Botswana Railways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its Namibian Counterpart state-owned TransNamib to facilitate the joint development of the Trans-Kalahari railway which will cost US $9.5m.
TransNamib Corporate Communications Executive, Ailly Hangula Paulino confirmed the reports and said the railway line would complement the existing Trans-Kalahari corridor, which links Botswana to the port of Walvis Bay, but stretches 1 900Km from Walvis Bay, through Windhoek, Gaborone in Botswana and Johannesburg to Pretoria in South Africa.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) is a tripartite trans-boundary Corridor Management Institution that was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programs of SADC, SACU and NEPAD. Trans Kalahari High Way – a corridor that links Botswana, South Africa and Namibia – is one of the infrastructures put up by the Governments and international partners to help enhance cross border trade in the region.
The Trans-Kalahari kilometres railway
This Corridor is known for providing a short transport link across the entire breadth of the South African Sub-continent. Compared to the traditional routes via southern Namibia to South Africa’s Gauteng, TKC cuts the distance by 400 km, making it a more preferred route and providing cost-effective logistical advantages to users. The TKC is a strategic route-of-choice that provides linkages between the Americas and East European markets and the Southern African hinterland.
The MoU agreement for the Trans-Kalahari railway line entails adding a coal terminal and associated loading facilities to the Namibia-Botswana corridor that would benefit other landlocked Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries like Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe by providing alternative transportation routes.
The railway line would connect Botswana to the Namibian Atlantic coast, traversing the vast semi-arid, sandy Savannah of the Kalahari Desert from Botswana to Namibia, with the sole benefit of connecting the land-locked Botswana to Namibia’s port of Walvis Bay, thus unlocking the value of coal mining in Botswana and power generation in the region.