Construction recently began on the Namibia Trade and Industrial Park in Lubumbashi in the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibian Ambassador to the DRC, Wilbard Hellao, told New Era in an interview last week.
The government of DRC in 2012 donated a 25-hectare piece of land, equivalent to 25 standard football fields, to the Namibian government for the construction of the planned trade and industrial park. The DRC, apart from being endowed with a staggering array of minerals, offers a vast market as it has a population of 77 million.
Lubumbashi is a mining town in the southeastern part of DRC, and is the second-largest city in the country, after the capital Kinshasa
Hellao said during his recent visit to the area that phase one, which is the construction of the boundary fence, was nearly complete.
According to him the project will be done in four phases and the other phases will commence soon, in sequence.
He said that upon completion the trade and industrial park is estimated to will cost the Namibia government close to N$1 billion.
“It will be a massive investment by the GRN,” said Hellao, adding that he believes the development of such facility would improve trade between the two countries.
“Mind you, this will offer new opportunities to both governments, while also acting as a springboard for Namibians for trade into the Central African and Great Lakes regions,” he said.
The trade and industrial estate will consist of a residential park, warehouses, wholesale facilities, a logistical hub, exhibition space, offices, other apartments, a truck port and a fuel service centre.
The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development in conjunction with Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) embarked on the development of the park. When asked what the level of trade between the two countries are, Hellao said currently Namibia’s exports to the DRC are quite huge and include cement, fish, salt, chicken, beer, processed food, beef and cattle on the hoof.
He said that now there is a great deal of interest to import game species from Namibia. He said DRC is exporting timber and copper through the port of Walvis Bay to the international market.