Uganda’s Adoption of Border Technology Set to Ease Cross-border Logistics

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January 15, 2017

The landlocked East African country of Uganda has been gearing itself towards a change in how cross-border operations are carried out.

The country is leveraging the use of technology to hasten the issuance of visas and strengthen security at the border by installing a comprehensive, modern, integrated visa management system.

The adoption of technology will facilitate the convenience of travel and improve the movement of goods across the border.

A Netherlands-based international security company known as Gemalto is at the forefront of this move.

The company is supplying Uganda’s immigration directorate with its proprietary Coesys Visa Management – a Visa Management system that undertakes biometric registration and issuance of permits to persons upon arrival.

Gemalto will install, deploy and maintain the system and thereafter train the immigration officers.

This all-round visa issuance technology system will see applicants apply for visas and entry permits at any time via an online portal.

According to the firm’s website, the Coesys Visa Management is a comprehensive one-shirt-fits-all solution to the visa application procedure.

The system extends from fee payment and appointment scheduling to background checks, registration of personal details, biometrics capture and the printing of visas. 

Uganda’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration Control has made a smart move in logistics by adopting the new technology.

By virtue of being landlocked, Uganda relies a lot on its East African neighbours, Kenya and Tanzania, to receive goods from overseas sources.

In addition, it is strategically positioned as the entry-point to the Great Lakes nations of Burundi and Rwanda, which are also landlocked.

As such, there are many freight carriers, traders and business people who make the trip across the border at any point in time.


Trucks waiting their turn at the Kenya-Uganda border. [Image source - Business Daily Africa]

Trucks waiting their turn at the Kenya-Uganda border. [Image source – Business Daily Africa]

The regional cargo marketplace generally involves the transportation of agricultural produce, stationery, construction materials, machinery and other merchandise from the neighbouring countries and beyond.

Uganda is not only a destination for these goods, but a conduit.

Transportation of these goods from source to destination requires meticulous planning in logistics.

Logistics, from its broad definition as the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the end-users requirements, will be critical.

If there exists a bottleneck at the border, such as a prolonged visa registration process, then there is certainly going to arise a couple of logistical concerns.

Easing the hitherto tedious process of accessing entry permits has solved a logistics nightmare for Uganda in particular and the region as a whole. It is easy to see why.

Due to the increased efficiency of cross-border movement, we are going to see a lot of increased cargo volumes from the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam into Uganda going forward.

Since the nation is a conveyor belt, the same case will apply to freight originating from Uganda across into Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

This installation of the system will in no doubt be a fast and much-welcome response to the challenges that business enterprises have been facing in the East African region with regards to movement of goods and human resource.


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