The pre-feasibility study on the development of Trans Kalahari Railway Link between Botswana and Namibian ports to enable bilateral, regional economic trade and access to the outside world shows it will have a positive impact on the lives of the citizens of the two countries.
It is hoped that the railway link will reduce Botswana’s over dependence on South Africa, which for a long time provided an inlet as well as the exit for the county’s imports and goods.
Frank Ramsden, Minister of transport and Communications, said Botswana will be able to export reasonably some commodities like coal.
“I wish to say once more that the social and economic lives of our peoples will be tremendously impacted by the development of this nature,” he said.
Ramsden said on Monday at a meeting held in Gaborone, where Botswana and Namibia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to give the project a boost.
The MoU was signed by Ramsden and Erkki Nghitina who heads Works and Transport Ministry in Namibia.
Ramsden was bullish that in the advent of the railway link, the country should be able to export and receive goods into the country from all directions without hindrance, over and above from the South African border.┬á
Some months ago, the minister was in Mozambique on behalf of the Botswana government to sign a similar MoU with government there, over a railway line starting in Mozambique and passing through Botswana.
Besides the MoU, delegations of the two countries were expected to meet yesterday (Tuesday) to consider the findings of the pre-feasibility study of the railway link.
George Simataa, Permanent Secretary of the Namibian, Ministry of Works and Transport told The Telegraph the MOU was a practical expression of the two countries commitment, while it also gives specific timelines on how the project should move forward.
┬á“Thus, the purpose of the meeting was primarily to listen to the consultants presenting the findings of the pre-feasibility study they conducted, whereupon representatives from my country and the government of Botswana can after further consultation and scrutinising its contents, commission a fully fledged feasibility study,” Simataa explained.
The project has been found bankable, both financially and economically, with immense pontential for job creation for citizens of the countries involved.
It is seen as another opportunity for the region to realise the ideal of regional integration.
Simataa said the government of Namibia has resolved that the funding of the project on its part will be exclusive a private sector affair, with government doing everything possible to facilitate.
The position of the Botswana government on the other hand, through Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications is that there will be varying levels of participation, subject to the findings of the report.
It is estimated that once the full feasibility study report is concluded, the project should take off possibly in the year 2012/2013 at the cost of US$ 11 billion (about P75 billion).