BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZIMBABWE is lagging behind in mapping the country’s borders in line with the African Union Border Programme (AUBP), with only 20% having been demarcated since 2011.
The AUBP was adopted in 2007 under the theme Preventing Conflicts and Promoting Integration with ambitious goals of “delimitation and demarcation of African boundaries”.
The deadline is 2023.
However, findings of the Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee presented in Parliament last week reveal that only 20% of the exercise has been covered by the country “in eight years, and as a result, the 2023 target by the AUBP will be missed”.
“The Auditor observed that the Surveyor-General Department reaffirmed 27% of the planned 200 kilometres of Zimbabwe’s international boundaries.
“In addition to that, the department was lagging behind on the AUBP that requires all nations to complete all international boundaries reaffirmations by the year 2023,” the report reads in part.
“There were no reaffirmations done on the South African and Zambian borders measuring a total of 225km and 798km respectively. ”
For the Botswana boundary, only 542km was reaffirmed out of a total of 841km and for the Mozambique boundary, only 43km was reaffirmed out of a total of 1 134km.
“Out of the total 2 998km of the Zimbabwean boundary, only 585km, which is 20%, were reaffirmed since the inception of the AUBP programme.”
The Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee commenced its investigations in May 2019, but only completed receiving oral evidence in March 2020.
The AUBP was a response, among other things, to the need to “address transnational criminal activities”, and promote peace, security and stability in Africa.
At the time, it was estimated that less than a quarter of African borders had been delimited and demarcated.
A 2012, African Union assessment indicated that there were about 350 official border-crossing points.
In its recommendations, the Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee said: “The International Boundary Reaffirmation process should be prioritised and concluded by 2023.”
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