Posted by: africanpressorganization | 26 March 2010

Rwanda and Tanzania sign bilateral agreement on one-stop border post




Rwanda and Tanzania sign bilateral agreement on one-stop border post


ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 26, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Governments of the Republic of Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania have today signed a Bilateral Agreement for the establishment and implementation of a one-stop border post at Rusumo on the sidelines of the 20th Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers taking place at the Arusha International Conference Centre.  


Hon. Dr. Shukuru Jumanne Kawambwa, Minister for Infrastructure Development signed on behalf of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania while Hon. Monique Mukaruliza, Minister for East African Community Affairs of the Republic of Rwanda, signed on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Rwanda.


The signing of the Bilateral Agreement between the two Partner States was witnessed by Hon. Dr. Diodorus Kamala, Minister of East African Co-operation of the United Republic of Tanzania who is also the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers; Ministers attending the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers; and the Chief Representative of JICA in Tanzania, Mr. Yukihide Katsuta.


Hon. Dr. Kawambwa hailed the move saying “signing of this agreement will inspire the work in progress towards establishing similar border posts within the EAC region”.


He cautioned that the signing of the agreement was not an end in itself but the beginning of a lot of work for effective implementation of the project that will require a lot of dedication by the two Partner States.


The Minister urged the two countries to undertake finalisation of the necessary internal legal processes that will enforce the agreement through relevant institutions and said “Tanzania will do that as a matter of priority”.


Dr. Kawambwa reiterated Tanzania’s commitment to the full realisation of expeditious processing of movement of goods, people and services at its borders for which the one-stop-border posts project seek to achieve. The Minister commended the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for financial support on the EAC One Stop Border Posts Project.


Hon. Mukaruliza, who signed on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Rwanda, said that the project would enhance trade, through efficient movement of goods, persons and services between the two countries and definitely will go a long way in cutting short the long hours of waiting for clearance at the Rusumo border.


The Minister noted that sharing infrastructure between the two countries will  reduce costs and encourage more competitive business which was good for both Partner States.


The Chief Representative of JICA, Mr. Yukihide Katsuta informed the Ministers that the Japanese Government had underscored the importance of cross border infrastructure development in TICAD IV, the Tokyo International Conference of African Development held in Tokyo in May 2008. In this context, Mr. Katsuta said JICA was planning to extend support for the development of facilities, laws and/or operation systems of at least 10 OSBPS in Sub-Saharan countries.


Mr. Katsuta noted that smooth cross border trade and movement of people were indispensable for economic growth and poverty alleviation in African countries; adding that apart from the Rusumo Project, JICA was also conducting a capacity building project for the Customs Authorities in the EAC Partner States and a detailed design study for the Namanga Border post.


Background information


The main objective of the Bilateral Agreement is to enhance trade facilitation, through the efficient movement of goods, persons and services between and within the two countries, the EAC and adjoining regions.


The Rusumo Border post is located on the Central Corridor and is important not only for Rwanda and Tanzania, but also for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and other neighbouring countries.


The Bilateral Agreement is expected to enable expeditious and more effective border controls; reduce the number of stops in cross border trade and other transactions by combining border control activities of the two Partner States at a single location in each direction; and to extend the application of national laws relating to border controls of each party in the other State thereby enabling border control officers of each Partner State to legally perform statutory functions outside their national territory and within the territory of the other State.


The Agreement will also allow for the hosting of border control Officers in each other’s territory with authority to execute border control functions using their own national laws; share each other’s existing border control infrastructure and facilities thereby enabling border control officers of each party to perform statutory border control functions outside their national territory; and simplify border control documents and procedures to allow for expeditious processing of border controls.


It will also maximise the use of Information and Communication Technology in order to enhance the easier and speedier sharing of border control data between the border controls officers; harmonise border control regulations and procedures for standardized application and easier predictability; and the two countries will carry out joint technical training of border control officers so as to achieve common levels of conceptual understanding of the OSBP operations.


The Agreement underpins the involvement of the private sector as partners in the implementation process and through public awareness programs, training of border control facilitation agents and provision of requisite access to all private sector border control facilitation agents. It also aims at achieving maximum possible integration of border control documentation, procedures and systems.


According to the Agreement, each Partner State, where necessary, shall amend any of its other existing laws or enact such new laws as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of the Agreement. The provisions of the new legislation shall be similar in effect and be in such terms as shall be agreed between the Parties.


Notwithstanding the date of signature and the dates of exchange of instruments of ratification, the Agreement shall enter into force on the date of commencement of the new legislation, which legislation shall come into operation simultaneously within the respective jurisdictions of the two Partner States.


The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) supported the one-stop border post concept at Rusumo and financed the consultancy to prepare the Bilateral Agreement and the Bill/law. Both documents have undergone extensive reviews by experts from both countries since October 2009, culminating in the final meeting held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 9 – 10 March 2010, at the level of Permanent Secretaries.



East African Community (EAC)



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