In mid-March, a memorandum of understanding to begin planning the Trans-Kalahari railway across Botswana and Namibia was signed by officials of the two countries in Walvis Bay. “A developer-arranged investment model,” TransNamib Holdings chief corporate communications officer Ailly Hangula-Paulino is quoted saying, “has to be set up to guide financing, construction, and operation of the new line.” A ministerial committee representative of both governments needs to be created, and a joint venture established as a public-private partnership.

The new railway is to begin at Botswana’s Mmamabula coal fields, where it will connect with existing railways. The route is envisaged following the Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) to the Namibian border at Mamuno. It will continue along the TKC across Namibia, passing Gobabis and Okahandja on its way to Walvis Bay. Financing details have not been worked out yet and no date has been set for the start of construction.

It is anticipated that the line of about 1,500km, which could be finished in five years, would carry some 90 million tonnes of coal annually, for export to mainly India and China.

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