TransNamib CEO takes SARA lead

01 July 2021 | People

TransNamib chief executive Johny Smith accepted the nomination to lead the Southern African Railways Association (SARA) board earlier this week, replacing BBR’s MD Thembi Moyo.
Smith is deputised by TFR chief executive Sizakele Mzimela.
The position is rotated among SARA member countries on an annual basis.
SARA is an association of railway companies and other stakeholders in the SADC region that promotes and lobbies rail transport. Members of SARA include railway companies from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The current SARA strategy addresses the five focus areas of advocacy and lobbying, infrastructure development, railway operations, resource mobilisation, marketing and publicity and safety.
In his inaugural speech, Smith thanked the board for their confidence in his abilities adding that as an association they need to push the agenda of rail in the region.“Railways need to evolve. Rail needs to achieve its full growth potential, to make it faster, more punctual, efficient and reliable. To achieve all that, rail services need to be customer-driven. This is the key for success in both freight and passenger transport. The corridors forms the backbone of the railway network and therefore it presents a major opportunity for railway operators to increase its market share.”

New solutions
Smith added that the SARA secretariate will continue implementing the association’s strategic plan and liaise with all stakeholders to find new solutions to move the railways development agenda forward.
A major challenge facing the rail industry across the SADC region is inequity in terms of developing the infrastructure of the rail industry versus other modes of transportation. In light of this, Smith encouraged members to focus on the opportunities at hand. “We have a huge opportunity to provide fast, safe, reliable, clean transportation in this country. Railways are an economic enabler – hence creating far reaching opportunities for economic growth.”
Smith is at the helm of TransNamib since 2018. He previously served as the CEO of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) and various roles within Namport and Telecom Namibia. He has more than 29 years’ experience in the fields of telecommunications, logistics and transportation focusing on strategy, organisational and business development, marketing and project management.

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