Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni,
will launch the “One Stop Border Post” in Busia town amid
concerted efforts to boost regional trade.
The project seeks to
promote seamless cross-border movement of goods and passengers
through automation and placing of key agencies like immigration
and customs under one roof.
Atieno said that an
estimated two thousand women who trade across the Kenya-Uganda
border anticipate reduced cost of clearing goods and improved
trust from their clients.
“My message to
established and aspiring female small-scale traders is to
harness the opportunities that the ‘One Stop Border Post’ will
unleash,” Atieno said, adding that she expects her general
merchandise business to grow exponentially.
Busia is the busiest
port of entry in the larger east African region in terms of
passenger traffic, and movement of cargo has also been on an
Mariam Babu, a
46-year-old Ugandan trader who exports eggs from her native
country to Kenyan shop owners, said she felt relieved now that
it will require less time to clear goods at the border.
“The ‘One Stop
Border Post’ has already revolutionized my business and I look
forward to increasing the volume of eggs imported from Uganda to
help meet a rising demand in Kenya,” said Babu.
Enjoying a cordial
working relationship with her Kenyan peers, she is a firm
believer in regional integration, which promises economic
prosperity for ordinary citizens.
Babu settled along
the Kenya-Uganda border at a time when female traders battled
with monumental hiccups like harassment, lack of access to
credit and to lucrative markets.
mother of five was upbeat the “One Stop Border Post” would pave
the way for smooth transactions across the border that will be
accompanied by higher profit margins.
“We need to
sensitize women on the benefits of a harmonized and automated
cross-border trade regime that eliminates backlog in clearance
of goods,” said Babu.
entrepreneurs, who control over 90 percent of informal trade
across the common border, will be the greatest beneficiaries of
a streamlined and automated cargo clearance regime to be
realized through establishment of a “One Stop Border Post.”
program manager of Infrastructure and One Stop Border Posts at
the Nairobi-based Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), said a
simplified, digitized and fast mode of clearing goods will have
a positive impact on female-owned small and medium-sized
enterprises in the region.
cross-border traders in this region who are mostly women will be
able to save on time and financial resources upon full
operationalization of the ‘One Stop Border Post,’” Muturi said.
infrastructure, skilled manpower and a friendly regulatory
environment are key to successful utilization of “One Stop
Border Posts” in the larger east African region, he added.