WBCG takes road show to Lubumbashi

… logistics hub goal gathers momentum

By Hilary Mare

THE Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) has engaged stakeholders in Lubumbashi, DRC to lure them to make use of the Walvis-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC) and the Port of Walvis Bay which are two prime avenues of Namibia’s logistics hub agenda.

Since the establishment of its business development office in Lubumbashi in 2012, the WBCG has positioned itself as crucial facilitator in the transport and logistics industry. DRC remains an important market as a volume-based cargo source. Of great interest, is the Grand Katanga province, renowned for its huge mining developments. The area’s copper production alone is estimated at more than one million metric tonnes annually which is all exported overseas.

“We are committed to supporting the logistics and transport community in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as increasing trade by ensuring the smooth flow of trade between Namibia and DRC,” states the Walvis Bay Corridor Group’s DRC business development manager Jen Mbayo.

WBNLDC has over the years grown significantly as an alternative trade route for the DRC. The corridor carries various commodities such as copper, sulphur, fuel, frozen products, machinery and equipment as well as consumables, destined for the global market via the Port of Walvis Bay.

Recently, the president of Association des Transporteurs Routiers Internationaux du Katanga, (ATRIK), in DRC, Lambert Tshisueka Mutondo applauded WBCG on the great work and support it has rendered to the industry.

“New connections were established, which we are confident will lead to prosperous business relationships,” Mbayo said in view of the engagement.

Namibia continues to develop and transform itself into a logistics hub for the region.

Following a high-level survey, funded by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), Namibia crafted a new strategy for its economic trajectory, by introducing logistics as one of the four main economic priorities in its fourth National Development Plan (NDP4). Consequently, Namibia approached the Japanese Government to assist in developing the Logistics Hub Master Plan, in order to outline the future framework and outlook for the Logistics Hub.

The National Planning Commission (NPC) chairs the national steering committee, with WBCG as the executing agency. There are however several stakeholders from the public and private sector supporting the WBCG and NPC to ensure its implementation.  Key technical partners like Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and JICA, continue to provide technical and financial assistance to ensure the implementation of the various programmes being developed under Namibia’s Logistics Master Plan.

As part of the implementation structure of Logistics Hub Master Plan, four working groups were established. These groups focus on the development of the logistics hub centre, strategic marketing, capacity development and integrated border management. WBCG continues to coordinate working group activities that in turn report to the steering committee and Cabinet Committee on Trade and Economic Development (CCTED) for political and policy endorsement.

WBCG further established Logistics Hub forums to engage the industry on specific thematic areas. These sessions enable continuous engagement between the public and private sectors on matters pertaining to the development of logistics in the country.

“In the coming year, our focus remains on engaging industry leaders and the government, in ensuring adequate capacity from the private sector to deliver seamless logistics solutions and adequate resources from our government as the custodian of this project, to implement the Logistics Hub Master Plan timely,” says Gilbert Boois WBCG projects manager.