One-stop border posts in East Africa: State encounters of the fourth kind

Paul Nugent, Isabella Soi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Across Africa, One-Stop Border Posts are being rolled out as part of a continental/ regional integration agenda that seeks to facilitate the movement of people and goods. This article focuses on four OSBPs in East Africa and addresses the question, firstly, of how far they make a break with entrenched operational patterns within government bureaucracies, and secondly whether they represent a distinct type of border management regime. The article finds that while there has been progress on data sharing in Customs, the construction and management of OSBPs reflects the persistence of distinct institutional cultures within each country. Moreover, working practices involve practical workarounds which belie notions of a paperless border. Secondly, the article finds that OSBPs are unlike other border crossings and share some features with airports and seaports in that they have been designed to handle both cargo and people. But they differ in that they are not heavily securitized and represent co-produced spaces of interaction in which transporters and members of the surrounding community have helped to shape the organizational patterns. The outcomes fuse an official ideology of service, everyday bureaucratic practice and local understandings of ownership.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 May 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • one-stop border posts
  • boundaries
  • customs
  • immigration
  • bureaucracy
  • trade
  • freedom of movement
  • governance


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