Peace and Stability Have Boosted Trade in Angola

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Peace in Angola has boosted trade volumes along the TransCunene Corridor (TCuC), making it the busiest route of the three that make up the Walvis Bay Corridors. In terms of trade, the Trans- Cunene holds major growth potential as one of the busiest corridors in terms of commercial trade. This is attributed to renewed peace and stability in Angola, as the country gears towards economic re-establishment. The war that ravaged Angola for decades damaged – among others – infrastruc-ture such as roads and the railway, thus the corridor has become an alternative means of access to port facilities through the port of Walvis Bay and linking Angola to the world. The Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) said in a statement this week that the TCuC has been further enhanced by the development of the northern railway line, which reached Ondangwa this year. The railway line extension is under way to reach Oshikango, the border town between Angola and Namibia. Its completion is expected to further increase commercial traffic. In all, business confidence is said to have improved, making the three corridors including TransCaprivi and TransKalahari augment trade volumes by 63 percent on tonnage compared to 2005. WBCG Business Development Officer, Stella Auala, said that since the start of 2006, the group has embarked on the implementation of its strategic plan 2006-10 which focuses on business development as its main focus of activities. This has resulted in an increase in promotional efforts to create awareness of the corridor opportunities, both regionally and internationally, through an increased presence in regional markets such as the establishment of a WBCG branch office in Lusaka, Zambia, and presentations to importers and exporters. The promotional efforts have borne fruit in the form of the corridor members coming up with new services, some of which include the introduction of new shipping lines offered by Maersk shipping from Brazil to Namibia and from the Far East. The TransCaprivi Corridor carried large commercial traffic such as the World Food Programme consignment of 8ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 050 tonnes for the Zambian government, while the corridors have also become the preferred route in handling goods from Malawi and Tanzania. Commodities transported along the routes include huge consignments of rice, used vehicles, salt, agri-products, confectionaries, fish products and timber. The TransCaprivi Corridor has improved traffic volumes, thanks to the rehabilitation of infrastructure such as the Katima Mulilo Bridge and the Livingstone Sesheke road. Among other things, the group also opened an office in Zambia, dedicated to promoting the usage of the corridor as the main route for Zambian imports and exports, via Namibia’s port of Walvis Bay. Although the TansKalahari Corridor was the first to be established, traffic volumes remain lower than expected. Auala could not give reasons for this, except that it would need a change in mindsets to utilize the corridor. But with the group now working on the implementation of the documentation in the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed in 2003, and the hosting of the secretariat by the group, things are set to improve for the better for the TransKalahari Corridor. The corridor group has 10 private and public as well as associate members.