The Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC) has made good progress despite the pandemic.
The committee is one of the regional corridor management institutes that have taken the lead to embrace change and ensure the smooth transit of goods and persons. Speakers during a two-day TKC stakeholder consultative meeting last week mentioned good progress being made by TKC.
During the event, the TKC management committee noted that the last two years have forced most industries to evaluate what it means to be efficient. This emanated from challenges of navigating a global pandemic, with countries implementing strict protocols at ports of entry, workplaces operating with reduced capacity, uncertainties and lockdowns all meant embracing new technologies and different approaches to work smarter.
Giving his remarks during the meeting, the Executive Director of Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat, Leslie Mpofu, stated that the TKC has achieved much in trade facilitation even though initially certain challenges were experienced such as meetings being unable to materialise due to technology glitches, new regulations or Covid-19 protocols by the different countries that were not in harmony, quarantining of drivers and high costs of Covid-19 tests among others.
Mpofu mentioned that despite these challenges and through combined efforts by stakeholders, many accomplishments were achieved. One of the key successes was the piloting of the Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) on the TKC. CTMS is a system of monitoring the movement of truck drivers to ensure drivers follow their route and thus avoid the spread of Covid-19. The driver is given a cell phone that can be monitored throughout his journey and the system is expected to be a game changer in preventing the spread of the pandemic.
Another initiative, in conjunction with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group on the Namibian side of the Trans Kalahari Corridor, is free testing and vaccination of drivers. Mobile clinics are strategically placed along the route to assist drivers with Covid-19 rapid testing, vaccination or any other health needs the driver may have. This, said Mpofu, was necessary as drivers are always on the road and may not find time for these important consultations. He continued that reduction of time and the expenses at border gates, increased participants in visual stakeholder engagements and harmonisation of some documents and policies are some of the positive developments along the corridor. The current chairperson of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC), Segodi Mogotsi, who facilitated the first day of the meeting, emphasised the importance of cutting down time spent on the road. He was concerned that it took longer for the movement of goods within the continent to reach their destination compared to goods coming from overseas. He said it was important to improve the efficiency of the corridor, and further acknowledged the progress the region is making in terms of road structure and technology systems.
On his part, co-chair of TKCMC from Namibia, Cedric Mwanota Limbo, said despite challenges, the TKC Secretariat now has its own Windhoek office, which will be commissioned soon.
He said the TKC is an economic corridor and as such, it should enhance its competitive advantage by reducing the costs of doing business and transit time. He stated that TKCS was on the right path and urged stakeholders to support secretariat initiatives.
The two-day stakeholder meeting was organised by the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat at the request of Namibia’s Ministry of Works and Transport with the intention to meet stakeholders in South Africa to discuss collaboration, challenges and solutions to make the TKC a quick and cost effective option.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor is a road network of approximately 1900 kilometres across Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, running from the Gauteng Province through Rustenburg and Zeerust in South Africa, Lobatse, Kanye, Kang, Mamuno in Botswana, past Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja through to Walvis Bay.
The TKC Secretariat is a tripartite transboundary corridor management institution based in Windhoek. It was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC, SACU and NEPAD.