October 3, 2002

NAMIBIA: European Aid to Boost Roads, Water Resources

The main road from Ondangwa to Oshikango in northern Namibia is to receive a much-needed upgrade thanks to a soft loan from Germany, while the country's water resources will receive closer attention thanks to an aid agreement with Sweden. The two aid agreements were signed October 2 at an informal ceremony at the Government office park complex in the capital.

National Planning Commission Director-General Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the new road will "contribute to safe and undisturbed passenger and freight transport between Namibian and Angola. It will also enhance trade between the two countries". Roads Authority Chief Executive Justin Runji said the surface of the road had been badly damage in the more than 10 years since it was built. "If you were to look at the surface, you would see it is heavily cracked, and would fall apart if something were not done in the next few years," he said.

The project will involve the breaking up of the old road surface and the laying of a new asphalt-concrete layer which is expected to last at least 15 years. The 5,1 million Euro (about N$54 million) soft loan is at an interest rate of two per cent, with 30 years to repay and a grace period of 10 years before repayment starts.

Meanwhile, a contribution of 350 000 Swedish kronor (N$404 647) was announced to an Environmental Accounting project which will catalogue Namibia's water resources and monitor its use. "We have to put a price on the environment in order to make it count," said Swedish Charge d'Affaires Goran Hedebro October 2. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said: "The idea is not only to provide water to our communities but to ensure that communities value this limited resource by ensuring its maximum utilisation." "It is unacceptable that rural women should be spending most of their productive days collecting water from far distances," said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, adding the Government aimed to provide access to water within 2,5 kilometres to 80 per cent of the rural population by 2006. (THE NAMIBIAN)

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