01 Jul 2013 13:30
WALVIS BAY, 01 JUL (NAMPA) - The development of a viable energy, rail and road transport infrastructure between countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would foster a strong integrated regional market and facilitate cross-border trade.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab stated this during the opening of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Southern Caucus workshop on infrastructure development and promoting regional trade here on Monday.
The week-long workshop is set to discuss the need for the development of a viable infrastructure network to enhance regional and international trade within countries belonging to the PAP?s Southern Caucus.
It also aims to underscore the role Namibia has played in developing itself as an alternative trade route for the southern African region.
The countries represented in the workshop include Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Angola, Malawi and South Africa.
Gurirab indicated that the ability of a country, particularly isolated and landlocked countries, to participate in trade and commerce, depends largely on the availability and quality of transport and communication infrastructure which would enable them to access the global trading system.
He noted that the role of transport in economic development is not frequently discussed when the development of domestic trade and foreign investment is considered.
?It is without a doubt that modern reliable infrastructure is critical for high and sustained economic growth of any country. The lack of a reliable infrastructure affects all components of the economic value chain making delivery slower, less reliable and more expensive,? he said.
Gurirab went on to say proper and adequate infrastructure such as airports and harbours, highways and railways are essential for the reduction of trade costs.
?To that end, our focus as parliamentarians is to develop proper and workable legal and policy mechanisms to create an enabling environment for infrastructure development within the region, as well as make sure that these requirements are put in place and maintained properly,? he added.
He further stated that the developing of a viable infrastructure network will enhance internal connectivity within domestic economies, as well as achieve increased regional inter-connectivity.