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BOTSWANA’s Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila departed for Zimbabwe on Tuesday for a two-day official trip to meet with his counterparts in the neighboring country, said a statement on Tuesday.

According to the statement from the ministry, while in Zimbabwe, the minister is scheduled to discuss certain bilateral issues in relation to his portfolio.

Mokaila will discuss among others the necessary measures required to make exportation of coal feasible on the existing railway infrastructure connecting Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Mokaila is accompanied by Minister of Transport and Communications Tshenolo Mabeo and other government officials for the Zimbabwe trip. They are scheduled to return back to Botswana on Thursday.

Botswana Xhinuahas in recent years been exploring alternative routes to export its abundant coal. In 2011, Mozambique and Botswana signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a 1,100 km railway through Zimbabwe to carry coal from Botswana to a deepwater port at Techobanine Point in Mozambique.

The new railway was deemed necessary as existing railways linking Botswana to the coast did not have the capacity to handle the likely future flow of coal from Botswana. The deal would however fall through in 2012 as Mozambique withdrew its offer for a port to Botswana and Zimbabwe.

In 2013, Mokaila led a delegation to Mozambique and the Mozambican media reported then that Botswana was seeking to export its coal through Mozambican ports.

Botswana is also currently in plans to build another rail line to connect with Namibian ports primarily carrying coal as well.

Botswana, being landlocked at the heart of Southern Africa often finds it expensive to ferry its exports through the sea and often uses ports in neighboring countries.


Source : New Zimbabwe