambia which seeks to establish a one stop-border post (OSBP) at Mchinji-Mwami border.
The a facility combines two stops for national border control processing into one and consolidates border control functions in a shared space for exiting one country and entering another to reduce the number of stops and processes associated with cross-border transactions to ease trade and movement of people.
Speaking during the signing of the bilateral agreement, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry Joseph Mwanamvekha said through the operationalisation of the OSBP Agreement, the two countries will be able to make the most of their economic complementarities and will further promote the development of their respective economies.
“The Agreement will also strengthen the economic collaboration between our two countries by increasing the cross-border flows of goods, movement of business and natural persons, investments, and services.
”It will facilitate the control of anti-competitive activities, improvement of the business environment as well as cooperation in fields of mutual interest at the border, such as human resource development, information and communications technology and road development” he said.
In her remarks, Zambia Minister of Trade and Commerce Margaret Mwanakatwe empahsised on the need for the two countries to have facilities that will enhance cross-border trade as countries are moving into a tripartite free trade (TFTA) area and also the continental free trade area (CFTA).
“I used to call the two countries as land-locked, but now I call them land-linked. This agreement will ensure that the link is efficient for trade facilitation and people movement so that the cost of dong cross border trade is reduced.
“This is part of the Nacala corridor development and is one way of entering into that corridor so that we can get to the port more efficiently and goods can come in from the port at a reduced cost,” she said.
The OSBP, which was launched in 2015 in Zambia, is expected to take 18 months before becoming fully operational.
Mwanamvekha also said government will also extend the OSBP with other neighbouring countries including Tanzania and Mozambique. n