Clive Smith In today’s fast-paced global economy, African countries find it increasingly difficult to maintain and improve economic growth. A third of African countries are landlocked, making them reliant on maritime countries for their international trade. Burdened with the added challenge of higher transportation costs and cumbersome border crossing delays, this leads to a higher cost of doing business for them. Efficient road transport and improved customs procedures between landlocked and developing countries can transform their trade potential and overall sustainable development. Logistics affects the rate of inflation, interest rates, productivity, energy costs and other aspects of the economy. Products travel huge distances in Africa and cross multiple borders to reach their end markets. It is thus crucial for us to employ proper logistics management, which includes the planning, implementation and effective forward and reverse flow of goods from origin to recipient, if we are to positively influence economic growth. In the Namibian context, recent studies indicate that our small population and domestic market, weak employment generation, as well as the depended economic relationship with South Africa hamper our economic development. In order to achieve our Industrialization goals, as captured in our Vision 2030, the Government of Namibia continues to roll out National Programs. One such program is the Namibia Logistics Hub Project. It is an ambitious initiative to exploit the countries latent advantage, its strategic location, to transform Namibia into the preferred logistics and distribution centre for landlocked SADC. Through our world-class commercial port at Walvis Bay, international shipping connection and the added advantage of being a gateway to the west coast of Africa, Namibia plays an increasingly important role in trade, linking the global economic centres with close to 300 million consumers in southern Africa. Supporting the flow of goods is the Walvis Bay Corridors, which is a network of rail and road linking the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz with four main routes to Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Development of the Walvis Bay Corridors started some 17 years back. With effective promotion of the country’s transport network through the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, Namibia is today recognized for its increasing role as a transport hub. In order to prepare for the further development of Namibia as a Logistics Hub, the Government commissioned the conception of a Master Plan for developing an International Logistics Hub for SADC countries in the Republic of Namibia. The Namibia Logistics Master Plan was completed in 2015. It established a development framework to transform Namibia into one of the regional logistics Centres servicing SADC. It further proposed a list of strategic and priority projects with a timeline supported by a detailed intervention process. Critical components to ensure the realisation of the Logistics Master Plan include logistics hub centre development, upgrading of road and rail infrastructure, a truck stop development programme, a market promotion programme, as well as an integrated border management programme for our major border towns. The list of proposed programmes and actions involve many stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, with different interest and priorities. It is important that these programmes be implemented in an integrated manner in order to realise the synergy of all the actions. As a national programme the Logistics Master Plan is coordinated by a Steering Committee, chaired by the National Planning Commission. The Walvis Bay Corridor Group has been identified as the most suitable institution with the most relevant experience to ensure the smooth implementation of the plan. A Logistics Hub unit was established in September 2013 at the WBCG offices in Windhoek and has been working on putting into action the plan’s recommendations. * Clive Smith is the project manager of the Namibia Logistics Hub Project at the Walvis bay Corridor Group.
New Era Reporter
2017-08-16 11:04:07 2 years ago