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You are here: Home/News/Article/US Backs Trans-Kalahari Corridor Plan

US Backs Trans-Kalahari Corridor Plan

Published date:
Friday, 31 October 2003

The US government announced yesterday that it supported the planned signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC).

The deal will be signed on on November 3, 2003, at Namport in Walvis Bay, by Transportation Ministers from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

A similar event took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on October 8, 2003, with the signing of the Dar es Salaam Corridor constitution.

Both these agreements were developed with the support of the US Agency for International Development's Regional Centre for Southern Africa (RCSA).

In the case of the TKC, the signing of the agreement by Minister of Works, Transport and Communication in Namibia, Moses Amweelo; Minister of Works and Transport in Botswana, Tebelelo Seretse; and South African Minister of Transport Abdullah Omar, is to acknowledge the commitment of the three countries to remove the impediments to the efficient flow of commercial traffic along the corridor.

US Ambassador Kevin J McGuire of Namibia, and US Ambassador and US Secretary of State's special representative to SADC Joseph Huggins of Botswana will witness the event, while McGuire will be the keynote speaker at the event.

TKC will provide an alternative for some Southern African shippers who may find the TKC shortens shipping times to markets in the US and Europe by 5 -10 days.

A recent assessment by the RCSA Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub revealed that exporters of textiles and garments from Lesotho and Swaziland to the US, under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), could save up to 10 days shipping time by using TKC and Walvis Bay.

Furthermore, the distance between Gauteng, the industrial heartland of South Africa, and Walvis Bay, Namibia, along the TKC is 500 km shorter than the alternative southern road and rail route that is currently most often used.

The TKC stakeholders have already agreed upon a single customs administrative document, which is currently in use on a pilot basis.

This new simplified approach provides a stream-lined and effective tool for managing customs transit transactions throughout all the countries and will replace the cumbersome set of procedures involving up to ten national documents in each country transited.

This new approach will greatly reduce costs for the private sector utilising the corridor - the reduced transit time at each border post is estimated at not more than ten minutes per truck.

The signing of the MOU is a major contribution to the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), since this Africa-wide and internationally supported initiative sees the TKC and Dar corridor initiatives as models to emulate along other commercial corridors in Africa.

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