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Mchinji/Mwami one stop border post officially opened

By Sarah Munthali

Mchinji: President Lazarus Chakwera has said the Mchinji/Mwami One stop border post  (OSBP) will enhance regional, cultural and economic integration between Zambia and Malawi.

Speaking at the joint official opening ceremony of the Mchinji-Mwami One stop Border post between Malawi and Zambia on Wednesday, the President said  the opening of  the OSBP facilities in the  two countries, will ensure that the bond between the two countries remains strong and special.

“This One Stop Border Post is good news for travellers, for traders and for our economies. It is also good  for investors for  harmony and solidarity. After all, the bond that exists between Malawi and Zambia, is so deep and so rich that it transcends the artificial barriers that have been created to separate us,” He added

The President said  the OSBP would not only ease facilitation of trade but also  improve security for the people of the two countries as they will be serviced  in a friendly environment in the new border facilities.

Mchinji Mwami border post -pc by Lisa Kadango Malango

“The new OSBP will accord dignity to the people through quality of public service delivered to our peoples in the quality of public services delivered to them as they move between our two countries, including the enjoyment of a friendly environment occasioned by these magnificent and beautiful buildings we are inaugurating today,” He said

The President said the government is developing similar one border facilities in Songwe, Dedza and Mwanza border.

“We finalised construction of similar facilities at Dedza Border with Mozambique and  we are almost done with the facility at Mwanza border. Meanwhile, construction of Songwe border facilities on the border with the United Republic of Tanzania will commence next month, while plans are underway to start construction of Muloza and Chiponde borders with our neighbouring country of Mozambique,” He explained,

Overview of the Mchinji Mwami one stop border post-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

The President reiterated the call he made at Mkaika Zambia during the Kulamba Ceremony in August 2022, on the need for the two countries to introduce the use of National Identity cards (IDs’) as cross-border permits to ensure easier facilitation of movements for the citizens.

On his part, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said the Mchinji/Mwami OSBP facility will spur higher trade flows and economic activity in the Nacala Corridor.

He said there is need for the two countries to reduce road blocks and check in points on the roads to ease movement of goods and people.

“I call on ministries of home affairs in the two countries to ensure that they reduce some of the road blocks which delay movement of people, in the same vein this should not compromise on security and encourage trafficking,” He explained.

Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri said the completion of the two projects by the Chakwera and Hichilema regimes signified the importance the two governments attaches to development projects that improve people’s livelihoods.

“The Chakwera government took over this project in 2020 when the construction was at 45 percent, I am glad the current government supported the project until it was complete in 2021,” He said.

Zambian Revenue Authority Officer Mercy Matanda captured in her office at the Boarder-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

Trade officer Elizabeth Mwanza captured at the Boarder post-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

Overview of the boarder post in Mchinji between Malawi and Zambia-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

The minister then called for removal of tariffs which hinders trade between the two countries

Zambian Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Chipoka Mulenga pledged his governments commitment to ensure that the OSBP facilities achieve the purpose it was intended  for, by reducing delays people encountered at the borders.

. The two facilities in Mchinji and Mwami were constructed with financial support from African Development Bank, the European Union (EU) and COMESA.

Malawi and Zambia launched the OSBP joint project in April, 2015 in Chipata, Zambia where, among other things, the two countries agreed to put in place the legal framework and established joint OSBP implementation structures which included the Joint Technical, Joint Steering Committee and the Ministerial Committee to oversee implementation of the OSBP project.

The Mchinji OSBP construction was commissioned in 2018 and completion was expected in June 2020 but delayed due to a number of factors including Covid 19.  The contractors handed over the facility in February, 2021.

One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Concept is a border facility that combines two stops of adjourning border controls into one. The Concept is aimed at reducing the number of stops and processes associated with cross border transactions to ease trade and movement of people.

Overview of the boarder post in Mchinji between Malawi and Zambia-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

Officers working at the boarder captured during the official opening of the post-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

Overview of the boarder post in Mchinji between Malawi and Zambia-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

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