Cross-border flow in SA


GLOBALIZATION and international travel are amongst the prime casualties of Covid-19, as a result of which trade amongst the nations has also badly suffered. Since nobody knows as for how long the current situation persists, it is time for the countries to hold discussions and find ways and means to ensure safe travel and trade so that normalcy to some extent can be restored which is important to bring back economic activities.
Sensing the importance of the matter, China once again taken the lead and its Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a video conference of the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal the other day in which it was agreed to fast track cross-border flow of people and set up a green channel to facilitate the movement of each other’s nationals. A Chinese Foreign Office spokesperson assured the cross-border flow of people will be resumed in an orderly manner when certain conditions are met. Indeed the current situation warrants that necessary guidelines and SOPs are put in place at the borders and duly followed by the travellers and traders to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. Since there is spirit of cooperation amongst these four nations, we are confident that all necessary arrangements will be finalized at the borders in order to start the process of movement of people at the earliest. This step indeed will give much needed impetus to trade and economic activities and prove to be a win-win for the four nations as it will enable them to import the items they are required and export the commodities they are in surplus. It should be utmost effort of the four nations to make this arrangement a complete success story for other nations to emulate. Along with this, the infrastructure projects aimed at improving connectivity in the region must also be pursued more vigorously Authorities in Pakistan and China must pay special attention to the start of work on the multibillion dollar – ML-1 which envisages upgradation of railways from Karachi to Peshawar. The completion of this project will help to a long way in improving the flow of goods as far as the Central Asian States.

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