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JOHANNESBURG - Regulation  of cross-border transport was a propeller of, and not an obstacle to, enhanced regional trade and growth of cross-border trade and business, said deputy transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga.

“The challenge is with inconsistent and flippant regulatory practices, that is regulatory authorities that are constantly changing rules and procedures without due process and requisite consultation with their cross border counterparts and industry players,” she said at a gala dinner of the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency Indaba in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Chikunga added that observations from a number of joint committee meetings held between South Africa and its neighbouring countries also tended to confirm that operators within the Southern African Development Community believed that overly burdensome regulation could create barriers to cross-border investment and trade, as did the absence of a clear, transparent regulatory environment.

She emphasised that regional economic integration remained the essential mechanism for reconnecting Africans with one another at both social and cultural levels and to address the issue that most African countries had small economies and were therefore unable to bargain meaningfully about trade and other geopolitical strategic imperatives at a global level.

The realisation that it was critical to integrate African economies and the appreciation of the collective gains this would bring about to national states had brought about the concept of “Linking Africa”.

“The Linking Africa idea is born out of the realisation that for Africa to have any chance of bargaining meaningfully at the level of global value chains, and to trade meaningfully with the rest of the world, we need to earnestly think about our economic prospects beyond the confines of the senseless borders that were imposed on all of us by the colonisers,” she said.

Chikunga said “Linking Africa” was essentially concerned with trade and transport regulatory issues.

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE