As we continue to pursue economic solutions that will make poverty eradication a reality, //Kharas Region is exploring solutions that the ocean can provide to us.
Lüderitz has seen minimal development as a maritime hub compared to other ports along the coastline. This does not mean that no development has taken place but perhaps that investment in Lüderitz could have been more focused. In looking at developmental opportunities in Lüderitz and the //Kharas Region, one cannot ignore the prime resource that the town has been endowed with, the ocean.
Therefore, we continually seek ways of sustenance from the ocean through various economic activities. One of the welcomed developments is the development of the Angra deep port by Namport.
Transportation is a great role player on national integration to the world’s economic market. Ports constitute an important contribution to economic activity in coastal areas. The higher the throughput of goods and passengers’ year-on-year, the more infrastructure, provisions and associated services are required.
These will bring varying degrees of benefits to the economy and to the country. Ports are also important for the support of economic activities in the hinterland since they act as a crucial connection between sea and land transport. Ports do not only serve an economic but also a social function. In terms of load carried, seaway transportation is the cheapest and most effective transportation system compared to other systems. Industries require a safe and cheap means of exporting finished goods and importing raw materials. Hence the majority of industries in the world are located in the coastal belts, in the vicinity of major ports. These industries in turn, influence the lives of the employees and indirect benefactors.
Seaports have been centers of commerce for centuries, and they remain crucial to the economy today. Every year, billions of dollars’ worth of products are moved through ports, creating substantial business activity through their operations, but those benefits are dwarfed by the huge importance of water transportation to other industries.
In addition to overall growth in trade, other forces are at work to increase the role of ports in the economy, particularly in Lüderitz. One factor is the development of the export market for manganese. Many Namibian firms need shipping to obtain goods for their production processes, and consumers’ benefit from the delivery of various products from countries around the world e.g. Brazilian beef and poultry products.
The time has come to develop the Lüderitz economy by exploiting the ocean in a much smarter way. The development of the Angra deep port is a giant step in stimulating the local economy of Lüderitz and the region at large. Not only will it result in more revenue for Namport, but new downstream industries will be developed in the process. The development of a deep port will open up Lüderitz to new and improved developmental opportunities. Take for example cruise ships. The cruise ship tourism industry is one of the booming industries in the world. Cities such as Venice, Mykonos and Bari have been revitalized by the cruise ship tourism. Cruise ship passengers come in masses for a short period of time resulting in quick sales of services and products in the host city. Lüderitz has many historical and archeological places of interest that would be a drawcard to tourists. The Angra deep port through enabling the docking of cruise ships would undoubtedly revive the tourism industry and spark some much needed employment creation. The ability of large ships utilizing the Angra deep port would result in more opportunities for employment for the local, coupled with that would be the opening of the whole //Kharas Region to service the demand this new economic activity will bring.
The development of the Port must also be viewed from the national perspective where Namibia has identified logistics as a key national development enabler. In this sense, developing a deep port provides a viable transportation option for goods that are destined for Sadc countries. The Angra deep port development project is indeed a positive national project that must be implemented with vigour and supported by all of us that share in the vision of poverty eradication.
Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is a holder of Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Chairperson of the //Kharas Regional Council and !Nami#nüs Constituency Councillor.This article is written in his personal capacity.