Zim-SA Bi-Na­tional Com­mis­sion to set up One-Stop-Bor­der-Post at Beit­bridge-Musina

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PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe and his South African coun­ter­part Ja­cob Zuma yes­ter­day launched the Bi-Na­tional Com­mis­sion, a high level fo­rum of co-op­er­a­tion, which the two lead­ers say will foster eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and up­lift the liveli­hoods of peo­ple in their re­spec­tive coun­tries.

Among the im­me­di­ate key tar­gets of the Com­mis­sion is the es­tab­lish­ment of a One-Stop-Bor­der-Post at Beit­bridgeMusina.

The de­vel­op­ment is ex­pected to pro­mote trade through ef­fi­cient clear­ance pro­ce­dures.

The two coun­tries also agreed to con­sti­tute a Joint In­vest­ment Trade and In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee by the first quar­ter of next year to steer the “grow­ing” eco­nomic co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the two na­tions.

The BNC is an in­stru­ment through which po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tions will be mon­i­tored at Pres­i­den­tial level.

Pre­vi­ously bi­lat­eral agree­ments were su­per­vised by Min­is­ters and co­or­di­nated through the Joint Com­mis­sion for Co­op­er­a­tion (JCC).

The Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment will meet an­nu­ally to mon­i­tor progress on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of agreed projects.

In his re­marks, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said there was a need to im­ple­ment out­stand­ing agree­ments out of the 38 signed since 1995.

“I would like the BNC, as the suc­ces­sor to the Joint Com­mis­sion to at­tend to these items of un­fin­ished busi­ness as a mat­ter of ur­gency,” he said.

“A ma­jor pri­or­ity among these is to en­sure the op­ti­mal op­er­a­tion of the Beit­bridge bor­der through the es­tab­lish­ment of a One-Stop-Bor­der-Post at this key bi­lat­eral and re­gional tran­sit point.

“While in 2009 we agreed to es­tab­lish a One-StopBorder-Post at Beit­bridge, to date this im­por­tant agree­ment is still gath­er­ing dust on the shelves. This ses­sion must agree on a roadmap for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of that de­ci­sion.”

The two coun­tries later agreed to fi­nalise the modal­i­ties for its es­tab­lish­ment by the time of the next BNC next year.

Dur­ing the launch, the two coun­tries sealed a Bi­lat­eral Air Ser­vices agree­ment meant to open the air space and in­crease flight fre­quency.

Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jo­ram Gumbo rep­re­sented Zim­babwe while South Africa was rep­re­sented by its Trans­port Min­is­ter Ms Dipuo Peters.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said busi­ness in­vest­ments for South Africans were safe in Zim­babwe.

“Our thrust to­wards in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion through value ad­di­tion and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion of avail­able re­sources of­fers vast op­por­tu­ni­ties for joint ven­tures and in­vest­ment part­ner­ships,” he said.

“We wish to see more South African in­vest­ment here as much as we wish to also see more Zim­bab­wean in­vest­ment in South Africa. Let’s work to­gether to im­prove the flow of in­vest­ments in both di­rec­tions, in a man­ner that re­in­forces the strate­gic part­ner­ships be­tween us.”

Fol­low­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of the Bi-Na­tional Agree­ment (BNC) in South Africa on April 8 last year, lo­cal com­pa­nies such as Doves Funeral As­sur­ance were prompted to cap­i­talise and im­ple­ment syn­er­gies on the ba­sis of the boosted bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween South Africa and Zim­babwe.

Last month, the com­pany en­tered into a ser­vice de­liv­ery agree­ment with Doves South Africa in a de­vel­op­ment that would go a long way in ca­ter­ing for lo­cals liv­ing in the di­as­pora as this is ex­pected to ease the bur­den of repa­tri­a­tion costs for cit­i­zens who die out­side the coun­try. Doves South Africa has 161 branches across the coun­try.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the BNC was ideal for the two coun­tries which were fac­ing re­newed as­saults on their in­de­pen­dence and sovereignty.

“This new high­est level fo­rum of reg­u­lar en­gage­ments be­tween us, re­flects the dy­namic and log­i­cal evo­lu­tion of our al­ready com­pre­hen­sive bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion,” he said.

“We have agreed and look for­ward to work­ing closely to­gether as strate­gic part­ners in de­fend­ing our sovereignty, in fos­ter­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, in main­tain­ing pro­mot­ing and main­tain­ing peace and se­cu­rity in our coun­tries and in the re­gion.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe thanked South Africa for its sup­port in the im­por­ta­tion of grain to counter drought ef­fects in Zim­babwe.

“The fre­quency, sever­ity and im­pact of the re­cur­rent droughts on our coun­tries and in our re­gion de­mand that we co­or­di­nate our re­sponse to cli­mate change,” he said.

“Such co­or­di­nated ef­forts should not just be re­spon­sive but must be an­tic­i­pa­tory and mit­i­ga­tory.”

Pres­i­dent Zuma said the BNC would see the two lead­ers hav­ing a “hands on ap­proach” in mon­i­tor­ing agreed projects.

“Our col­leagues should know that we have taken a se­ri­ous de­ci­sion in this di­rec­tion that we are go­ing to be hands on, we are not go­ing to be arms-length on the is­sues be­cause we want to see changes hap­pen,” he said.

On the one stop bor­der post, Pres­i­dent Zuma said: “Our busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties stand ready to play their part if, as Gov­ern­ments, we cre­ate con­ducive en­vi­ron­ments for ease of do­ing busi­ness in­clud­ing but not lim­it­ing to the es­tab­lish­ment of a One-Stop-Bor­der-Post for fa­cil­i­ta­tion of free move­ment of peo­ple goods and ser­vices among oth­ers. After all, that is di­rectly keep­ing in line with the as­pi­ra­tions of the African con­ti­nent that we should ease the bor­ders to al­low the econ­omy to flour­ish in the con­ti­nent.”

He said Zim­babwe had been in­stru­men­tal in push­ing strate­gies that would make Africa self-suf­fi­cient.

“This was ev­i­denced dur­ing his Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent’s chair of the African Union. Your con­tri­bu­tion as chair of both Sadc as well as of African Union has put the re­gion and con­ti­nent on a dif­fer­ent plat­form of po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity.”

Pres­i­dent Zuma said con­certed ef­forts were needed to bring tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits to the peo­ple.

“There is a need for con­certed ef­fort and col­lab­o­ra­tion to­wards a col­lec­tive vi­sion of fight­ing the triple chal­lenges of poverty, un­em­ploy­ment, and in­equal­ity in our re­spec­tive coun­tries,” he said.

Pres­i­dent Zuma im­me­di­ately left for South Africa after a lun­cheon

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe

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