- Breaking news: A severe drought countrywide has prompted President Pohamba to declare a state of emergency.
‘Infrastructure a necessity, not luxury’
Communication infrastructure such as roads and railways remain one of the most important development priorities identified by Government, President Hifikepunye Pohamba here last week.
Speaking at the inauguration of the second phase of the northern railway extension project last week at Oshikango, Pohamba said the completion of the 60-kilometre Ondangwa-Oshikango phase is an achievement for all Namibians, irrespective of their political or religious affiliation.
The Oshikango station is named after one of Namibia's fallen liberation struggle heroes, Reverend Theofelus Hamutumbangela of the Anglican Church.
"Today is a historic day as there are many Namibians who are going to see a train for the very first time in their lives," said Pohamba amidst cheers from a crowd of thousands of observers from all 13 regions of the country.
He stressed that public facilities, including airports, harbours, power lines, mobile and fixed telephone networks are vital for the economic development of the country, the provision of public services and the improvement of the living conditions of people.
The railway project, which commenced in 2002, is being constructed in three phases - the Tsumeb to Ondangwa phase, which was completed and commissioned in 2006, the 60-kilometre Ondangwa to Oshikango phase, which was commissioned last week; and the 38-kilometres Ondangwa to Oshakati phase, on which construction is yet to commence.
With the completion of the first two phases, Pohamba said Namibia now has a railway network covering the entire north-south stretch of the country, from the Ariamsvlei border post to the Oshikango border post.
"In the broader national and regional context, the completion of the project has opened up new opportunities for trade and commerce within our country as well as between Namibia and other countries in the SADC region," Pohamba explained.
More specifically, the railway line creates a direct transport link to South Africa through the southern border and to Angola on the northern border.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the initiator of the project, Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma, as well as Oukwanyama Queen Martha Mwadinomho waKristian ya Nelumbu, Minister of Transport, Erkki Nghimtina and Angolan Minister of Works and Transport Augusto da Silva Tomas, Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament amongst others.