GOVERNMENT is planning to develop a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) near the port of Walvis Bay in a bid to attain the NDP5 strategic objective to make Namibia a regional logistics hub.
The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development (NIPD) Board Executive, Margareth Gustavo, said as part of Namibia’s initiative to enhance its competitiveness and ambition to develop into a regional logistics hub, the implementation of a National Single Window (NSW) has also become a priority project and is being considered alongside the development of a SEZ.
Gustavo stated that to effectively implement the above initiatives, the government has consolidated them into a project called the Walvis Bay Industrial Development Initiative (WIDI).
“The WIDI aims to improve Namibia’s efficiency and competitiveness as a regional logistics hub, with the main objective being to positively contribute to the country’s economic development, including the creation of quality jobs and the transfer of key skills for and to Namibians,” said Gustavo.
WIDI consists of three project components, namely the management and operation of the existing New Container Terminal (NCT) at the Port of Walvis Bay by a private operator, the development and deployment of a National Single Window facility and the development and operation of a Special Economic Zone near Walvis Bay.
Furthermore, through the SEZ, the initiative is expected to aid the conversion of Namibian raw materials and resources to finished and semi-finished products and components as part of the nation’s drive to diversify Namibia’s economy.
According to Gustavo, the development of a SEZ is expected to significantly stimulate urban renewal and development in Walvis Bay and the wider Erongo Region.
In August, government invited leading global developers and operators with significant capability and well-proven experience in port and container terminal management, shipping and logistics sector operations, developers and operators of special economic zones and business development experts, through an Expression of Interest to partner with the government in the WIDI.
“The call for Expression of Interest is taking the form of a market sounding process whereby participants with the relevant organisational size, experience and capabilities are invited to express an interest, and simultaneously submit an initial proposal of their approach to the various project components,” she said.
Further, Gustavo, stated that the participants with an interest in only one of the projects are also encouraged to participate and provide details of their alternative plans to contribute to economic development and the country’s other strategic priorities.
The proposals currently sought from global operators will allow the government to assess the market appetite for partnerships if and when the project components are consolidated, or whether benefit is increased if these projects are considered separately.
Upon conclusion of the Expression of Interest process, government will then assess whether the interest expressed by the private sector warrants continuing with a subsequent Request for Proposals under the provisions of the Public-Private Partnerships Act.
However, the call for Expression of Interest, which was scheduled to close on 15 October, has now been extended to 30 October.
The Expression of Interest process is expected to be concluded by 1 December 2021.