New Trans Kalahari Corridor takes asignificant step towards economic development

Niël Terblanché

Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa have taken a significant step toward boosting trade and regional development with the inauguration of new offices of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat offices in Windhoek.

Namibia’s Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa along with his counterparts from Botswana and South Africa marked the occasion with optimism and a shared commitment to the corridor’s growth and impact on the Southern African region.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) represents a tripartite transboundary corridor management institution with a vision to foster deeper regional integration programs, including those of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Minister Mutorwa emphasized the historical importance of this initiative, stating, “In 2007, a hosting agreement was signed to give practical meaning to the establishment of a secretariat office here in Windhoek.”

The origins of the TKC trace back to November 3, 2003, when the transport ministers of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa signed an agreement in Walvis Bay to develop and manage the corridor. This agreement encapsulated a shared commitment to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable growth and development in the region.

South Africa’s Transport Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, highlighted the paramount importance of efficient transport, calling it the “heartbeat of social development and economic growth.” She stressed the collaborative nature of the endeavour and its potential to serve as a stepping stone toward the realization of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Minister Chikunga urged the TKC to lead efforts in removing bottlenecks to the free movement of goods and people within the region.

Eric Molale, Botswana’s Transport Minister and Chairperson of the TKC, expressed hope that the corridor’s infrastructure development would not inadvertently facilitate illegal trade or unwarranted activities on the continent. He underscored the need for safety on the road and emphasized that the TKC should not be associated with issues such as human trafficking and gender-based violence.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor is a vast road network spanning approximately 1 900 kilometres across the territories of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. It originates in South Africa’s Gauteng Province and traverses through multiple key points, connecting major cities and border posts. Ultimately, it reaches the Port of Walvis Bay, offering a crucial artery for trade and economic development in the region.

The inauguration of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat offices represents a significant milestone in the ongoing effort to enhance trade and regional cooperation among Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. As this vital transport corridor continues to ease the movement of goods and people, it is poised to play a central role in propelling the development agendas of these nations and fostering greater integration in Southern Africa.

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