29 Mar 2015 16:10pm
CALAI, 29 MAR (NAMPA)- The Namibian and Angolan government on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of three international bridges across the Okavango River that borders the two countries.
The Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and Angolas Minister for External Affairs, Jorges Chicoti, signed the agreement on behalf of the two governments at Calai, a small Angolan town.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Nandi-Ndaitwah said that the construction of the three bridges is important, as it will the facilitate socio-economic development of the two countries.
The three bridges will be constructed at Nkurenkuru town in Namibias Kavango West Region, between Rundu and Calai that already has a temporary floating bridge, as well as in the Gciriku area of the Kavango East Region.
Nandi-Ndaitwah noted that once constructed, the bridges will not only increase trade and communication between the two countries but will also have a positive impact on members of the Southern African Development (SADC), as a whole, stressing that the absence of the bridges have made it difficult for people to meet each other and conduct business.
The bridges will enable easy access on the movement of people and goods and I hope that implementation will be done speedily, said the Deputy Premier.
She thus appealed to the two countries ministries responsible for international affairs not to let the agreement collect dust in the offices but to implement the agreement with speed and efficiency.
The Deputy Premier then thanked Governor of the Cuando-Cubango Province Eugenio Lopez Canelo and the Kavango East Region Governor Dr. Samuel Mbambo who were also in attendance for their efforts in ensuring that the agreement in the construction of the three bridges gets realised.
In his short remarks, Chicoti echoed the same sentiments, saying that the bridges will boost the two countries economies through increased business activities.
He also appealed to the two governors to speed up the construction of the bridges.
The two countries have not yet agreed on the commencement of the construction, the costs of the bridges or who will foot the bill.
Meanwhile, the official inauguration of the controversial floating bridge between Namibias Rundu and Angolas Calai , which was scheduled for the 24 March 2015, was cancelled at the last minute.
The Angolan government started constructing the floating bridge last year June for an undisclosed amount following a bilateral agreement between the two countries.
Bonny Kahare, the Chief Control Officer in the Office of the Kavango East Regional Governor told this agency that the official inauguration of the bridge was cancelled because the Angolan government had failed to produce an Engineering Clearance Certificate indicating that the bridge meets international safety standards.
Kahare noted that Namibian engineers have also not yet inspected the bridge to give their green light for it to be utilised.
The cancellation of the bridges inauguration came as a slap in the face of the Angolan government, as all their delegates reportedly arrived at Calai to witness the event.
With the floating bridge not approved of engineering and safety standards, and not yet inaugurated, those commuting between Namibia and Angola over the Okavango River are using the temporary border at Rundu Beach entertainment area.