Why World Bank And JICA’s One Stop Border Post Plan May Fail

Nwangwu Uba

Officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, and the World Bank, may be disappointed that plans to introduce the one stop border post in West and Central African sub-region may not work.

The Value news learnt the plan had been in the works over eight years ago with series of Workshops said to have been organised to sensitise the Border  officials of Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Republic of Benin,  Congo-Brazzaville ,Congo-Libreville and Cameroun to facilitate the introduction of the one stop Border post in the two sub-regions for the conduct of Commerce as obtained in East African sub-region made up of six countries with a population of 160 million.

Maritime Analysts believe that it was easy for JICA and the World Bank, officials, to implement the one stop border post in the region without complaint because  of the use English as their Common language and Kiswahili for Commerce transactions. This is in addition to having a single parliament in the sub-region, an indication that any law passed in any member country of the sub-region was applicable in the other member countries.

Seme- Krake Joint Border Post

But this is not the case in the west and Central African sub-regions where member countries speak different languages. Take for instance, Togo, Republic of Benin, Senegal who use French as their common language while Nigeria, Ghana,Gambia use English as their own common language for Commerce transactions.

The language problem is even more pronounced in the Central African sub-region where Cameroun, Gabon, Congo Libreville, Congo Brazzaville use either French, Portuguese or Spanish  as their working Languages.

More so, the member countries of the two sub-regions have their different parliaments where laws are made. Take for instance the  laws passed in the Nigerian National Assembly could not be enforced in Republic of Benin, Togo or Ghana as the laws passed in any of these countries could not also be enforced in Nigeria.

This is evident going by the fiscal policies of these countries. The Nigeria government had banned the importation of vehicles through the land border as  well as the importation of foreign parboiled rice  through the seaport or the land borders, processed vegetable oil, second hand clothing but this not the case in Republic of Benin, which share Seme -Krake Joint border post with Nigeria. This is because the country’s fiscal policies allows the importation of these items into the country.

Ghana, an English -speaking country and Togo, a French speaking country in the West African sub-region also share a joint Border post , have a joint border at Noepe. The Joint Border posts were said to have been built by the Economic Community of West African states, ECOWAS, with the financial support of the European Union, EU. At present, the two Joint Border posts have been inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Chairman of ECOWAS, with the support of  President patrice Talon, in the case of Seme Krake Border post while Nana Kufo-Addo and   Faure Gnassingbe of Ghana and Togo , respectively supported him in the inauguration of the Noepe  joint border post.

Indeed, officials of JICA, and the World Bank may have had at the back of their mind that by engaging other development partners like New Partnership For African Development, NEPAD,ECOWAS and West African Monetary Union, the people of the two  sub-regions would be respective to it. They got it wrong.

This is because they still appear not to be interested in the one stop Border post. The two days Workshop to bring people including  border officials from the West and Central African sub-regions as well as invites from the East African sub-region to share  ideas on the one-Border post and its advantages so as to force the leaders of Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Ghana , Togo and those of the member countries of the Central African sub-region that share joint Border post to  buy the idea of the one Border post may not  have achieved the desired results.

A top  official of the Republic of Benin, Ministry of Transportation  who attended the Ghana One Border post, last week, told the Magazine that the two regional Workshop was very revealing. A Nigerian Border official who attended  the one stop Border post Workshop corroborated the views , adding that they have learnt new things which they never knew about Border Management.

A Kenyan on business trip to Nigeria after the two days Workshop in Ghana told The Value News that the one stop Border post may not be feasible in either West or central African sub-regions because of notable  differences which would be difficult to wipe out overnight. He cited  Nigeria, which have a population of about 200 million in the West African sub-region to the 160 million of the six countries that make up the East African sub-region.

Appealing to JICA and the World Bank officials to concentrate on  Consolidating the alleged gains of the one stop Border  post in the East African sub-region than to dissipate their energy in trying to force the member countries of the West and Central African sub-regions  to adopt it because of the cost implication.

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