New Railway To Link Namibia And Botswana

6 Sep 2023

Namibia and Botswana have decided to go ahead with the construction of the Trans-Kalahari railway, which will go beyond western Botswana to the Namibian border.

It will boost both trade and tourism. Goods to be transported will be mainly coal and copper from Botswana to the Namibian port of Walvis Bay, for export and imported freight destined for Botswana, South Africa and nearby landlocked countries.    

Namibia's Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa and his Botswana counterpart, Eric Molale discussed the way forward in Windhoek on 30 August 2023.

Train in Namibia
A train of TransNamib in Namibia. Photo: TransNamib

“Construction is to start in January 2025,” Minister Mutorwa said. 

On the Namibian side, a railway exists until Gobabis, and this will be extended to the Buitepos Border Post some 100 km east of Gobabis. In Botswana the new rail link will run from Mmamabula via Rasesa, to Phuduhudu, then following the Trans-Kalahari Highway to the Mamuno Border Post near Charles Hill into Namibia at Buitepos.

The project will be implemented on a design, build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) investment model.  A call for an expression of interest has been advertised internationally and runs until November.

Discussions started in 2010

Previously in 2010, the governments of Namibia and Botswana signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the development of the Trans-Kalahari Railway (TKR). In 2014 a bilateral agreement for the proposed 1,500 km line followed.

In another development the management of the southern railway line in Namibia will soon be outsourced to a private company – a first for the country. The state-owned railway company TransNamib has called for an expression of interest for such a contract for the railway line between the Ariamsvlei Border Post via Keetmanshoop and Aus to the port of Lüderitz. Currently, the last section of the railway between Aus and Lüderitz is rehabilitated.

Brigitte Weidlich

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