Zimbabwe to Boost Trade with 24-Hour Border Post 

The move will make Chirundu the second 24-hour border post in the country, after Beitbridge.

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe is set to open its Chirundu border post with Zambia for 24 hours a day to facilitate trade and economic growth in the region. The move, announced by the Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last week, will make Chirundu the second 24-hour border post in the country after Beitbridge.

Chirundu is a key link for trade between South Africa, Zambia, and other countries in the north. It is also a major transit point for goods from Beira in Mozambique through the Forbes border post. According to Ncube, the decision to extend Chirundu’s operating hours was motivated by the increasing volumes of traffic and trade at the border.

“We have also seen the volumes of trade through Chirundu increase with increasing feeder traffic from Beira through Forbes. The need to make this border post operate on a 24-hour basis is increasingly becoming imperative in order to facilitate trade, and this will mean even more need of accommodation for staff,” he said.

Ncube made the remarks while commissioning 20 houses for Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) staff at Chirundu, which were built for $4 million. He said the housing project was part of the government’s support for Zimra’s infrastructure development, which is essential for its revenue collection and trade facilitation mandate.

He also said that the government was committed to meeting its long-term national and economic objectives through Zimra’s contribution to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and domestic resource mobilization. He added that the government and the industry should work together to ensure the safety and benefits of trade.

Chirundu was the first one-stop border post in Southern Africa, where travelers are cleared only once for passage into another country. It has hosted several countries that have come to learn from its experience in developing similar projects. The one-stop border post concept aims to reduce delays, costs, and barriers to trade in the region.

The opening of Chirundu for 24 hours is expected to boost trade and integration among SADC member states and other regional blocs such as COMESA and EAC. Zimbabwe is part of the SADC Free Trade Area, launched in 2008, and is preparing for the SADC Customs Union, which is expected in 2010.

Zimbabwe’s main trading partners are South Africa and China. In 2023, Zimbabwe exported goods worth $6 billion and imported goods worth $7.6 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.5 billion. The main exports were minerals, tobacco, cotton, and horticulture products, while the main imports were machinery, fuel, chemicals, and foodstuffs.

Extending Chirundu’s operating hours is a positive step towards improving Zimbabwe’s trade performance and competitiveness in the global market. After years of challenges, it is also hoped to enhance the country’s economic recovery and development.

Source: Herald


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