South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have joined forces to tackle congestion and delays at the Kasumbalesa border. The countries agreed to focus on the challenges concerning infrastructure, equipment, and procedures at the border.
The Kasumbalesa border post serves as an entry point into the DRC from Zambia and is the primary transit point for freight trucks from South Africa and various countries in the region.
“To address these challenges, we committed to supporting the DRC in automating the Kasumbalesa port of entry. Other proposed solutions include extending border operations to 24 hours a day, establishing a one-stop border post, and utilizing alternative border posts to alleviate congestion at Kasumbalesa,” said South African Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga.
Chikunga added, “We further agreed to promote the use of railways as an alternative to decongest the Kasumbalesa road network and to develop a dry port.”
Chikunga recently conducted a bilateral meeting with her DRC counterpart, Minister Marc Ekila Likombo. During this meeting, they agreed to undertake a joint ministerial visit to the Kasumbalesa port of entry, in the Province of Haut Katanga.
The joint visit to the border took place on Saturday, July 15, 2023. This followed the successful 12th Bi-National Commission co-chaired by the Presidents of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa and President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, respectively, on July 6, 2023.
Chikunga emphasized that resolving the issues at the Kasumbalesa port of entry requires the involvement of the Zambian government.
“To this end, I will be engaging with my Zambian counterpart on their participation in the discussions to find a lasting solution to the congestion problem.”
The joint communique also reaffirmed an earlier decision to convene a dialogue and workshop in South Africa on matters of mutual cooperation, as outlined in the memorandum of understanding (MOU), including resolutions to challenges at the Kasumbalesa border post.