Trade and travel between Kenya and Ethiopia has been boosted by the operationalisation of the Moyale One-Stop Border Post (OSPB).

Border officials clearing traffic, cargo and persons from both Ethiopia and Kenya will now physically relocate and sit side by side on either side of the border.

The OSBP was commissioned in December 2020 by H. E President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, but had not come into operation.

As well as boosting trade and travel between the two countries, the move will promote regional and economic integration between the East African and Horn of Africa regions.

Moyale is the only gazetted border crossing point between Ethiopia and Kenya. It becomes the fifth OSBP for Kenya with other operational ones being Busia, Malaba, Namanga and Taveta.

The OSBP is expected to contribute to boosting trade volumes where in 2019, Kenya’s exports to Ethiopia were valued at $67 million (KSHS 7.2 billion), while Ethiopia’s exports to Kenya were valued at $ 52.05 million (KSHS 5.6 billion).

A fully functional OSBP is expected to reduce the border crossing time by at least 30 per cent, to enable faster movement of cargo and people.

A baseline survey by Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) in 2017 showed that it takes on average of 21 hours and 52 minutes (Kenya-Ethiopia) and 12.5 hours (Ethiopia-Kenya) for a cargo truck to cross the border.

“ The establishment of the OSBP will have a significant role in improving cross-border trade and free movement of people,” said Mengistu Tefera, Ethiopia’s head of delegation and Special Advisor to the Commissioner General Ethiopia Customs Commission.

Kenya’s head of delegation and the Secretary, Border Management Secretariat (BMS), Kennedy Nyaiyo, asked players in the two countries to utilise the OSBP and explore its opportunities to facilitate trade between Ethiopia and Kenya.

“Today, with the collaboration of both governments and development partners, the legal frameworks, construction, supply of office infrastructure, ICT technology and solar power of Moyale OSPB have been fulfilled and are ready for operation. Let us utilize the OSBP and explore its opportunities to facilitate trade between Ethiopia and Kenya.”

TMEA Ethiopia Deputy Country Director Mr. Abenet Bekele said: “The Moyale OSBP is an important milestone for Ethiopia in cementing its position as a key player in trade in the Horn of Africa and the East African region. It sets a positive precedent for other similar projects in the country’s key border points. The OSBP will improve efficiency by reducing time and transport costs for businessmen, traders, tourists, transporters, and communities while crossing from one partner state to another. ”

His counterpart, TMEA Kenya Programme Manager Mr. Daniel Muturi, congratulated the two Governments for the major achievement.

“We have already seen momentum created by the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopian (LAPSSET) corridor with the launch of the first berth at the Lamu Port. The Moyale OSBP will be a key catalyst to enhance trade on the trans-African Highway to accelerate socio-economic transformation for both countries.”