Border Economies: Bottlenecks or Growth Zones?
Land borders in the SADC region are critical zones for unlocking economic development, regional value chains and trade. The Beitbridge and Chirundu border posts represent important links in the North–South Corridor and are vital in both regional development and bilateral initiatives. It is at these borders that many issues related to regional integration intersect. Understanding the major complications that prevent competitive trade and undermine trade facilitation initiatives is, therefore, essential. This policy briefing examines the causes of standing time – a major contributor to transport costs in sub-Saharan Africa – in addition to focusing on the softer issues such as driver behaviour and border operations. It further considers the economic development opportunities for border economies, as these are intimately linked to the operation of border posts. Various complex linkages should be considered, including the potential disruptive impact that trade facilitation measures may have on firms operating at the border. A failure to improve border efficiency can similarly undermine the existing industry. The policy briefing also reviews challenges and economic opportunities at the Beitbridge and Chirundu border posts with a focus on women and youth. It provides a series of related policy recommendations for consideration.