Namibian President Hage Geingob has hailed the expansion of the Walvis Bay port as a new chapter in the country's economic transformation.
Geingob officially launched the refurbished harbour on 2 August 2019, together with Gerson Hinda, Chairperson of the Board the Namibian Port Authority (Namport) and Noel Kulemeka, Operations Manager of the Southern Africa office of the African Development Bank, representing Akinwumi A. Adesina, the Bank's President.
"What we are witnessing today is thus a culmination of a long-cherished vision of transforming the predominantly fishing harbour that was Walvis Bay, which we inherited at independence, into Africa Express Hub to International Markets," Geingob said.
The expansion of the port is the completion of a project co-financed by the Bank to support Namibia in establishing the port of Walvis Bay as the preferred port for southern and central African logistics operations on the west coast of the continent. In 2013, the Bank approved a loan of $ 200 million for the expansion of the container terminal on 40 ha of reclaimed land. The expansion works also encompassed the provision of equipment that included four ship-to-shore cranes.
"The African Development Bank played a defining role as the majority financier of the container terminal expansion project. As Africans, we are proud that the funding came from the African continent for the development of African infrastructure. Africa is, indeed, on the move," said Johannes Kangandjera, a member of the Namport board of directors.
Kulemeka congratulated the country's leadership and the people of Namibia "for successfully completing the expansion of the port, which will triple its current handling capacity of 355,000 TEUs to 1,005,000 TEUs."
"(The expansion is) a turning point for not only Namibia but the southern Africa region, and indeed the continent, as we embark on the African Continental Free Trade Area journey."
The flagship project forms part of the Bank's High 5 priority "Integrate Africa".
The Bank started its operations in Namibia in 1991. From 2017, with 12 ongoing operations valued at $1,224 million, Namibia became the second-largest portfolio of the Bank in the Southern Africa region after South Africa.