Walvis Bay impresses Kenya’s Pres Kenyatta

Rudi Bowe

Namibia and Kenya can maintain a steep learning curve from one another when it comes to the development of port facilities to serve Africa’s landlocked countries, increased benefits from the blue economy and the “single window” concept to facilitate the smooth transition of cargo across borders.

This was evident over the weekend with the visit to Walvis Bay of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. President Kenyatta took the time to visit the port of Walvis Bay and also the newly commissioned Sea-flower Pelagic Processing fish factory in the harbour town. The visit to the harbour town formed part of Kenyatta’s attendance of Namibia’s 29th Independence celebrations which took place in Windhoek on Thurs-day.
At the port of Walvis Bay President Kenyatta was received by the Chief Executive Officer of Namport, Mr Bisey /Uirab, who briefed the visiting Head of State on progress with the construction of the new container terminal on reclaimed land in port which is expected to come into operation by around October this year. Mr Uirab also explained in detail how the port of Walvis Bay as import and export hub slots into the economies of neighbouring southern African states through the transport corridors, the dry port concept and how logistics of this magnitude forms part of the blue economy principle. The blue economy principle dictates that a country must integrate all its sectors dependent on the Ocean in some or other way to operate and grow in such a way that it remains sustainable for future generations.
President Kenyatta in his reply address during the visit to Namport said his country’s delegation is here to learn from how Namibia integrates itself into the blue economy concept. The visiting Head of State said Kenya too like many other nations need to strike a better balance between improving the benefits received from resources like fishing versus the benefits foreign countries take over Kenyan fish resources for instance. President Kenyatta urged Namibia and Kenya to partner up in the blue economy concept and for both countries to optimise from the blue economy.
In the same vain, President Kenyatta said Namibia and Kenya’s ports are important for trade between world markets and African countries with no direct access to the sea (landlocked countries). He praised Namport for its progress to position the two Namibian ports as hubs for import and export in the larger Southern African trade set-up. He expressed resolve by Kenya to make its biggest port, Mombasa, a similar player in the trade set-up of East Africa.
President Kenyatta was also much impressed by the dry port concept where landlocked countries like Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe has actual port terminals at Walvis Bay for the import and export of trade goods. He expressed Kenya’s keen interest to copy and improve on this concept.
With regard to the port of Mombasa, it was under-stood Kenya made great strides in the “single window” concept to facilitate smooth trade movements between oversea markets, via Mombasa to landlocked neighbours of Kenya. Namibia is keen to learn how the Kenyans do that, as Namibia too is actively developing a one-stop-shop, standardised border transit model in con-junction with neighbouring states Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.
During his visit to Seaflower Pelagic Processing, President Kenyatta reiterated the importance for Kenya and all African states to optimise their own benefits from natural resources and strike a positive and fair balance with foreign partners.
Seaflower Pelagic Processing started operating at the beginning of January and is in many cases a trailblazer for the Namibian fishing industry. Not only is this the largest of its kind fish processing and freezing facility on the continent, but owner-ship structures, future growth and partnering with the Namibian Government is set to place a new standard on the table of how both the public and the private sector can work together to optimise the benefit to all from Namibia’s fish resources.

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