SWAKOPMUND - Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat Leslie Mpofu says Namibia, South Africa and Botswana will be able to remove the burden of poverty in the respective countries if the political leadership relaxes the stringent border regulatory regimes.
He was speaking at the 10 Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee joint law enforcement operation that started yesterday in Swakopmund.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) is a tripartite trans-boundary corridor management institution that was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programs of Sadc.
The joint operation, consists of law enforcers of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa - and is aimed at simplifying cross-border transaction and customs operations along the TKC
According to Mpofu, the Southern African countries that are part of the programme inherited stringent and senseless regulatory frameworks that do hinder free movement of goods and thus deter trade among the countries.
“We now talk of quotas which before we were colonized were not there. Our people were free to trade with whomever. Sometimes I wonder how our countries would be, and what they could achieve if our political principals could decide to relax all the stringent border regulatory regimes. I believe we could trade more with one another and thereby enhance development in our countries,” Mpofu said.
He explained that Sadc as a region does have a market for its produce, if the 257 million inhabitants and the rest of Africa is taken in consideration. The problem he says is that African countries do not trade with one another.
“We trade more with the overseas market as opposed to the region and Africa. This therefore mean that we do not consume what we produce, instead we consume what we do not produce. Hence I am of the opinion that our regulatory frameworks as well as under developed corridors that do not link major African economic nodes is the challenge,” said Mpofu.
According to him, regulation of cross-border trade and transport are supposed to be a propeller and enhance regional trade and growth of cross-border trade and business and not an obstacle.
Apart from that, he says the challenge is also with inconsistent and flippant regulatory practices, that is, regulatory authorities that are constantly changing rules and procedures without due process and requisite consultation with their cross border counterparts and industry players. TKCMC therefore seeks to unlock these changes to ensure seamless movement of goods and people along the corridor and beyond.
SOURCE: New Era - Eveline de Klerk