The completion of the Sesheke-Mulobezi-Kaoma-Copperbelt road, a joint project between Namibia and Zambia, is expected to pump N$7.8b revenue into the local economy on an annual basis.
Walvisbay Corridor Group (WBCG) Chief Executive Officer, Johny Smith, told The Villager that the Sesheke-Mulobezi-Kaoma-Copperbelt route will be lucrative for Namibia, as it’s expected to contribute to the local economy by making up 15% of the total projected revenue on top of its existing growth.
For the financial year 2014/15, the government planned to collect N$52.5b in revenue, 15% of which (N$7.8billion) is expected to be contributed by the Copperbelt road.
Meanwhile, government has not yet released the latest figures on the total revenue collected in the last financial year as the budget is yet to be announced. In the 2013/14 Financial Year, however, government collected a total of N$43.8b.
The Sesheke-Mulobezi-Kaoma-Copperbelt will be an export route from Walvis Bay to the Copperbelt, Zambia’s copper mining hub that will be made shorter by 800km.
Once the construction of the Sesheke-Mulobezi-Kaoma-Copperbelt road is completed, it will reduce the distance of the road from 1200km to 800km between Sesheke and the Copperbelt in Zambia, which forms part of the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC) linking Walvis Bay to Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The route thus borders Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga Province and makes the link between the three countries simpler and shorter.
“By virtue of growing Walvis Bay and Namibia as an alternative trade route over the past 10 years confidence has grown amongst importers and exporters in Zambia that Namibia could add more trade benefits through better infrastructure development in Zambia. We have therefore become a trusted trade partner in corridor development for Zambia,” said Smith.
Smith noted that this route will create more trade opportunities between Namibia and the Copperbelt region of Zambia and by being a shorter route; it will enhance more imports and exports with the Zambia market via Namibia.
The Zambian government is also focused on improving its transport links, with five main rail line corridors under development that include the construction of a link between Livingstone and Katima-Mulilo that, in turn, connects to Walvis Bay.
Meanwhile, Namport is also planning to build an entirely new cargo-handling complex to the north of the existing port and located between the existing facilities and the town of Swakopmund. Dubbed ‘the Southern African Gateway Port (SAGP)’, it will eventually comprise 10km of berthing line and have the capacity to process up to 100 million tonnes of bulk cargo a year.
Benefits of the WBNLDC
This significant infrastructural development will lead to even shorter transit times, which will result in the reduction of costs and eventually an increase in trade. Such a line is also expected to reduce the cost of moving goods to/from the southern and western regions of Zambia.
The WBNLDC will offer vast opportunities for importers and exporters as it already provides a reliable and shorter transit route between the inland and the overseas market and has become a viable alternative transport route to other traditional routes in the region.
The new routing will significantly reduce transport costs for cargo moving to/from Walvis Bay and ultimately raise the Namibian port’s overall competitiveness in this transit corridor and could lead to more importers/exporters selecting this routing option rather than traditional connections via South Africa.
by Charmaine Ngatjiheue: The Villager