Namibia: Interview with Joel N. Kaapanda

Joel N. Kaapanda

Minister of Works, Transport and Communication (Government of Namibia)

Joel N. Kaapanda

The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication is dedicated to ensuring the availability and quality of transport infrastructure and specialized services, as well as functional and assigned accommodation to the satisfaction of the customer and the government. Could you give us your thoughts on the evolution of the Ministry activities from its creation to today?

Thank you very much. In the last year we have been involve with the process of transformation. The process of transformation came with the restructuring of the transport sector. That gave birth to the creation of parastatals resorting under the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication. These parastatals are; Roads Authority, Roads Construction Company, Namibia Port Authority, Telecom Namibia and Namibia Postal Services. The creation of these entities was designed to promote and make their functions more efficient because these entities are operating on a commercial basis. Namibia feels that if we have to grow our economy, we have to have well developed infrastructure especially roads. Another key parastatal also resorting under this ministry is TransNamib, responsible for transporting goods and people to various parts of the country on the road and railway.

Could you tell us about some of your sector’s key figures for the last 3 years?

Approximately 2000 gravel road and 5000 tarred road covered so far. The ministry through its parastatals employs about 5000 people and contribute 6 percent to the has a GDP.

Walvis Bay is a strategically located port giving destinations west of the African continent the shortest possible access route to landlocked countries in the Southern African region. Can Namibia through Walvis Bay become a Hub for the region?

In the drenching of our harbor. We are looking for partnership. Walvis Bay is a very strategic and accessible harbor especially to land locked countries in our neighborhood such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia because we have the two high ways Trans kalahari and Trans Caprivi Highway connecting the country. We are now looking for partners to deepen the harbor to 15 meters to accommodate bigger ships and cargo.

What are the main investment opportunities in your sector?

We have good infrastructure, telecommunication systems less bureaucracy and red tapes, corruption is not a problem in this country, the security of investors is guaranteed, we have less crime compared to other cities, the investment policy climate is good and we have a liberalized economy which is conducive for Foreign Direct Investment.

Your personal experiences are also of interest to us. Could you tell us about your career up to your promotion to Minister of Works, Transport and Communication as well as your greatest accomplishment during your time as Minister?

Well, you know, I am a teacher by profession. I was assigned as a diplomat to India for almost eight years.
My satisfaction is that this ministry placed me in an advantage position. looking and seeing the process of expansion. Namibia is expanding towards its neighbors.
I am in constant contact with my colleagues in South Africa and Botswana. We are involved in integrating our infrastructure to cater for the needs of the region. For the first time in many years citizens of the Southern African region are traveling freely by road to do trade and visit their relatives. It has been not possible in the last 6 years or so.

We’re here in the Republic of Namibia to promote the investment opportunities of the country. What would your final message be to our readers concerning these opportunities?

They should come to Namibia as investors to look for business opportunities and also as tourists. This is a county with breathtaking landscape, beautiful game reserves and untapped business opportunities. We have friendly people. We are welcoming nation with friendly people and the security of our visitors is guaranteed.
We have a peace and stability. Infact stability is the hallmark of our democracy. We also have very good infrastructure and incentive packages for investors.