02 Jul 2013 07:40
WALVIS BAY, 02 JUL (NAMPA) ? The Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab says Namibia cannot fully exploit the benefits associated with increased intra-regional trade, before the country addresses the existing barriers in the movement of goods and people within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Gurirab made this statement during the opening of a week-long Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Southern Caucus workshop on infrastructure development and promoting regional trade here on Monday.
He explained that Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources, and this offers a competitive advantage which the region can use to reach its goals of socio-economic development and job creation.
?We must also develop resources in order to fully create an interconnection of electric power networks within the region,? Gurirab added.
He pointed out that the execution of this process will face lots of challenges, ranging from skills shortage, a lack of resources, lack of institutional capacity and the absence of policy and/or legal instruments to handle and facilitate it.
Gurirab said Namibia must come up with innovative strategies and mechanisms to engage the private sector in order to increase connectivity between the existing infrastructures within the SADC region.
?There is also a strong need to enhance awareness among policymakers of the role of infrastructure in reducing trade costs and how best we, as developing countries, can develop infrastructure systems to support our economic development by considering national characteristics, both from the aspects of trade patterns and infrastructure conditions,? he stressed.
He called for constant follow-ups and monitoring to improve and address transport infrastructure effectiveness and efficiency problems.
?We should also invest in capacity development programmes, research and technology in order to fully realise this potential,? he said.
The workshop will be focusing on 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 at the workshop include Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Angola, Malawi and South Africa.