Magazine article African Business

Railway to New Opportunity

Magazine article African Business

Railway to New Opportunity

Article excerpt

The copper town of Tsumeb, 426km north of Windhoek, is beginning to look busy. Swathes of dust tell engineers that bush clearing for a new railway line is underway. The clouds of dust have taken over from clouds of cement that accompanied the building of a new factory which will make concrete sleepers for the railway line.

The new line will go from Tsumeb to the far northern town of Oshikango (on the edge of the Namibian/Angolan border).

Currently, any railway to the northern part of the country that there is, finishes in Tsumeb, not starts. The neighbouring Angolan government has also decided to extend its railway network into areas close to the Namibian border. The two governments plan that they should link-up, forming a development chain to promote regional economic growth.

Speaking at the opening of the sleeper factory, Namibia's President Sam Nujoma said, "This development strengthens our links in the chain to advance economic growth, alleviate poverty and promote the creation of employment opportunities in southern Angola and north-central Namibia."

The factory itself is a joint-venture called NamGrin (between the Namibian government and a construction company Grinaker Namibia).

The line will go from Tsumeb, call on the town of Ondangwa and then go on to the capital of the north, Oshakati. Nujoma believes this project will promote a more equitable distribution of resources and the development an infrastructure which ultimately will empower thousands of Namibians, allowing them to transport goods and raw materials over the new network.

The President revealed that the southern Karas region would also benefit from rail expansion. Plans are already on the drawing board to upgrade of the AusLuderitz railway in the south of the country, joining it to the rest of the Nambian rail network.

"The entire country will be linked by rail from north to south. …

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