|Southern African News Features SANF 11 No 30B, October 2011|
|Seamless transport corridors key
to regional integration
Southern Africa is investing in transport corridors to facilitate trade and
economic liberalization by ensuring the smooth movement of goods and persons
across Member States.
Fourteen transport corridors in the SADC region have been identified for development, including the North-South Corridor, which is the largest, traversing eight countries in eastern and southern Africa.
The other corridors involve between two and five countries each, and when operational they are expected to deepen regional integration and boost intra-regional trade.
Development of these corridors involves the upgrading of road, rail and port infrastructure to support trade along the routes.
Energy transmission lines are also to be built to expand the regional grid and allow more countries to share electricity, one of the main necessities for regional development.
Due to its fast growing economies, the SADC regionís power needs far outstrip supply, affecting growth.
Under the transport corridor framework, One Stop Border Posts are to be established to reduce congestion at entry points, hence promoting the smooth movement of goods and services.
Goods and people will be cleared just once for passage across the border into another country, in contrast with the current situation where travelers have to be cleared on both sides of the border.
This development is expected to address issues of delay, which are experienced at most border posts. The first one-stop border post in the SADC region was established in 2009 at Chirundu between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Plans are underway to implement a similar concept at the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Beitbridge and Chirundu are considered to be among sub-Saharan Africaís busiest ports of entry with hundreds of southward or northward commercial trucks passing through the two border posts every day.
To strengthen the operations of the various corridor initiatives, SADC member states have signed legal instruments to govern and manage the corridors.
Some of the instruments adopted to date include Memoranda of Agreement for the Trans-Kalahari, Beira, Nacala and Mtwara corridors.
Legal instruments for corridor governance have also been signed for the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi, Dar es Salaam and the Central Transport Corridor.
An agreement is currently under discussion for the North-South Corridor, while instruments still need to be developed for Trans-Cunene, Lobito (Benguela), Malange, Namibe, Trans-Orange and Maseru-Durban corridors.
SADC requires about US$100 billion for its regional infrastructure development programme in the medium term, according to the 2010 SADC Infrastructure Development Status Report presented to the 2010 SADC Summit held in Namibia.
The larger share of this budget is attributed to the energy sector, which needs about US$47 billion, followed by road and railway infrastructure that requires an estimated US$26 billion.
Ports and inland waterways require an estimated US$$18 billion, while information and communication technologies (ICTs), post, meteorology and water infrastructure requirements are jointly estimated at US$9 billion. SADC Today
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