Zimbabwe’s Border Control Goes High-Tech in 2024

The new technology will enable the authorities to track and monitor the movement of people and goods in real time, using biometric data, electronic passports, and scanners.

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe is set to become one of the first African countries to implement a fully digitalized border management system, according to Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe. The new technology, which will be rolled out at all the country’s ports of entry and exit, aims to enhance security, efficiency, and transparency in the movement of people and goods across borders.

The minister announced the plan on Tuesday, as he launched the Zimbabwe Electronic Single Window (ZESW) project, a web-based platform that allows traders to submit and process all the required documents for cross-border transactions through a single entry point. The project, which is supported by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, is expected to reduce the time and cost of trade, as well as improve the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

Kazembe said the digitalization of the border management system was part of the government’s vision to modernize the country and align it with international best practices. He said the new system would enable the authorities to track and monitor the movement of people and goods in real time, using biometric data, electronic passports, and scanners. He added that the system would also help to curb corruption, smuggling, and human trafficking, which have been rampant at some of the border posts.

“The digitalization of our border management system is a game-changer for Zimbabwe. It will not only enhance our national security but also facilitate legitimate trade and travel, which are key drivers of economic growth and development. We are confident that this will boost our competitiveness and attractiveness as a destination for investment and tourism,” Kazembe said.

The minister said the government was working closely with the private sector, civil society, and regional partners to ensure the successful implementation of the project. He said the government had already secured funding from the World Bank and the African Development Bank for the procurement and installation of the necessary equipment and software. He said the pilot testing of the system would begin in 2024, and the full rollout would be completed by 2025.

The digitalization of the border management system is part of the broader reforms that the government has undertaken to improve the governance and performance of the public sector, especially in the areas of revenue collection, service delivery, and accountability. The government has also introduced the e-government program, which aims to provide online access to various public services, such as health, education, agriculture, and justice.

The digital transformation of Zimbabwe has been welcomed by many stakeholders, who have expressed optimism that it will improve the quality of life and the business environment in the country. The World Bank, which ranks Zimbabwe 140th out of 190 countries in its 2022 Doing Business report, has projected that the country’s economy will grow by 3.9% in 2024, after contracting by 8.1% in 2022 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drought.

Zimbabwe, which shares borders with South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique, is strategically located in the Southern African region, which has a population of over 300 million people and a combined GDP of over $600 billion. The country has 16 official ports of entry and exit, which handle an average of 15,000 travelers and 3,000 vehicles per day, according to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

Source: Daily News


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