New Mega Railway Project, Trans-Kalahari Railway, Set to Kick Off in Africa in 2025

New Mega Railway Project, Trans-Kalahari Railway, Set to Kick Off in Africa in 2025

A monumental undertaking is on the horizon for Africa as plans for the Trans-Kalahari Railway construction, spanning 1,500km, are slated to commence in January 2025. The groundbreaking initiative was confirmed during a special joint ministerial committee (JMC) meeting held in September, where transportation officials from Namibia and Botswana revealed the scheduled start date.

The roots of this ambitious project trace back to 2010 when Botswana and Namibia entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pave the way for the development of the Trans-Kalahari Railway Line (TKR) Link. In 2014, both nations solidified their commitment by signing a bilateral agreement specifically addressing the trans-boundary line’s development, including coal storage, conveying, loading, and additional ancillary facilities. Towards the close of 2022, both countries reiterated their dedication to this multibillion-dollar venture, aiming to connect Botswana’s abundant coal fields with the Namibian port of Walvis Bay.

Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa, extending an invitation to his Botswana counterpart Eric Molale, hosted and co-chaired the JMC in Windhoek on the TKR project.

The ministers outlined a comprehensive timeline for the project, starting with the Expression of Interest (EOI) phase running from September 6 to November 8, 2023, for interested parties to declare their participation. Subsequently, a pre-qualification stage is scheduled between December 2023 and February 2024, followed by a three-month window from March 2024 for Requests for Proposals (RFP). The actual development or construction phase is set to kick off in January 2025.

Highlighting a commitment to community involvement and cross-country collaboration, the joint statement from Namibia and Botswana’s transport ministries assures consultations with affected communities and increased participation by companies and contractors from both nations throughout all project phases. The TKR-Project Management Office (PMO) will oversee the advertisement process, utilizing the official websites of the Member States’ Ministries of Transport, Railway Authorities, Investment Promotion Agencies (APIs), and their respective diplomatic missions abroad.

It is worth noting that Botswana 🇧🇼 and Namibia 🇳🇦 are member countries of the African Continental Free Trade Area (#AfCFTA).

By Mark Anthony Johnson

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