THE African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a $US 196.43m loan for Namibia to implement the second phase of its Transport Infrastructure Improvement Project (TIIP). The loan, approved on October 31, represents 51.8% of the project’s total cost, with the Namibian government providing the remaining 48.2%.

The project includes constructing 207km of new track alongside the existing Kranzberg - Otjiwarongo line using concrete sleepers and new rail. The work includes constructing 16 bridges, renovating two stations, and procuring 55,000 tonnes of rail. Other components include modernising the signalling system on the Walvis Bay - Tsumeb line to improve its reliability, safety and capacity, as well as the overall performance of the railway.

The project aligns with Namibia’s long-term Vision 2030 to develop the country’s logistics value chain by tackling rail infrastructure bottlenecks, and will also help to strengthen Namibia and the southern African sub-region’s trade competitiveness.

TIIP Phase 2 follows the upgrade of the 210km Walvis Bay - Kranzberg line, which was also supported by the bank alongside the expansion of the container terminal at the Port of Walvis Bay.

“The project will maximise 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 catalysing development change in neighbouring countries and the sub-region,” says AfDB director general for southern Africa, Ms Leïla Mokaddem. “This project will also connect Namibia to Africa’s Copper Belt, and achieve regional railway connectivity.”

Most of the upgraded line crosses commercial agricultural land and urban areas, and road maintenance costs are expected to be reduced as bulk freight shifts from road to rail.

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