The Beitbridge Border Post has been making headlines for months. Problems experienced at border post result in major delays clearing vehicles and hampering free movement of goods and people in Southern Africa.
This should soon be a thing of the past as the significant investment is set to see the border post upgraded. It’s hoped that the investment into the border post will reduce the barriers that have made intra-African trade unappealing to investors.
Beitbridge gets $70 million facility
The African Export-Import Bank (AfreximBank) announced that they had approved a $70 million facility earmarked to upgrade the Breitbart Border Post.
The massive investment will hopefully help to alleviate some of the strain on the border post and bring an end to some of the terrible scenes which have become commonplace on social media of late.
The upgrade will extend further than just improving the physical infrastructure at the border post, with AfreximBank noting the upgrade will include the procurement of technical equipment and software to modernise the border facilities.
In addition to these upgrades, the investment is intended to improve the overall quality of life in the border town. This includes improvements to existing infrastructure and construction of a fire station, water pipelines, waste treatment plant, and residential accommodation.
The AfreximBank facility includes a $43 million loan facility in addition to $27 million in investment guarantees.
Looking into the future, it’s clear that investment in the border post is long overdue, with the current state of Beitbridge affecting the ability of Southern African countries to trade efficiently.
AfreximBank president Professor Benedict Oramah said it is “too costly to wait for almost five days at the border to deliver goods and services across Southern Africa”. Oramah added:
“With this facility, we aim to cut indirect and direct costs of trade associated with border post effectiveness and efficiency”.
Delays at Beitbridge unacceptable
The five days he refers to is based on Trademark Southern Africa’s estimate that it currently takes an average of 5 days for a truck to be cleared at the Beitbridge Border Post. This creates needless and costly delays for potential trade.
The Beitbridge Border Post is a first of its kind public-private partnership in Zimbabwe. It will hopefully become a model for future infrastructure upgrades that open up possibilities for increased Intra-African trade.
South African financial institutions FirstRand Bank Limited, ABSA Limited, Nedbank Limited, Standard Bank, are also part of the Beitbridge Border Post project.