Road entry point management systems and and regional integration : the case of Zimbabwe.
Zimano, Felistas Ranganai.
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Regions face integration impediments, yet despite statistics showing some regions making significant strides toward integration, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) lags behind. The management and administration of road entry points between national borders is critical for regional integration (RI), despite entry points being associated with safeguarding state sovereignty. SADC’s intraregional trade is predominantly undertaken by road, thus an empirical inquiry into road entry point management systems (REPMS) is necessary, as little research has been done on them. REPMS and public administration support or hinder trade facilitation; non-tariff barriers (NTBs) tend to hinder RI, particularly administrative disincentives to export which translate into cost of doing business. Through the lens of Zimbabwe, this study aims to determine the relationship between REPMS and NTBs by comparatively examining the Zambia-Zimbabwe Chirundu one-stop-border-post (OSBP) and three two-stop-border posts (TSBPs) between Zimbabwe and Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa. Critical realism philosophy is used to interrogate the extent to which neo-functionalist and modernisation theories explain the relationship between RI, NTBs, REPMS and state sovereignty. The participants in this mixed method research study included a total of 12 interviewees who were drawn from various Zimbabwean ministries, namely Industry and Commerce; Finance/Revenue Authority; Small and Medium Enterprises and Development. Truck drivers and small and mediumsized entrepreneurs made up the 378 survey respondents, and secondary data were also used. The combined sampling strategies included subgroup census, convenience and purposive. The qualitative data were analysed through a thematic and matrix analysis, whilst the quantitative data were analysed with Stata 11.0. The findings suggest that NTBs at TSBPs lead to delays, corruption, and increased costs, yet inefficient management systems at OSBPs cause the latter to be as administratively ineffective as the former. Statistically significant relationships were found to be between REPMS, NTBs and trade encouragement; and single clearance processes conducted by the country of exit or entry. Neither the neo-functionalist nor the modernisation theories adequately explained the relationships between variables. The data showed that state sovereignty impedes RI; that colonial legacies bedevil the region; and that harmonisation of administrative procedures, whether OSBPs or TSBPs, could help facilitate trade and RI. Recommendations and conclusions are thus proffered, and a new theoretical model beyond the neo-functionalist or modernisation approaches to RI is presented.