Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Major Trade Route Now Reaches Katanga

A new regional trade route reaching from the Katanga Province in the Congo all the way to Walvis Bay as point of entry, is on the radar of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group following an agreement between Namibia and the DRC.

Development of this major link started its first tentative steps recently when the Corridor Group opened an office in Lubumbashi, on the border of the DRC and Zambia.

The Corridor Group said earlier this week it had launched an office in Lubumbashi, DRC, to create a strong business presence in the mineral-rich Katanga Province.

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group Lubumbashi office was officially launched by the Governor of the Katanga Province, Hon. Moïse Katumbi Chapwe. At the launch, he was supported by the Namibian Ambassador, Mr Ringo Abed, Corridor Chairman Mr Bisey Uirab, and Corridor Group CEO, Mr Johny Smith.

Completely misunderstanding the role of trade links, Ambassador Abed chose to focus on the export potential of the Congo market for Namibian manufacturers saying "Given Namibia's small population, it will not be possible for its economy to grow significantly and reach the vision of an industrialised status unless strategic focus is put on export promotion rather than relying on the small domestic market."

Presentations on the importance and benefits of a trade route from Walvis Bay to the Congo were done by Mr Christian Faure, the Executive for Marketing and Strategic Business Development, and by Mr Johny Smith. These presentations focused on the advantages of utilising the Walvis Bay Corridors with special emphasis on the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor.

Theoffice in Lubumbashi, DRC is now the third branch office of the WBCG beyond Namibia, with the other branch offices in Lusaka, Zambia since 2005 and Johannesburg, South Africa in operation since 2008.

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group is currently hosting the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor Technical Committee, which is a Public Private Partnership between the government departments responsible for transport of the DRC, Namibia and Zambia to address the bottlenecks that impede the flow of traffic along this trade route using the Port of Walvis Bay.

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