The Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) revealed an increase in cross-border trades between Namibia and Botswana through the Trans-Kalahari corridor on Monday.
According to WBCG’s Marketing and Communications Officer, Agnetha Mouton, the volumes along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor for the Botswana market have increased substantially, with more consumables and motor-vehicles being transported through the port of Walvis Bay.
She said, through a media statement, that some of the Botswana importers and exporters have opted to use the Trans-Kalahari Corridor since it provides an alternative route for ‘time critical’ cargo.
Botswana has further improved its trading activities to maximise the benefits of the Trans- Kalahari Corridor by putting in place shorter transit times between the Namibia-Botswana border. Thus, also harmonising customs’ documentation and joint collaboration between the two countries to improve safety and transport.
“The corridors should never be uni-directional. Every country must be able to send and receive its commodities through the most economical route,” said the Namibian High Commissioner to Botswana, Hadino Hishongwa, in the statement.
Hishongwa said it was what Namibia wants to achieve for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and beyond, as it was intra-African trade that will take Africa to the next level.
The WBCG has indicated that cross-border trade has increased 150 per cent via the Trans- Kalahari Corridor between 2007 and 2011. The Trans-Kalahari route has strengthened trade ties amongst Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and the existence of this route was a shorter alternative between South Africa and Namibia, being preferred to the conventional Ariamsvlei route which is over 500 kilometres longer.
The Trans-Kalahari Corridor was jointly built by the Namibian and Botswana Governments in the 1990s with an initial investment of approximately N$850 million, and was officially opened in 1998. This Corridor comprises a tarred road linking the Port of Walvis Bay with Botswana and the industrial powerhouse of South Africa, Gauteng. The Corridor stretches over 1,900 km along Walvis Bay-Windhoek-Gaborone-Johannesburg/Pretoria. It is supported by a railway line from the Port of Walvis Bay to Gobabis (via Windhoek), where trans-shipment facilities are available, and continues from Lobatse in Botswana.
By Business reporter
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