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Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC)
Botswana Roads - Basic Facts
Geographical Data

Botswana is a landlocked country which is located in the southern part of Africa. It is bordered in the south by South Africa, in the west by Namibia, in the north by Zambia and in the north east by Zimbabwe and in the east by South Africa. This puts Botswana in the centre of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region. As a result of this geographical location, its road infrastructure is put under strenuous condition having to act as the central nerve of transit traffic between her neighbours. Since independence there has been a deliberate policy by the government through Roads Department under the Ministry of Works and Transport to provide road network to link all population centres, cities, towns and neighbouring countries.

The Road Network

At present (2011) Roads Department’s road net asset value is P 15 billion dwarfing other modes of transport such as air and rail in the country.

The engineered paved road network has almost entirely been constructed since independence in 1966. The Public Highway Network, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Roads Department, consists of 6116 km of paved and 2 800 km of unpaved road. This is complemented by a further 9000 km of District roads which fall under the responsibility of the District Councils.

The Road Traffic

Road transport is the major mode of surface travel in Botswana, covering about 93% of the total volume of passenger transport. The railway, a single line, which runs from South to North on the eastern side of the country, together with air transport, are responsible for about 7% of passenger transportation.

The Department has established a number of permanent traffic census stations across the country and closely monitors the growth rate in terms of vehicle characteristic and axle load. The overall traffic growth rate is in the order of 10% per annum. It is difficult to predict the future growth rate with any degree of accuracy due to a wide range economic activities and continuous development of the infrastructure. However, it is expected to grow to 6 - 7% in the coming years.

The most rapid growth of traffic has been in the eastern part of the country where the road net work has improved faster.

Speed Limit

The general speed limit is 120km per hour which drops to 80km/hour and 60km/hour within semi urban and urban or built up areas, respectively. The country is still using the Botswana Traffic Act progressing on harmonizing with the SADC requirements.

Axle Loads

Botswana have a National Legislation regarding overloading of vehicles. Due to the generally light pavement construction consisting of natural gravel base courses covered with a bituminous surface treatment, Botswana is concerned over the potentially deleterious effects overloaded vehicles can have on the overall condition of the network. In order to enforce axle weight limits, permanent weigh bridges have been set up on all the major border crossings.

Portable, weigh in motion equipments are also being used by the department to control the overloading within the country.

Traffic Safety

Road traffic accidents in Botswana are increasing at an alarming rate and such accident cost is estimated equivalent to 1 to 2% of the GNP. Gaborone accounts for about 50% of accidents and they mostly occur at night on unlit sections of the network.

National Road Investment

During the years 1966 to 1986 more than P260 million has been invested in new road infrastructure. During the National Development Plan 7, for the period from 1991 to 1997 P870 746 559.00 was spent for the development of the net work. During the National Development Plan 8, for the period from 1997 to 2003 P2 661 274 384.00 was spent. For NDP 9 for the period from 2003 to 2009 the estimated amount was P 2 467 660 000.00.

Foreign Funding

A number of foreign funding agencies have been involved in road projects, studies and technical assistance. Contributions have been received from

AA, ADB, ADF, BADEA, CIDA, DANIDA, EEC, EDF, IBRD, IDA, Kwf, Kuwait, NORAD, ODA, OPEC, UNCDF and USAID and some of the projects that are externally funded are still ongoing.

Symbolism of the Department's Logo

The country map reflects the colours of the national flag- blue, black and white with the latter two-colour setting of the pre-dominant mode of transport - The Road.

Unity of effort and purpose, which is symbolized by all an embracing, circle which links the Roads Department to its parent Ministry - The Ministry of Works and Transport.

The pre-dominant material which covers most of the country-Kalahari sand-which is symbolized by black dots against reddish brown background and which provides the background setting to the country map.

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