Concerned by the potential decline of trade in Eastern Africa and ensuing job and export losses due to COVID-19, governments in the region have made efforts to keep trade running safely along main transport corridors.   

Trademark East Africa (TMEA), a multi-donor funded initiative, is supporting governments to ensure that trade is conducted safely while protecting livelihoods. Among other interventions, TMEA has supported the provision of PPE and the development of a Drivers App to encourage paperless movement across borders, reduce fake documentation and waiting time for drivers and cargo. 

ORB is the fieldwork partner of the Third Party Monitoring (TPM) of FCDO’s Africa Regional Department. As part of this programme, ORB was commissioned to carry out TPM to assess PPE and Driver App effectiveness in ensuring the safety of border officials and truck drivers as well as to reduce wait times at border crossings.  Border queues had reached 60KM in 2020 with many drivers waiting more than a week to cross.    

Over the period of one week in January, ORB interviewers conducted TPM surveys with 180 truck drivers crossing the Kenya-Uganda border in Malaba and Busia. Interviews were conducted on both sides of the border, employing local teams of interviewers from both countries. The surveys asked drivers about their experience of crossing the border, COVID testing, PPE and use of the Drivers App.   

ORB also conducted 20 in-depth interviews with border crossing staff working for different departments (Security, Counter-Staff, Customs, Health). In addition to written observations, interviewers also took photographs to provide evidence of COVID equipment and procedures. 

All ORB interviewers were required to have a recent COVID test, wear PPE and always observe social distancing guidelines. 

Our research found widespread use of the Drivers App and PPE among truck drivers as well as significant reductions in queuing times at the border. We also found evidence of effective distribution and use of PPE at border offices, as well as the use of other COVIDsecure measures including signage, provision of hand sanitizer, and the use of heat-sensitive imaging.

About ORB
ORB International is a leading research organisation specialising in quantitative and qualitative research and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in complex, conflict, and challenging environments.
Cover Photo by GovernmentZA, no changes made