GABORONE – Botswana is moving at great speed to rehabilitate and fully commercialise the Nata-Maun-Mohembo road to ease the flow of goods and services between itself and neighbouring countries.
This was shared by that country’s minister of transport and public works Eric Molale in a conversation with Botswana’s Daily News newspaper on Monday. New Era is privy to the discussion.
Molale said once the Nata-Maun-Mohembo road is operational, it will offer a shorter route between Mohembo in Botswana’s North-West District and the town of Katima Mulilo in Namibia for cross-border trucks.
“The trucks that are passing here going to Katima in Namibia now have to take a straight route through Mohembo, instead of having to go to Windhoek first,” Molale said. The transport minister emphasised that improving road networks will improve and promote economic activities, as well as deepen regional integration by creating a conducive environment for seamless movement of people, goods and services.
“For the Trans Kalahari and Trans Molopo highways, which effectively linked Botswana to other countries in the region, plans were underway to construct the Mmathethe-Bray-Werda road as an alternative link between South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. “We have funds to build the Mmathethe-Bray-Werda highway, and once that road has been built, it will be easier to drive from Kimberly, going northwards from Bray and joining the Trans Kalahari if you want to go to Namibia,” he said.
He, however, particularly emphasised the need to improve economic activities along the Trans Kalahari Corridor (KRC) through the mobilisation of potential investors to take advantage of the business opportunities created.
While acknowledging the presence of a few amenities along the corridor, more needs to be done in other areas, such as Mabutsane, Charleshill, Gobabis (Namibia) and Zeerust (South Africa).
The TCR is a tripartite transboundary corridor management institution that was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC and SACU. The corridor is a road network that spans approximately 1 900kms across the territories of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
It starts in the Gauteng Province in South Africa and continues through Rustenburg and Zeerust in the North-West Province, through Lobatse and Kanye in Botswana, the Mamuno and Trans Kalahari Border Posts, through Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja in Namibia and right through to the Port of Walvis Bay.
The Port of Walvis Bay strategically links to other corridors in the sub-region, namely the Trans Kunene Corridor, Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi (Trans Caprivi) Corridor, Windhoek-Luanda Corridor and the Trans Oranje Corridor.
Road network linkages cut across these corridors, creating a strategic network.
It also connects the ports of Walvis Bay with the Maputo Corridor, resulting in the Coast-to-Coast Corridor.
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, the Trans Kalahari Corridor cuts the distance by 400km, 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, East European markets and the Southern African hinterland.