Upgrade for Karibib-Usakos road starts

The ground-breaking to begin the rehabilitation of a 30 km stretch of road between Karibib and Usakos took place on-site on 13 October.
Present at the event were John Mutorwa, Minister of Works and Transport (MWT); Neville Andre, Governor of the Erongo region; Conrad Lutombi, CEO of the Roads Authority (RA); Thomas Feidieker, a representative of the German embassy, and various local representatives.
Speaking at the occasion, Mutorwa said that by improving Namibia’s roads and railways, the country’s competitiveness as the gateway for the transit of imports and exports is improved, especially for land-locked countries in the southern African sub-region.
“As a developing country, we must continue to make these efforts toward achieving our National Development Plans, which are the building blocks of Vision 2030,” Mutorwa said in his address.
On behalf and with funds of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the project is co-financed and implemented through the KfW Development Bank using a concessional loan of N$372.6m to Namibia.
After much preparation and a thorough tendering process, Zhong Mei Engineering Group was appointed as the successful contractor. Four local contractors (Ino Investment Holdings cc, Tangeni OM Trading cc, West Trading cc and Alugodhi Trading cc) were appointed to execute the works with the main contractor. The procurement was done through the Roads Authority, following the Namibian Procurement Act and Procurement Guidelines by the KfW Development Bank.
The local companies were trained through Namibian-German cooperation and were included in most joint projects. The combined value of the works reserved for the Namibian contractors is approximately 25.18% of the total contract amount. Furthermore, about 500 employment opportunities will be created for Namibians during construction.
The construction work will be completed within 18 months.
Speaking at the event, Lutombi said that the RA encountered discontent surrounding the appointment of the contractor for this project. “However, I am happy that all the matters were addressed accordingly. We can finally commence with the rehabilitation work on this project, which we all know will be life-changing once complete. I am confident that all the speakers here today will echo my sentiments that this project is important nationally and internationally as it links to the Port of Walvis Bay.
He made use of the platform to assure Namibians that the RA is cognizant of and understands the plight and challenges experienced by local contractors concerning limited work opportunities in the road sector. “However, we remain firm and committed to providing a conducive operating environment that empowers and capacitates local contractors to undertake various road projects of different sizes and complexities in Namibia.”
The KfW has been supporting the expansion of the Namibian road network through grants for access roads and labour-based road construction since Independence. This approach creates jobs by training local workers and SMEs who can take up work in the road construction sector in a bid to reduce poverty while stimulating economic and social development in Namibia.
Since 2016, KfW has funded expanding and maintaining significant corridor roads through concessional loans. To date, the construction of more than 1700 km of roads has been co-financed by KfW in close cooperation with the RA.
From 1990 to date, the funds of German development cooperation amounted to approximately N$32.3 billion. The KfW portfolio under implementation comprises 36 projects with a total value of around N$12.9 billion, while 22 projects valued at approximately N$6.6 billion are under preparation.