Botswana, Namibia to Sign $11 Billion Railway Deal on April 20

Botswana and Namibia will sign an agreement for a $11 billion transnational railway on April 20, clearing the way for tendering for the project, Botswana’s Transport and Communications Minister Nonofo Molefhi said.

“Bids for potential financing will be opened as soon as we have signed the agreement,” Molefhi said at a coal conference today in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. The agreement will cover all aspects including legal matters, he said.

Southern African countries are investing to expand their railways to meet growing global demand for coal, led by China. Known as the Trans-Kalahari Railway, the 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) line will run from landlocked Botswana’s coalfields in the south and east to the Namibian port of Walvis Bay in the west.

The project, to be financed by private business, will be implemented and overseen by a company jointly controlled by the two governments, Molefhi said. The governments will also be responsible for the acquisition of land for the railway.

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