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Panelists unpack Trans-Kalahari Corridor economic opportunities

Panelists unpack Trans-Kalahari Corridor economic opportunities

Dated : 09.05.2017

The Trans-Kalahari Corridor is not just a tarred road that connects Botswana to Namibia but a gold mine of economic opportunities waiting to be exploited. This was the common view of speakers who took part in a public lecture at the University of Botswana Conference Centre organised in collaboration with Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) Secretariat on April 25, 2017. 

Presenters from the TKC Secretariat, NAMPORT, Walvis Bay Port, and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) spoke to the theme Trans-Kalahari Corridor: Unlocking Trade Opportunities between Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
TKC Executive Director, Mr Leslie Mpofu, said communities along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor have ample economic opportunities that they could take advantage of in the small and medium businesses sector such as lodges, ablution facilities and fuelling points for truck drivers.
In addition, they could open restaurants besides providing entertainment services, security for cargo, parking as well as maintenance garages. Mr Mpofu said the envisaged businesses were an opportunity for steady income that could in turn improve the effectiveness and reliability of the corridor.
“We are also establishing mobile wellness centres which will not only benefit truck drivers but communities along the corridor who cannot easily access clinics and hospitals. As member states of the TKC, we are also in the process of establishing a strategic alliance to assist in disaster management in terms rehabilitating the environment in the event of spillages of dangerous goods such as fuel,” said Mr Mpofu.
He also added that truck stops along the corridor were not only meant to benefit truck drivers, but the intention was also to try and transform them into economic zones. Regional Corridor Strategy Director from the Department of Transport in South Africa, Mr Segodi Mogotsi, also shared the similar sentiments, and encouraged communities to utilise government funding streams to unlock opportunities along the route.
As part of his keynote address BURS Customs General Manager, Mr Buhalo Mudongo, said that BURS was introducing a new custom management system to facilitate smooth trade between Botswana and other countries. The system was aimed at facilitating the collection and accounting of tax. Mr Mudongo said the new development also included a National Single Window to enhance efficiency of customs, improved security and shorten time for goods clearance.
He also said they were introducing a cannon unit with the objective of enhancing security at points of entry to control inward and outward of goods. Furthermore, Mr Mudongo said negotiations were ongoing between Botswana and Namibia to establish a one-stop boarder post as well as IT connectivity. The IT connectivity will help in the exchange of data between Botswana and Namibia with a view of minimising risks and ensuring data accuracy with the principle of, “Your Export is Mine”, said Mr Mudongo.
Marketing and Business Development Specialist from the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat, Mr Zunaid Pochee, also encouraged Batswana to make use of opportunities along the corridor. He thanked the panellists, the UB community, as well as the public for making the public lecture a success.
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