The long stalled Trans-Kalahari railway project is one of the priority agendas for Asser Kapere during his tenure as the Namibian High Commissioner to Botswana.
“The bilateral relationship between Namibia and Botswana is extraordinarily good. And for that matter, there have been programmes already agreed upon on education, social and economic level, which I have to continue to pursue. There is that bilateral agreement on the Trans-Kalahari railway, which I will continue to pursue,” said the former chairperson of the National Council.
The governments of Namibia and Botswana have signed an agreement to jointly construct a 1 500km railway track that will connect the Mmamabula coal field in southeastern Botswana to the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. The realisation of the multi-billion rail project, Kapere said will have a positive effect on the operationalisation of the Botswana dry port in Walvis Bay.
“The issue of the dry port at Walvis Bay, which I believe is fast developing if not already operational, might be waiting for the railway which is earmarked for the transportation of coal and serves the rest of SADC.”
Once realised, the cross border rail project is also expected to serve as the main trade route with other countries including Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Currently, trade between Botswana and Namibia is served by the 1,900km Trans-Kalahari highway that snakes from Walvis Bay via Windhoek to Gaborone as well as Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Kapere, who replaced Ambassador Mbapeu Muvanga said he has settled in well in his new role, and presented his letters of credentials to President Mokgweetsi Masisi last week in Gaborone.
Last Friday, Kapere received Namibian President Hage Geingob at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone. President Geingob, in his capacity as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was in the country to visit the SADC Secretariat headquarters.
The president, who addressed both the senior management and the entire staff of the Secretariat, was accompanied by Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and senior government officials.
Image source: Ministry of International Affairs Botswana Facebook page