Members of the Botswana Parliament have praised the cooperation between their country and Namibia, particularly in the realms of trade and commerce.
Chairperson of the Works, Transport, Technology and Information and Communications, Mpho Balopi, indicated during a meeting with Namport on Friday that the two countries are continually enhancing their collaboration through high-level engagements.
The delegation comprised six MPs from three committees, including the Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Development, as well as the Committee on Labour and Home Affairs, which is chaired by Balopi.
The visit to Namport was part of the group's oversight visit, allowing them to follow up and engage on various aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries relevant to their portfolio committees in the Botswana Parliament.
Balopi commended Namibia for providing Botswana with a dry port, stating that it plays a crucial role in the country's import and export sector.
He pointed out that the Trade Facilitation Agreement, to which Namibia and Botswana belong, calls for seamless cross-border trade. As a land-locked country, the dry port at Walvis Bay enables Botswana to have direct market access to the world.
However, Balopi highlighted the need for both countries to find solutions to the current transport challenges concerning the delivery line that connects them.
'We have engaged our transport ministry back home as well as their counterparts here to discuss the achievements, challenges, and opportunities of the Trans Kalahari. We want to ensure that the movement of goods and trade between the two countries is facilitated going forward,' Balopi explained.
According to Balopi, there is a necessity to revive the Trans-Kalahari railway line to alleviate the burden and congestion on the roads between the two countries.
Derick Mokgatle, Manager at the Botswana Dry Port, echoed Balopi’s sentiments, adding that there is currently an expression of interest (EOI) running from 06 September to 08 November 2023, for the revival of the 1500-kilometre railway line.
The EOI will be followed by a pre-qualification stage between December 2023 and February 2024, after which construction is expected to commence in 2025.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency