Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee reports on progress amid COVID-19
Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC), one of the corridor management institutes has taken the lead to embrace change and ensure smooth transit of goods and persons along the route amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speakers during a two-day TKC stakeholder consultative meeting that concluded last week mentioned the good progress that has been made by TKC despite the pandemic.
Giving his remarks during the meeting, the Executive Director of Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat Leslie Mpofu stated that the TKC has achieved a lot in trade facilitation even though initially certain challenges were experienced such as meetings being unable to materialise due to technology glitches, new regulations or COVID 19 protocols by the different countries that were not in harmony, quarantining of drivers and high costs of COVID 19 tests among others.
Despite these challenges, Mpofu mentioned that with combined efforts by stakeholders, a lot of accomplishments were achieved. One of the key successes being the piloting of the Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) on TKC.
CTMS is a system of monitoring the movement of truck drivers to ensure drivers follow their route and thus avoid the spread of COVID 19. The driver is given a cell phone that can be monitored throughout his journey. This system is expected to be a game-changer in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Another initiative in conjunction with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group on the Namibian side of the Trans Kalahari Corridor is free testing and vaccination of drivers. Mobile Clinics are strategically placed along the route to assist drivers with COVID 19 rapid testing, COVID 19 vaccination or any other health needs the driver may have. This he said was necessary as drivers are always on the road and may not find time to go for these important consultations.
Reduction of time and the expenses at border gates, increased participants in visual stakeholder engagements and harmonisation of some documents and policies are some of the positives.
The current chairperson of The Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC), Segodi Mogotsi who was also facilitating the first day of the meeting emphasised the importance of cutting down the time spent on the road.
He was concerned that it took longer for the movement of goods within the continent to reach their destination compared to goods that were coming into the continent from overseas. He said it was important to improve the efficiency of the corridor, and further acknowledged the progress that the region is making in terms of road structures and technology systems.
For his part, the Co-Chair of TKCMC from Namibia Dr Cedric Mwanota Limbo said that despite the challenges TKCS now has its own office in Windhoek which will be commissioned soon. He said the TKC is an economic Corridor and as an economic corridor, it should enhance its competitive advantage by reducing the costs of doing business and transit time.
He stated that TKCS was on the right path and urged stakeholders to support initiatives in the secretariat.
The two-day stakeholder meeting was organised by the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat at the request from the Ministry of Works and Transport (Namibia) with the intention to meet stakeholders in South Africa to discuss collaborations, challenges experienced on the corridor, possible solutions in order to make the TKC a quick and cost-effective corridor.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor is a road network approximately 1900 kilometres across Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, it starts from the Gauteng Province through Rustenburg and Zeerust in South Africa, Lobatse, Kanye, Kang, Mamuno in Botswana, Past Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja through to Walvis Bay in Namibia.
The TKC Secretariat is a tripartite transboundary corridor management institution based in Windhoek. It was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC, SACU and NEPAD.