Namibia: Multi-Billion Steel Plant to Tackle Unemployment

30 November 2020

Otavi — The envisaged N$2.6 billion steel factory is expected to create job opportunities for the destitute young people at the town of Otavi in the Otjozondjupa region.

The Otavi town council is spearheading effort to set up a steel plant, which is expected to absorb many youths at the town, who are currently loitering around due to high unemployment.

The town's former mayor, who has been duly elected as the new Otavi constituency councillor, George Garab, said the council has partnered with NedBank, among other partners, for the realisation of the envisaged factory, where smelting of metals is planned.

Garab noted the council has already allocated 77 hectares of land for the planned steel manufacturing project.

"Land is available. Unemployment is extremely high. Our youth are not employed. Council is lobbying for investors to come to Otavi instead. We will make sure the youth will be employed," Garab said.

He said the Otavi town council will have a 20% shareholder in the steel manufacturing plant.

Otavi Rebar manufacturing managing director Andre Neethling, who also owns 20% stake in the envisaged steel factory, said the study will be completed this year and the development capital to secure financial closure will be available in the first quarter of 2021.

As the lead financial arranger, Nedbank has requested a revised market study to include SADC, he said.

Neethling said Urban Econ, a credible market research and advisory specialist, was appointed to conclude the 3rd market study in February 2020.

"This process was negatively affected by the Covid-19 international lockdown.

"Construction of the plant will commence immediately after financial closure has been achieved, which is expected from the second half of 2021. All other studies have been completed and the land has been secured," Neethling stated.

According to Garab, the only nearby youth employment opportunities are B2Gold and Ohorongo cement.

However, he feels such mines do not largely recruit locals, which could be attributed to lack of expertise.

Garab added the council also allocated 50 hectares of irrigation land for the young people.

The land is located at Klein Otavi No 799 Remainder or Prijon for crop production.

On housing delivery, he indicated council has availed N$4 million for sewerage and water supply in New Kairo.

"Sewer services at New Kairo have been finalised partly and the water supply will be constructed by our water department very soon. We will also avail plots for the elderly. We established a reception area to accommodate 350 plots," Garab said.

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