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Cementing Joint Border Committees in Tanzania

Discussions in formalizing and mainstreaming Joint Border Committees (JBCs) in Tanzania have resulted in a terms of reference being signed by government agencies, private sector stakeholders and the USAID East Africa Trade Hub*.

According to the USAID Trade Hub,JBCs have contributed to a drastic reduction in border crossing times. A 2010 Canadian Pacific Consulting Services (CPCS) study,stated that the average border crossing time at Rusumo border, one of the busiest between Tanzania and Rwanda, was three to four days in 2009. Because of improved coordination among government and private sector agencies, which JBCs support, the average border crossing time in Rusumo is now less than a half a day.

JBCs are working groups comprised of government agencies and private sector players responsible for clearing goods at one side of the border. These national-level working groups meet formally to solve issues that impede efficient border operations and the clearance of goods across borders. The Trade Hub has been establishing JBCs throughout East Africa since 2010. To date, The Trade Hub has established 16 JBCs at ten border crossings along three main corridors of the East African Community – seven of these JBCs are at Tanzania borders: Namanga, Sirari, Rusumo, Kabanga, Mutukula, Kasumulu and Tunduma.

JBCs require close coordination and support from the central government. To ensure this support, the Ministry of Industry and Trade plans to have the Tanzania Trade Development Authority act as the lead agency in coordinating all relevant government agencies at Tanzania’s borders in support of JBCs.

JBCs are now on the path to becoming sustainable mechanisms for improving the efficiency of trade across Tanzania borders.

Jacqueline M. Maleko, Director General with the Tanzania Trade Development Authority, said, “JBCs facilitate the efficient flow of trade across borders and we are very happy to have the USAID Trade Hub as a strategic partner in this endeavour.”

*The USAID East Africa Trade Hub works with regional public and private sector partners to develop systems and policies that improve competitive regional and international trade and food security in East Africa.

Source: USAID East Africa Trade Hub

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