President Hage Geingob says the government is expected to upgrade 1 480 kilometres of the country’s road network to improve access and mobility for Namibians across the country.
“Infrastructure development is a catalyst for economic growth, social progression and contributes significantly to global competitiveness and investment attraction,” Geingob said during the State of the Nation address on Thursday.
Namibian roads are regarded as one of the best on the continent.
Geingob added that the Harambee Prosperity Plan II (HPP II) launched recently aims to deliver a large-scale infrastructure programme that will also catalyse employment opportunities.
He said among the roads prioritised is the completion of the Windhoek-Okahandja dual carriageway, upgrading of the Swakopmund-Henties Bay-Kamanjab gravel road and the improvement of the Swakopmund-Walvis Bay road to the dual carriageway.
Others include the upgrading of the Windhoek-Hosea Kutako International Airport road to a dual carriageway and completion of the Gobabis-Aranos road upgrade to bitumen standard.
Additionally, the President said government is also upgrading the railway network to double the volume of cargo transported between Walvis Bay-Kranzberg-Tsumeb-Oshikango, and Kranzberg -Windhoek.
“Government is rehabilitating the track between Tsumeb-Kranzberg-Walvis Bay. This refurbished and upgraded railway track will contribute to the efficient operation of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor network,” Geingob said.
Furthermore, the head of state said the refurbishment of airports will continue in order to strengthen the country’s position as an aviation and logistics hub.
Geingob said to improve the readiness of schools to resume face-to-face teaching, an additional targeted budget of N$800 million was allocated to the education ministry during the last financial year, which has benefitted 774 schools with ablution facilities and 193 schools with water provision countrywide.
He said the country remains an attractive destination for investments in oil and gas, as evidenced by the current drilling campaign by Reconnaissance Energy Africa in the Kavango East and West regions.
Last week, Reconnaissance Energy Africa and the energy ministry jointly announced it has found oil and gas indicators over the first three wells of its drilling programme in Kavango.
Going forward, Geingob said under HPP II, the envisioned infrastructure projects will be primarily unlocked through the optimal use of the public-private partnership (PPP) framework and the deployment of catalytic funding through blended financing instruments.
To make this possible, he said, government will champion the use of project bonds, sustainability bonds and other project financing tools.
Geingob said new projects during the term will include the construction of the Erongo desalination plant, which will enable increased output from the mining sector and contribute to water supply security.
He further said the efficient construction and configuration of a portfolio of national green schemes will be prioritised to ensure improved productivity and yield, including the Neckartal Green Scheme which is strategically situated next to the Neckartal Dam.
Also, he said, the Walvis Bay container terminal was completed under HPP I and is now the subject of much interest from global and local investors, who would like to partner with the government through its PPP framework to unlock its full potential.
“When combined with the Economic Free Zone and National Single Window Facility, this infrastructure will help to strategically position Namibia as a regional logistics hub,” Geingob said.