NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 10 – The governments of Kenya and Ethiopia have this week announced the operationalization of the One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) located at the Moyale Border in Kenya’s Marsabit County.
An OSBP is a trade facilitation tool applied at land borders between two adjoining States.
It refers to the simplified and harmonised legal and institutional framework, facilities, and associated coordinated procedures and processes.
According to officials from both governments, the post is expected to enhance free movement of people and goods between the two countries, a move that will also contribute to boosting trade volumes.
Data from the statistics office indicates that Kenya’s exports to Ethiopia in 2019 were valued at USD 67 million, while Ethiopia’s exports to Kenya were valued at US$ 52.05 million.
Moyale is the only gazetted border crossing point between Ethiopia and Kenya.
Officials from Kenya and Ethiopia also expect the post to reduce border crossing time by at least 30 percent, to enable faster movement of cargo and people.
A baseline survey by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) in 2017 indicates that it takes on average, 21 hrs and 52 minutes (Kenya-Ethiopia) and 12.5 hrs (Ethiopia-Kenya) for a cargo truck to cross the border
The officials also revealed that the operationalisation of the post is a step closer to achieving the goal of exponent trade between the two neighbouring nations, as well as promoting regional and economic integration between the East African and Horn of Africa regions.
Mengistu Tefera, Ethiopia’s head of delegation and Special Advisor to Commissioner-General Ethiopia Customs Commission said the establishment of the OSBP will have a significant role in improving cross border trade and the movement of people.
“The people of Ethiopia and Kenya deserve to tie their economic and social relations under the principle of mutual benefit. The establishment of the OSBP will have a significant role in improving cross border trade and free movement of people,” he said.
“My heartfelt compliments to all actors who successfully established this OSBP. And the government of Ethiopia and Kenya for the political commitment to realise the project,” he added.
At the same tuime, Kennedy Nyaiyo, Kenya’s head of delegation and the Secretary of Kenya’s Border Management Secretariat urged stakeholders to explore the opportunities presented by the OSBP to facilitate trade between Ethiopia and Kenya.
The operationalization follows its official launch in December 2020, by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ethiopian counterpart Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia.
At the time of launching, Ahmed said the post would, “bring under one roof essential trade services of both countries, revenue and customs authorities, immigration, security, trade plus many other services demonstrates the capacity for enabling economic transformation.”
The project has been implemented by partners under the integrated border management component which includes the Ethiopia Customs Commission, Border Management Secretariat, and Kenya Revenue Authority, jointly with the other Government of Kenya and Government of Ethiopia border regulatory agencies, and TradeMark East Africa.
According to officials, Moyale OSBP development is complemented by the development of other infrastructure projects such as a bitumen standard 438 Kilometres road from Merille River to Moyale in Kenya and 300 Kilometres roads’ sections in Ethiopia, with support from Africa Development Bank (AfDB), European Union, Government of Kenya and the Government of Ethiopia.
“The OSBP will improve efficiency by reducing time and transport costs for businessmen, traders, tourists, transporters, and communities while crossing from one partner state to another,” TMEA Ethiopia Deputy Country Director Abenet Bekele said.
The border post is part of the planned Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa corridor linked by the 502-kilometre Hawassa-Moyale road project in Ethiopia, and the Isiolo-Moyale road in Kenya.
The move comes at a time when President Kenyatta has urged Ethiopia to open up its mobile money market, following the entry of Kenya’s Safaricom into the giant economy.
On Wednesday, Kenyatta said he was hopeful Ethiopia would consider in the near future, opening up the opportunity for mobile money.
“This move will be particularly timely, as it will offer the millions of Ethiopian people avenues for financial inclusion,” he said.
A report by Reuters indicates that only Ethio Telecom is allowed to offer mobile financial services while foreign operators are barred by law from participating.
A pioneer of mobile money, Kenya has found success in the lucrative innovation that has been in operations for more than a decade.