No new SADC projects from Namibia this year

GABORONE: Although Namibia did not hand in new projects to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region this year, the current projects in the country are doing tremendous well.

In an interview with Nampa on Monday, Minister of Works and Transport Alppheus !Naruseb said the current SADC projects in Namibia are significantly benefiting the people in the region.

Naruseb who is part of the Namibian delegation attending the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit underway in Gaborone, Botswana singled out the Transkalahari and TransCaprivi corridors, which he said the volume growth along these Corridors has increased significantly and boosted the trade among the neighboring nations, especially the land-locked countries.

According to a report by Walvis Bay Corridor, volumes along the TransKalahari Corridor for the Botswana market have hit a record high of more than 2000 tonnes, which has shown a significant growth month on month, with much more consumables and especially a steep increase in motor vehicles being transported via the Port of Walvis Bay.

The Trans-Kalahari Corridor was jointly built by the Namibian and Botswana Governments in the 1990s with an initial investment of approximately N.dollars 850 million.

This Corridor comprises a tarred road linking the Port of Walvis Bay with Botswana and the industrial powerhouse of South Africa, Gauteng.

While the Trans-Caprivi Corridor is another major trade corridor, linking the Namibian harbor town with Zambia, the DRC and Zimbabwe and sees 140 per cent increase in cargo in recent years.

!Naruseb said if the highly ambitious N.dollars 30-billion SADC Gateway Port in Walvis Bay could become a reality with the construction of the first phase expected to take off the ground soon, Namibia will become a regional hub.

The SADC Gateway Port will be developed in at least five phases while construction will gradually take place as demand for services arises.

He said the government has also allocated N.dollars 4 billion aimed to rehabilitate the railway network in the country.

Last year, Namibia and Botswana signed a bilateral agreement on the Trans-Kalahari Corridor in Walvis Bay.

The agreement includes adding a railway line, coal terminal and associated loading facilities to the Namibia-Botswana corridor which will benefit other landlocked Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries like Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe through alternate transportation routes.

The 1 500km railway line will traverse the vast semi-arid, sandy savannah of the Kalahari desert from Botswana to Namibia, with the sole benefit of connecting the landlocked Botswana to Namibia’s port of Walvis Bay, thus unlocking the value of coal mining in Botswana and power generation in the region.

!Naruseb also indicated that Namibia has availed land along Walvis Bay port to land-locked countries such as Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe to construct their own dry ports which intend to boost trade between the those countries.

These dry ports are yet to be developed.