Transportation and Communications
Namibia has an infrastructure of a standard which would agreeably surprise all those who are unfamiliar with the country and its advantages. There is continuous and growing investment in those facilities which are regarded the lifeblood of a vibrant, modern and developing economy.
International air connections for both passengers and freight are available at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport.
Direct destinations include the strategic regional hub of Johannesburg, and the European cities of London and Frankfurt. Air Namibia is the national carrier; other international airlines operating here are South African Airways, British Airways/Comair, TAAG and LTU.
There are also direct flights between Windhoek and Luanda, Lusaka, Harare, Livingstone and Cape Town, as well as domestic flights to local destinations from the city’s Eros Airport.
Walvis Bay International Airport has regular flights to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Windhoek, and Keetmanshoop Airport also operates and international service. All Namibia’s main towns and tourist resorts have airports, landing strips and/or heliports.
Walvis Bay, with its world-class standard of cargo handling and sheltered deepwater harbor, is poised to become the most important port on Africa’s west coast and a regional container hub for southern Africa. The completion in 2000 of the deepening process and the building of a new enlarged container terminal able to handle vessels with a capacity of some 2000 to 2400 TEUs put the port on a par with Cape Town and Durban.
Container vessels from Europe can save three days’ journey time by loading and/unloading in Walvis Bay, rather than Cape Town, while cargoes for central and southern Africa from elsewhere in the Atlantic region can gain up to seven days by using Walvis Bay and going further overland.
The dedicated facilities for a range of commodities, including containerized cargo, refrigerated produce, break bulk, dry bulks, and petroleum products. The port currently handles around 2.5 million tons of cargo annually, with an average turnaround time of about 12-18 hours for container vessels. Products include foodstuffs, marble blocks, lead and copper ingots and an annual 500,000 tons of salt. As well as excellent logistical support services, there is a thriving ship repair and marine engineering industry at Walvis Bay.
Ludertiz, although traditionally a fishing port, has been upgraded, with a new cargo and container quay completed in 2000. Cargo volumes have increased significantly as a result of the ports ability to handle larger vessels and consignments of freight. The port is strategically located to cater for southern Namibia and the Northern Cape. An important base for fishing fleets, it is now also used by the offshore diamond and mining industry.
Both Walvis Bay and Lüdertiz are administered by the Namibian Ports Authority (NamPort), a state owned organization established in 1994, part of whose role is to ensure the smooth operation of cross-border trade. The ports enjoy good industrial relations, with well-motivated workforces, and are able to offer a high standard of stevendoring to complement their modern dockside equipment.
Namibia has a well developed road network covering more than 40,000 kilometers and providing access to the majority of towns, as well as tourist resorts and nature reserves. The primary routes are tarred.
The Trans-Caprivi Highway provides an all weather road link between Walvis Bay and Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Trans-Kalahari Highway links Walvis Bay with South Africa’s Gauten industrial heartland via Botswana. Previously this region used Durban as its natural gateway. The highway also is connected to the Maputo Corridor on Africa’s east coast, thus providing a transport link across the entire breadth of the continent.
A network of railways covering 2,382 kilometers connects Walvis Bay and Ludertiz with key destinations in Namibia and South Africa. Much of the containerized traffic at Walvis Bay goes by rail, and the port has its own marshalling yard for maximum operational efficiency. Thousands of tons of bulk minerals from mines in South Africa and Namibia are transported directly to the quayside by rail for export.
A railway line from Walvis Bay to Grootfontein, where there are trans-shipment facilites, links in with the Trans-Caprivi Highway.
Walvis Bay Corridor
The Walvis Bay Corridor is the name for a newly constructed network of transport which has opened up access to landlocked southern Africa for destinations west of the continent by the shortest possible route. Completed in 1998, and using the port of Walvis Bay as the trade gateway, its main arteries are the Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari Highways. The Walvis Bay to Grootfrontein railway line also forms part of the corridor.
Namibia has the capacity and competence to provide utilities and services effectively and at competitive rates.
Namibia’s electricity network is operated by the Namibian Power Corporation, NamPower. Ample, reliable supplies exist in all major centers.
Despite the climate, there is a reliable water supply in all major centers. All tap water in Namibian’s cities, towns and villages is safe to drink.
Namibia has a world class telecommunications system, with telephone and internet connections widely available in both urban and remote area, thanks to recent substantial investment in the telecommunications infrastructure including the installation off optical fiber cable networks.
The Harvard Africa Competitiveness Report 2000-2001 ranked the quality levels of Namibia’s telecommunications services first in Africa
An international satellite links Namibia to worldwide telecommunications services. A GSM900 network is operated by Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (MTC), Namibia cellular service provider. About 80 per cent of the population is within reach of this network. MTC currently has roaming agreements with 160 countries worldwide, and visitors from these an use their GSM900 phones in Namibia without difficulty.
The full range of business support services is available in Namibia, including banking and finance, insurance, stock broking, accountancy, general business consultancy, advertising and marketing agencies and conference facilities.
Namibia has a well-established banking system. The Bank of Namibia is responsible for issuing currency and is the foreign exchange authority, lender of last resort to banking institutions, banker to the government and the commercial banks and the supervisory authority on financial institutions and monetary matters. Commercial banks operate through a nationwide network of branches and offer a comprehensive range of banking services, including current account and overdraft facilities, term deposits, discounting of bills, foreign exchange and a variety of loan products. These are Bank Windhoek Ltd., Swabou, the Commercial Bank of Namibia Ltd., First National Bank of Namibia, Standard Bank of Namibia Ltd. And NIB, Most also provide specialized merchant banking facilities. International services are available through inter-bank arrangements. Electronic banking and teller services are available in all major centers.
The Namibian Dollar (N$) is divided into 100 cents. It is linked to and on a par with the South African Rand (R) which is also legal tender in Namibia. The Namibian Stock Exchange is Africa’s second largest in terms of total market capitalization and among the continent’s most technically advanced bourses