CONNECTION IS KEY
Celebrate Namibia series
“Urban transport is a political and not a technical issue. The technical aspects are very simple. The difficult decisions relate to who is going to benefit from the models adopted.”
– Enrique Penalosa.
Namibia is an expansive country where it is not uncommon to drive an hour or more between towns or settlements. With a sparse population so widely spread out and in some cases living in extremely remote areas, Namibia’s excellent road network creates the link that connects the people. It is the reason why nomadic Himbas in the far northwest can take their traditional crafts to the capital, Windhoek, to be sold in curio shops. It keeps Ovambo families working in the deep south, in towns like Luderitz or Keetmanshoop, connected to their relatives in their home villages in the far north. Namibian roads are the reason why a farmer in the Kalahari can sell his delicious mutton cuts in the coastal town of Swakopmund on the other side of the country or why veggies grown at Mariental find their way onto plates in Otjiwarongo. Furthermore, the endless roads are the best way for tourists to explore the gorgeous scenery and they provide access to a multitude of breathtaking destinations.
Celebrating Namibia goes a lot further than purely national pride, however. The country has remained the champion
in having the best-quality roads on the African continent
for the last five consecutive years according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Report Index on road infrastructure. Globally Namibia is ranked at number 23, ahead of quite a few of the globe’s economic powerhouses such as China, India and Italy – a remarkable feat, considering that Namibia’s total road network has a combined length of almost 50 000 kilometres. It is also a well-deserved nod to the tireless efforts of the Namibian Roads Authority which is mandated to construct and maintain the roads and plays a pivotal role in keeping them safe.
The road infrastructure not only contributes to the economic development of Namibia but also that of the country’s landlocked neighbours and the SADC subregion as a whole. A network of various transport corridors creates a valuable link to the expanding Port of Walvis Bay and offers a well-maintained and developed infrastructure that allows those countries to import and export their goods.
As mentioned, the roads are also the key to exploring the breathtaking and ever-changing vistas of the Namibian countryside. Gravel roads adjacent to the massive sand dunes of the Namib Desert take you to world-renowned Deadvlei. The wilderness and waterways of the Zambezi Region in the northeast are made exceedingly accessible thanks to excellent bitumen roads that deliver you almost to the doorstep of the various national parks and accommodation establishments of the area.
Through the exceptional road network and the many road construction projects still in progress, the Roads Authority has fully embraced its vision of a sustainable road sector that is ahead of national and regional socio-economic needs in pursuit of Namibia’s Vision 2030.
With an infrastructure in place that connects a spectrum which ranges from families to economies, everyone can drive off into the proverbial sunset.