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AfDB signs US$196 million loan for Namibia rail system
Southern African country seeks to become regional logistics hub by 2030
Michael Marray 8 Nov 2023

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$196 million loan for Namibia to implement the second phase of its Transport Infrastructure Improvement Project (TIIP).

The loan represents 51.8% of the total project cost, with the remaining 48.2% to be shouldered by the Namibian government.

The project aligns with Namibia’s Vision 2030 for its logistics value chain by addressing railway infrastructure bottlenecks. It will also help to strengthen the trade competitiveness of Namibia and the southern African sub-region.

Under the project, 207 kilometres of new rail tracks will be constructed close to the existing line between Kranzberg and Otjiwarongo, using concrete railway sleepers and new rails.

The works include constructing 16 bridges, renovating two stations, and procuring 55,000 tonnes of steel rails. Other components include modernizing the railway signalling system along the Walvis Bay-Tsumeb line to improve its reliability, safety and capacity, as well as the overall performance of the railway system.

Recognizing the importance of good rail connectivity for bulk cargo, TIIP Phase II will bring to 417km the cumulative rail upgraded by the AfDB, after it supported a previous 201km renovation from Walvis Bay to Kranzberg.

“The project will maximize the benefits and be transformative for the competitiveness of Namibia, and assist in attaining the Vision of the country becoming a regional logistics hub by 2030 while catalyzing development change in neighbouring countries and the sub-region," says Leila Mokaddem, AfDB director general for Southern Africa. "This project will also connect Namibia to Africa’s Copper Belt, and achieve regional railway connectivity.”

Having previously funded the expansion of the container terminal at the Port of Walvis Bay, AfDB is supporting efforts to integrate Namibia regionally by building critical port and rail infrastructure to connect the country to the rest of the region, move goods, support value chains, and promote trade.

Most of the upgraded railway line crosses commercial agricultural land as well as urban areas. Transporters, agricultural communities and industries along the corridor will benefit from faster commuting. Road maintenance costs are also expected to reduce as bulk cargo transporters shift from road to rail.

AfDB's active portfolio in Namibia is estimated to be worth US$687 million.

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