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Infrastructure boom for Namibia

Namibia will see significant growth across a number of infrastructure sectors over the next decade, says a new report by Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan’s report, ‘African Infrastructure Tracker: Namibia's Infrastructure Sectors’, finds that there will be significant growth across a number of infrastructure sectors in Namibia. It says this will be the result of the government's aim to increase economic growth and access to services, as well as the country's involvement in trade within the SADC region. The research covers the road, rail, airport, port, energy and power, telecommunications, water and sanitation, housing, education and healthcare infrastructure sectors.

"After building infrastructure in the 1960's to support the population and industry, new infrastructure developments rarely occurred, and maintenance has been insufficient," notes Frost & Sullivan's Environmental and Building Technologies Research Analyst, Sarah O'Carroll. "As a result, both the transport and energy infrastructure is insufficient to support current industry levels."

The road network requires  USD779.4 million for the development of the road network, with USD666.8 million to be used for maintenance and upgrading.

Insufficient investment for maintenance and upgrading has led to the poor provision of services across the country, says the report. Large infrastructure gaps also need to be addressed across several sectors, due to poor planning.

The three operating power stations were built in the late 1970's and no significant expansion projects have followed. For a long time, Namibia relied upon Eskom (South Africa's power utility) to meet energy demands.

As a result, Namibia is a net energy importer, importing 66.3% of its energy requirement, and power shortages are frequent. This has ultimately resulted in the Government playing catch-up, rather than focusing on increasing capacity to meet future demand.

"Despite the challenges facing infrastructure development, the market presents numerous opportunities for growth," says O'Carroll. "The discovery of oil off-shore has highlighted the potential for industry growth and has further underlined the urgent need for infrastructure development in the country."

The timely completion and delivery of infrastructure – within predicted budgets – will be crucial to meeting infrastructure development goals, says the report.

"The Chinese's ability to reduce costs is a key reason for their success in Namibia thus far," concludes O'Carroll. "Companies that can demonstrate their ability to work within a budget and complete projects within time constraints will have the upper hand in winning tenders."

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