Namibia’s ‘best in Africa’ road network worth R140 billion

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Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - Namibia’s road network, ranked as the best in Africa, is estimated to be worth R140 billion but that figure could rise significantly in the coming years, as the country continues to embark on major road projects.

Last year, the World Economic Forum’s Road Quality Index for Africa ranked Namibia’s road network as the best in Africa.

This did not come as a surprise, as the Namibian government through its parastatal Roads Authority (RA), has committed to regularly maintain and expand the country’s 44,000 kilometres road network.

“(The replacement value of the entire Namibian road network (including structures/bridges) came to around R140 billion,” RA’s corporate communications manager, Hileni Fillemon, told The Southern Times, earlier February.

To show the commitment of the RA to Namibian roads, in 2008, the organisation formulated a five-year Bridge Management System plan worth R20.4 million annually, to repair 200 bridges.    

This investment paid off, as 10 years later (in 2018) Namibia scored an impressive 5.2 out of 7 to be ranked the best in Africa just ahead of South Africa and Rwanda with a ranking score of 5.0. This also means that the country is way ahead of Ecuador, Bahrain, Qatar and Great Britain which all scored 5.1.

In order to maintain the ranking as well as its commitment to provide world-class roads to its citizens and tourists, the RA will be starting the construction of some major capital projects in the next financial year (2019/20).

These are the Windhoek to Hosea Kutako International Airport phase 2a and 2b, Grunau to Mariental (Section A between Tses and Gibeon), Windhoek to Okahandja phase 4b as well as Swakopmund-Walvis Bay Phase 2.

This is being done despite the organisation working under a tight budget due to the national budget cuts and tough economic conditions grasping the Namibian economy for almost four years now.

Since the establishment of Namibia’s Roads Authority in April 2000, the organisation has continued to play a vital role in the socio-economic development of Namibia, and in particular the advancement of previously neglected areas in the country.

The expansion of the road network has already started to bear fruits as many of the communities in Namibia have access to the main centres of the country.

The establishment of Roads Authority has also elevated Namibia’s position as a significant player in contributing towards the economic growth of other Southern African Development Community countries (SADC).

As a result, Namibia is the only country in SADC that has a well-developed and functioning corridor such as the Trans-Caprivi Corridor that links Namibia with Zambia, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo, the Trans-Kalahari Highway that links Botswana and South Africa’s industrial hub (Gauteng) to Namibia and the Trans-Kunene Corridor that links Namibia with Angola and the DRC via the port of Walvis Bay.

All these corridors continue to play a pivotal role in the economic development of SADC.

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