By Charles Tjatindi
Liberian Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf expressed her government’s desire to forge cooperation with its Namibian counterparts in areas of fishing.
Johnson-Sirleaf made this intention known when she visited a fishing company and the country’s port’s authority – NamPort here Tuesday. The Liberian Head of State said she was very impressed with the level of modernization and technological advancement of the fishing industry in Namibia.
At a briefing meeting with officials from the Namibia Ports Authority, Johnson-Sirleaf said there is a need for officials and role players in the fishing industries from both countries to work out possible areas of cooperation within the fishing industry, as this would allow her country to benefit from Namibia’s experience.
“I must say I am very impressed with what your country has achieved in the fishing sector. With a port as modern as yours, I am sure Liberia can learn a lot from you. It is therefore important that we work on a program that would allow for the transfer of knowledge and expertise in this field to our people as well,” she said. Johnson-Sirleaf said it was her wish to have officials from her government’s fishing industry come to Namibia to gain first-hand experience on issues of modernization and technological development that would enhance a harbour’s potential. NamPort’s Managing Director Sebby Kankondi welcomed Johnson-Sirleaf’s suggestions, noting that his company will be willing to facilitate knowledge and know-how transfer to their Liberian counterparts. Kankondi said such relations can however only be expanded once a memorandum of understanding (MoU) is signed between the two governments.
“Once we enter into a memorandum of understanding, I am sure we will benefit from each other’s experiences and skills,” Kankondi said.
The Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) has unveiled major development projects that amongst others include the deepening of the harbour at Walvis Bay.
The addition of a bulk and break handling facilities, a floating dock, syncrolift ship and rig and extension of container terminals are among projects envisaged for the Port of Walvis Bay.
The initiatives are part of the ports authority’s master plan that spans from 2008 to 2012. The proposed projects come about because of the heavy demand placed on the Namibian port, as it gradually becomes a trade partner with African countries that rely on it for the import and export of goods. With the proposed projects, the port intends to serve a population of about 190 million within the SADC region alone.
Other markets that will also benefit from the envisaged initiatives include West Africa, Europe, the Far East and South America.
Walvis Bay’s ideal location and proximity to many major tourism attractions such as the Namib Desert, its unspoilt conservation areas and internationally acclaimed reserves such as the Skeleton Coast Park and the historic town of Swakopmund, make the proposed development feasible.