from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls
VICTORIA FALLS, (CAJ News) – LANDLOCKED Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the establishment of a dry port in Namibia.
The establishment of the facility in Walvis Bay follows the two countries pursuing bi-lateral agreements that will culminate in Zimbabwe accessing the port for trade.
Namibia offered land measuring 18 333 square metres on a 50-year lease near the shores for establishment of a Zimbabwean dry port.
The port is aimed at providing a strategic and cheaper gateway to the Atlantic Ocean.
It is the shortest route to America from Zimbabwe and also seeks to promote international trade and intra-Africa trade.
This will help Zimbabwe to import or export directly to Europe, America and West Africa using ocean cargo services.
The initiative merges with the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC’s) region vision to remove trade barriers and promote intra-Africa trade, which is estimated to be a mere 3 percent.
The port is also is in line with the SADC Vision 2050, hinged on pillars of infrastructure development and with Africa Vision 2060 for the “Africa we Want.”
“This is an opportunity for Zimbabwean businesses to reach to the outside market. We now have to promote local industry and utilize the opportunity,” said Namibia Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Nicklaas Kandjii.
He led a multi-sectoral Namibian delegation including officials from Walvis Bay Corridor Group to Zimbabwe to promote the dry port and trade relations.
Kandjii said the port is congestion-free compared to other ports.
“This is the shortest route for trade and there are advantages because it is congestion free,” the envoy said.
Cedric Mwanota Limbo, Director for Namibia’s Ministry of Works and Transport, said Zimbabwe would benefit from Namibia’s quality infrastructure that was rated highest in Sub Sahara Africa by World Bank in 2018.
“By 2022, the port of Walvis Bay will have become the preferred African west coast port and logistics centre for southern Africa, supported by well-functioning, high quality transport infrastructure and services connected to major local, regional and international markets,” Limbo said.
The dry port will lead to development of border towns such as Victoria Falls and Katima Mulilo through one-stop-border shops.
Namibia and Zambia recently commissioned the Kazungula Bridge, which is viewed as vital to regional trade.
Mbahupu Hippy Tjivikua, the Walvis Bay Corridor chief executive, said the port will open up for trade opportunities for Zimbabwe.
“Firstly we have to form good partnerships and relations as this will see large volumes moved from Zimbabwe. This will definitely support intra Africa trade as whatever is produced here can make way into Africa,” he said.
SADC houses eight economic corridors.
The Trans-Kalahari and Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development corridors pass through Namibia.
Zimbabwe’s international trade has traditionally been through aviation or via third parties for access to Beira or Durban ports in Mozambique and South Africa respectively.
– CAJ News