Namibia and Zambia on Thursday inked an agreement in Swakopmund, Namibia, to facilitate a private sector-led infrastructure development project.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed by Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo and his Zambian counterpart Peter Kapala, aims to build an oil and gas pipeline from Walvis Bay, a port town on the coast of Namibia, to Zambia.
“If executed as planned, this project has the potential to unblock economic potential, not only for Namibia and Zambia; but for the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region as a whole. This project will be a great example of regional cooperation as envisaged by the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan,” said Alweendo in a statement.
This plan calls for more collaboration and less competition among the member countries. As a region, we need to go far, he added.
“As we all know one of the biggest challenges we have on the African continent is access to energy, where more than 600 million Africans do not have access to energy. What we have on the continent is energy poverty. One of the contributing factors to the energy poverty we are all experiencing is the lack of energy transport infrastructure,” Alweendo noted.
According to him, gas will become the most important source of energy on the continent, and therefore having a gas pipeline to transport the gas more efficiently will be critical.
“It is one thing to sign an MoU and it is another thing to ensure that it is implemented. The MoU makes provision for a joint technical committee that will be responsible to work with the private sector in identifying the exact assistance that will be needed. We urge those who will be serving on the technical committee to work diligently and to make it happen,” he said.
Meanwhile, the MoU was inked on the back of the 10th session of the Namibia-Zambia joint permanent commission of cooperation, which concluded on Thursday, and saw several issues discussed to further strengthen relations between the two neighbors.