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Opinion: Kazungula Bridge unlocks Trans Kalahari value

2021-07-07  Staff Reporter

Opinion: Kazungula Bridge unlocks Trans Kalahari value

The recent opening of the Kazungula Bridge signals the renewal of a fruitful and beneficial relationship to developand enhance trade between and among the SADC countries and beyond. 

This will also facilitate the opening of import and export opportunities and unlock value on the Trans Kalahari route. Connecting to Kazungula border post - goods can be moved freely with ease from the Port of Walvis Bay by intermodal linkages (rail and road) to conveniently serve markets, including Botswana, Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) remains a stronghold to potentially unlock significant commerce and trade opportunities for Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. In so doing it contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

There is a positive impact regarding the new development of the bridge, practically, it is evident that the bridge links the port of Walvis Bay to the port of Maputo on the east coast of Africa. 

The TKC further connects the highways of Namibia, commencing at the port of Walvis Bay through Kanye and Lobatse, in Botswana to South Africa, mainly to the industrial heartland of the greater Gauteng. 

Walvis Bay is strategically situated to provide a competitive alternative to the port in Durban, which currently handles the majority of imports into and exports out of the southern African region. 

However, the benefits of using the Namibian port have not been extensively marketed. In a globally competitive environment, there is a need to develop an effective marketing strategy that is able to display the advantages of using the Namibian port as a transit port for inter-regional trade.

The direct access to the major road corridors, the air and sea anchorages of Walvis Bay give the best strategic positioning to Namibia as a transport hub for regional and international trade between SADC countries, Europe, the Americas and beyond.

Perhaps a major thrust of this development, as part of SADC regional integration, has been the development of transport corridors to which the Kazungula border post is set to boost its presence in the regional configuration of trade.

A Walvis Bay Group (WBG) as a joint public–private initiative consists principally of the Port of Walvis Bay, the Trans-Kalahari corridor, the Trans-Caprivi corridor, the Trans-Cunene corridor as well as the Trans-Oranje corridor. 

The corridors, combined with the port of Walvis Bay, are strategic to give a competitive positioning to Namibia as a transport hub for all regional and international trade between SADC countries, Europe, the Americas and beyond. Already, two SADC countries, namely Botswana and Zambia, have acquired land for dry ports in Walvis Bay. 

As a long-term outcome, we envisage the government developing an international logistics hub for SADC in Namibia. 

The hub, together with the current expansion and deepening of the port at Walvis Bay, combined with measures such as a common SADC driver’s licence and the abolition of visas, constitute important trade facilitation measures propelled by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

*Issued by the Corporate Communication of the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade

2021-07-07  Staff Reporter

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