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PPP Model For New Rail Projects

PAULINE DIKUELO
Railway line
Government says the envisaged Botswana Railways (BR) railway links projects will be developed, financed and operated through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulaganyo Segokgo told Parliament recently that three lines namely Mosetse – Kazungula, Mmamabula-Lephalale and Trans-Kalahari have been registered with the PPP Unit under the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development.“

At this stage, a project team has been constituted consisting of members from Botswana Railways, PPP Unit and Ministry of Transport and Communications. Currently, Mosetse – Kazungula feasibility study has commenced and is scheduled to take six months,” he said. Already, the government has availed funds amounting to P90 million in the current financial year to carry out feasibility studies for Mosetse-Kazungula, Mmamabula-Lephalale and Trans-Kalahari Railway links, BusinessMonitor has established.

The Trans-Kalahari Railway line that was touted would unlock Botswana’s economy by transporting coal to Walvis Bay and beyond for export was previously put on hold, as it was reported that Botswana and Namibia could not iron out some issues.

It was expected initially the Trans-Kalahari railway line would cover 1,500 kilometres from Mmamabula coalfields to Walvis Bay. It was expected it would connect to the railway line down to Rasesa, passing through Molepolole, Kang and Morwamusu border, Gobabis and Windhoek to Walvis Bay as the final destination.

Segokgo added the government has identified the

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need for increased railway capacity and alternative routes to export and import goods through rail as one of its priority areas for economic development.

He said in addition to the railway links, there are developments of Inland Dry port internally and Development of Dry port at Walvis Bay, which has been budgeted for in the coming financial year. Last year BR revealed its plans to construct another port in Gobabis, 120 kilometres from Charles Hill border, a move aimed at diverting traffic to the Botswana Dry port in Walvis Bay.

Meanwhile, the state owned railway company is currently implementing its five-year growth strategy after it encountered challenges in the first two years of the strategy implementation.

“The major challenge is the inability to achieve budgeted traffic due to long turnaround times experienced between Botswana and other neighbouring countries which we are delivering to,” Segokgo said.

He said although the railway infrastructure was last rehabilitated in 2005, other aspects of the infrastructure, such as the need for a new signalling system and new rolling stock, still need to be resolved. In addition, he said they are in the process of reviewing their strategic plan to address these challenges.



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