Empowering Africa’s Border Management: Insights from IBMATA Conference

IBMATA Conference on Border Management in Africa: Enhancing Efficiency and Security.

The IBMATA Conference held on May 10th and 11th, 2023, brought together experts and government representatives to discuss crucial aspects of border management in Africa. With a focus on national border security policies and strategies, the conference shed light on innovative solutions and highlighted the challenges faced by various countries across the continent. Let’s delve into some key takeaways from the event.

Day 1: Border Management in Africa

The first day of the conference explored the theme of border management in Africa, featuring insightful discussions from esteemed speakers. Dr. Nakampe Michael Masiapato, Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Border Management Authority (BMA), shared the BMA’s strategy of integrating multiple agencies under one managing authority. This integrated approach aims to streamline border clearances by bringing together agencies such as immigration, port health, agriculture, and environmental departments.

Notably, the BMA, established in April 2023, excludes the South African Revenue Service (SARS) from its integrated approach. However, with directives from relevant ministries and well-trained staff, the BMA is equipped to efficiently manage border processes.

Government representatives from Nigeria, Tanzania, and Lesotho also shared their insights on border management challenges. Mr. Sosthen Lugome, Assistant Commissioner of Immigration Tanzania, highlighted issues related to manual processes, porous borders, and fragmented agency operations. He emphasized that implementing the ICE Borders Solution can greatly minimize these challenges.

Mantsebo Motsoanakaba, Head of Immigration at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Lesotho, echoed similar concerns. Lesotho, like many African countries, faces hurdles due to the lack of integrated e-government processes and procedures at its borders. The goal for Lesotho is to establish a Single System that coordinates all agencies, a goal that can be facilitated by the ICE Borders Solution.

Greg Morris, Chief Executive Officer of ICE Tech, presented the vision of empowering governments with tools and systems for enhanced service delivery. He showcased the successful implementation of ICE Tech’s ICE Borders System at the Beitbridge border in Zimbabwe, demonstrating the positive impact on freight traffic. The South African Commissioner praised the solution for its relief from traffic congestion.

Day 2: International Border Management

The second day of the conference shifted focus to international border management, with notable speakers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ghana, and Kenya sharing their experiences. Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, South Africa, along with the Commissioner of the BMA, engaged with sponsors and received a summary of ICE Tech’s ICE Borders Solution.

International speakers, including Ms. Diane Sabatino from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Ms. Lorna Feldtmann from UK Visas and Immigration, provided insights into border management strategies and the challenges overcome in their respective countries.

Ghana and Kenya showcased their successful implementation of a single window border system with pre-clearance checks. Ghana’s Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), developed by a Chinese service provider, integrates all agencies. However, both countries acknowledged the need for improved traffic and flow management on the ground, as well as enhanced transparency of procedures to clients. These are areas where the ICE Borders Solution can play a vital role.

ICE Tech capitalized on networking opportunities during the conference, engaging with a concessionaire supplying x-ray scanner devices to Customs in Mozambique and representatives from DP World in Dubai, who expressed interest in potential collaborations.

The event concluded with Tony Smith, Chairman of the International Border Management and Technologies Association (IBMATA), wrapping up the conference.

The IBMATA Conference provided valuable insights into border management challenges in Africa and showcased the potential of innovative solutions like the ICE Borders System to enhance efficiency, transparency, and security at borders across the continent.