- Botswana, Zim, Mozambique project vital to AfCFTA
- Tripartite feasibility study to start soon
Botswana’s potential for exporting of coal, minerals and other commodities through the Techobanine port in Mozambique by received a boost following recent renewal of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Mozambique and Zimbabwe for construction of a railway line to the port.
The three countries have pledged $3 million for feasibility studies to determine the viability of the project that aims to improve regional trade, among other things. The 1700km railway line will run from the port of Mozambique through Zimbabwe into Botswana.
In an interview with The Botswana Gazette, the Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulaganyo Segokgo, said each of the three countries will contribute $1 million towards the feasibility study for the work to start this year. “The feasibility study will determine the scope of works for us,” Minister Segokgo said. “We will determine the contributions of member states at that point.”
The government wants to use the Mozambican deep seaport for bulky consignments such as coal and fuel for strategic storage because Durban port in South Africa, which is the main channel for goods into the continent for Botswana and countries further up, is often congested. “This port will be able to handle much bigger vessels for bulky commodities like coal,” the minister said.
The signing of the renewed MoU followed meetings of a technical committee meeting and a ministerial committee around revival of the project.
Meanwhile, Mozambique is upgrading the Techobanine port in a $7 billion project with a view to accommodating bigger vessels and handling volumes of up to 100 million tonnes. Segokgo said Botswana is watching the project keenly to see if it may own a piece of it.
According to media reports, Mozambique is hoping to benefit from Botswana’s experience in wildlife conservation and the tourism sector with 500 elephants are to be translocated to the country on southeast coast of Africa.
Segokgo emphasized the benefits Botswana stands to gain from Techobanine port and its rail link. “It is very vital for regional trade and growth of Botswana’s imports and exports, especially as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is operationalised,” said Minister Segokgo.
Durban Port was closed due to heavy rains in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province in which more than 400 died last week, forcing logistics to be transferred to Walvis Bay in Namibia.