What the view on the map of Africa does not reveal: Only about one-third of the continent's borders are clearly defined or marked. This can fuel conflict, such as when natural resources are found. The African Union has been working since 2007 on the clear definition, marking and better management of borders. The GIZ has been supporting this program for peace, security and development on behalf of the Foreign Office for ten years.
A total of 4,700 kilometers of borderlines were defined by the end of 2018. In addition, five states have signed border crossing agreements: Comoros Mozambique (2011), Seychelles-Tanzania (2012), Burkina Faso-Niger (2014), Ivory Coast-Burkina Faso (2014) and Namibia-Botswana (2017).
Management progress shows, for example, the new control system between Kenya and Tanzania which, instead of two controls provides only one stop and is much more efficient. Where goods had to be scheduled for two days at the border, only a few hours are sufficient to complete the formalities. Thus, the waiting time for the people has been significantly reduced and hurdles for economic cooperation between the two countries have been reduced.
90,000 people benefit from these improvements
The project is aimed not only at the large-scale border traffic, but also at improving the living conditions of people directly in the neighbouring communities. In , civil society groups, civil servants and security forces, problems are addressed and solustions are sought out.
For example: for traders who regularly commute between neighbouring countries to buy groceries and have to pay each time, reduced their already small income. Special documents for borderline residents now provide a solution. In total, around 90,000 people on the African continent benefited directly from the improvements in border management in 2018.
“As a truck driver I commute regularly between Kenya and Tanzania. Above all, I transport raw materials between Nairobi and Arusha. The driving time is about four and a half hours but in the past I had to plan at least two days for the border stop on each route, because the processing of the papers took so long.
I paid for overnight accomodation out of my own pocket, but since the new border control system with only one stop for both countries, clearance has improved dramatically.
The waiting time at the border is only two hours. Now I can do the commute in one day. That's good for the companies I supply, and for me too. I'll come home sooner and have more time for my family and friends. ”